Do You Have What it Takes to be a Real-Time Marketer?

Do You Have What it Takes to be a Real-Time Marketer?
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Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of talking to some lovely PR and social media professionals about real-time marketing as part of the CIPR’s Social Summer series of events.

After I cooled down from a rather hellish tube journey (I honestly don’t know how you Londoners do it day in and day out during a heat wave!), I covered what, from experience, I consider to be the five core principles of effective and responsive news-jacking. This is the slide deck I used:

One thing occurred to me as I talked, however, and is something I’ve given more thought to since:

There’s a definite mindset associated with agile marketing practitioners.

It’s not specifically about speed or creativity or understanding or insight, and yet it encompasses all of these. It’s a distinct talent or skill in its own right.

Successful agile marketers have heightened awareness of opportunities. They have a sixth sense of being able to spot what will resonate within their social media channels when it comes to news, cultural topics and internet memes, and they’re shrewd and smart enough to act on it quickly and creatively. They live in-the-moment.

And that’s the real secret to urgent genius: having vision and seeing things with a different eye to other people.

This isn’t something that you can easily turn on and off. Either you’re a real-time marketer or you’re not. But can this talent be learned? Personally, I think the agile mindset is something that can be developed through practice in the same way that a sense can be heightened by repetition.

But, believe me, it can become a little overpowering when every time you turn on the news or watch a sports event, all you can think of is how Brand X could respond to what’s happening! So the question is: do you really want to learn it?

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Posted by Paul Sutton

  • Nick Henderson (@that_nick)

    Great post, Paul… One attribute that could be added to the list is humour. What unites a lot of the greatest examples, particularly in consumer PR, is an inherently witty concept that makes people want to view, enjoy and share. If the activity isn’t somehow entertaining, it’s unlikely to get the traction/distribution it needs. Not everyone has the necessary sense of humour and imagination – and that is a really hard thing to teach/learn.

    • Paul Sutton

      To a certain extent, I totally agree (if that isn’t a contradictory statement!). For me, the humour comes within creativity and originality, and that’s certainly absolutely key. But I think it’s largely dependent on the client and, more importantly, the industry context. At present this is still a very young area (Oreo’s Superbowl moment was only in February, believe it or not!) and the brands that have jumped on it are all consumer-facing. But I think there’s room for some more ‘serious’ B2B activity in this arena too…just with a different scope and approach. And that may or may not involve humour.

  • Nick Henderson (@that_nick)

    One more thought – essential to have a good trusting relationship with the client aswell. Some of the best humour is pretty irreverent and it takes courage on both sides to go ahead with something – especially on a very fast timescale.

    • Paul Sutton

      Indeed. One of the things I spoke about last night at the CIPR was minimising approval loops and the client being able to trust and ‘let go’. That’s a part of the key elements of the relationship and the activity, more than a personal trait, however.

      Thanks for your comments, Nick. Interesting points of view.

  • gloooboy

    Great article Paul, I think it can be learned as a skill set if a) a business can make the time to appreciate the benefits, and b) if a business isn’t afraid of changing their persona as per Nicks point previous. So often I hear from clients ” I haven’t got time ” or ” what will people think ” statements.

    • Paul Sutton

      Thanks Chris. It’s certainly true that there’s no point whatsoever attempting to adopt this mindset if the business isn’t ready, as it can become a little all-consuming. Example: I’ve just heard that Tim Westwood is leaving Radio 1 after 19 years and my brain is going “what can I do for X client and Y client?”

  • Chris Altamirano

    Great post Paul. Pretty cool little slider too! But it’s all about stepping into the life of the consumer and seeing through their own lens. Only then will we be able to deliver the best possible/quality content to keep them engaged, and more importantly to get them to talk! 😀

    – Chris