Communication is the Pulse of Life!

Real-Time Marketing: Make or Break?

RTM

Imagine a world without marketing. Brands would cease to exist, and the economy would probably collapse in no time. The world would be completely different.

Businesses today all speak marketing.

It’s all about developing brand awareness and utilizing different marketing channels to disseminate information to the public. With the advent of the Internet, digital marketing has shaped the marketing world greatly.

But real-time marketing is the new game changer.

What truly sets it apart from the rest is that it is opportunistic – marketers seize the opportunity to generate content that ties the brand to the latest trending topic of relevance, ensuring that it is not only pertinent, but felicitous too.

The tastes and preferences of consumers constantly change as well. The marketing industry is obsessed with the now, and consumers these days seek instant gratification, placing pressure on brands to be more forthcoming and transparent than they have ever been.

As real-time marketing continues to grow, brands are also keeping up with the trends by engaging the public with shareable, bite-sized content.

Leveraging the love for cheese fries amongst consumers, McDonald’s stepped up their French fries game with the launch of its Cheesy Loaded Fries just last December. Featuring its all-time favourite golden and crisp fries, topped with chicken bacon bits and drenched with nacho cheese and sour cream sauce, this limited edition side had garnered much hype.

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But, alas, dissatisfaction overwhelmed fry lovers who flocked to various chain outlets with great anticipation for the Cheesy Loaded Fries, and when the dish did not resemble anything as advertised, they vented their cheese-deprived anger on the fast food chain’s Facebook page.

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While McDonald’s expressed sincerity and was swift in responding to the complaints regarding the disparity between the advertised Cheesy Loaded Fries and its actual presentation, their efforts were evidently not adequate to satisfy cheesed off customers!

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Oops. Shots fired.

Instead of Cheesy Loaded Fries, all they got was Fully Loaded Disappointment… perhaps, with a miserable drizzle of cheese?

Expectations vs Reality Cheese Fries Macs

In light of this big hoo-ha, KFC Singapore cleverly turned the tables around as they identified this situation as a marketing opportunity and jumped on it to produce a timely and relevant piece of content, gaining both acknowledgement and commendation from the public.

KFC simultaneously introduced its new, improved cheese fries as “the real deal” using the hashtag #KFCRealCheeseFries. Indeed, what a timely post to remind Singaporeans why they love KFC’s cheese fries!

Now that’s what you call real-time marketing.

KFC Real Cheese Fries

Social media real-time marketing can make or break a brand. For KFC, it evidently made the brand, but it was clearly the contrary for McDonald’s. Another case in point: Cheerios.

When music legend Prince passed away in April 2016, Cheerios responded by tweeting a purple “Rest in peace” sign, replacing the dot above the letter ‘i’ with a cheerio, and tagging the tweet with the hashtag #prince.

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What started out purely as an innocent condolence message over the loss of an iconic musical legend in Minnesota on the part of Cheerios turned out to be a seemingly exploitative marketing gimmick in the eyes of the public, especially Twitter users.

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Compared to McDonald’s and Cheerios’ fiasco, KFC proved how real-time marketing, when used brilliantly and appropriately, can make the brand.

Here’s why their strategy worked:

  1. Timeliness

Consumers today care less for slow and disconnected experiences. Quick response time is a crucial factor they look out for in a brand. Brands should be able to respond to customers appropriately, by creating the right content that appeals to the right people, at the right time, and appropriately.

  1. Relevance

Context is equally important as content. Lacking in either one will not make the strategy work. In real-time marketing, brands often fail when they force themselves into conversations or trends that they have unfortunately little or no relevance in. What’s vital is to ensure your brand can be tied to what’s happening, with sensitivity and transparency. Failing which brands risk the wrath of the social media army!

Posted by Shermaine Sim, CorpMedia. 

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