“The intersection of social, mobile, location and big data is real-time marketing,” said eMarketer’s Debra Aho Williamson at ANA’s Real-Time Marketing Conference last week in New York, where marketers including Coca-Cola, Kraft, Anheueser-Busch and Hasbro gathered to discuss and define the latest Holy Grail – RTM.
Still citing the Oreo Super Bowl XLX "moment" as the benchmark that launched the fervor, with reverb of nearly 2 million tweets since and endless articles and panel sessions – the fact remains not one marketer has replicated that success.
Bob Rupczynski, Kraft’s VP Media, Data, CRM, used Planters as an example of a creative brief that asked: “Do people really want a relationship with peanuts?” The key was to precision target optimal consumers with the mind-shifting notion that nuts are a healthy snack alternative – particularly in the evening into late night when snacking can be the most harmful.
Kraft put the campaign together in a record-setting five days. “Eighteen months ago, Kraft was not in a publisher mindset, but today, brands must be proactive publishers of content. Giving people a tangible vision generates excitement, and in this case, created an internal education that brought five or six other brands into the tent – Lunchables, Mac ‘n Cheese - willing to take a risk.”
Kraft has been mining its 17 years of subscription data -- that was previously siloed -- to create “one consolidated view of the consumer,” since “data is the strategy for activations.”
Lisa Donohue, CEO Starcom, framed the industry shift: “The business model is changing to more precision targeting – reaching fewer people but with better conversion rates, one-on-one marketing at scale. And big data drives insights.” She emphasized that the shift requires “collaboration in infrastructure,” that must include “process, technology and smart people.”
Hasbro’s VP, Global Digital Marketing, Victor Lee put it this way: “We are at the crossroads of sense and sensibility, a mind-f--- in marketing. I’ll be interested if you’ll be interesting. Story-telling is what interests people.”
Referencing Monopoly’s "Save Your Token" campaign on Facebook earlier this year, Lee cited Facebook as the gold standard – “It’s not real until its Facebook Official.”
The campaign triggered calls from bacon and popcorn-maker companies with suggestions for a new token as well as a slew of write-in candidates and protest from the Iron Worker’s Union over retiring the classic iron token.
“Out of 194 countries in the world, 185 voted – more countries than participate in the Olympics,” said Lee. “And when SNL mocked it – we knew we’d hit a cultural home run – social, cool and relevant.” Following the global online fan vote, NBC's TODAY Show hosts unveiled the game's newest addition - the cat token, which received 31 percent of the vote.
Lee’s conclusion: “Do what’s right for the brand. Stay away from trends, buzz words and marketing books. What’s the risk ultimately if you fail? One or two percent of a budget? We’re all writing this book together. Have an opinion. Create an opinion. You are the author in a world of social that changes every day!”
Anheueser-Busch’s Lucas Herscovici, VP Digital Marketing for North America, sees digital as a means to an end. “We’re in the business of selling beer and moving cases – not engagement. What matters most is 1. Sales. 2. Brand Health. Digital closes the loop for ongoing exposure. But engagement is a proxy to sales and brand health. Data in – analytics out.”
As millennials are a key beer target demo, “these digital natives want you to entertain them, be authentic, be where they are and act like a friend. Mobile is their first screen. We use Pinterest to observe, Vine to experiment and Buzzfeed to scale.”
Coca Cola’s goal is “to be the most socially responsible and engaged organization in the world,” said Douglas Busk, director of connections innovation. “Like all CPG’s, we’re undergoing a shift from mass marketing to direct marketing.”
The company's sheer size - 1.8 billion servings per day – brings unique opportunities and challenges. “We have to evolve the way we are connecting. We have to evolve the front lines of consumer care to be as active on digital as with 1-800 phone numbers and call centers.”
To accommodate that, the company has created "The Hub Network": “Three hundred social media personnel globally who are listening, analyzing and engaging. The function of real-time scale should empower front-line marketing. No delay. 207 countries of operation. It meets the need for global consistency in our marketing messaging.”
With 33 mentions of Coke globally every minute, in-house analytics are shedding light on the velocity with which social conversations about the brand grow, and since 70 percent of social content is in English, they can start anywhere and go viral in an instant. “We want to be able to get a sense of ‘tweet zero.’ What was the first moment? Who were the first influencers who drove this conversation into overdrive? Big data is useless unless it delivers something.”
Coca-Cola has brought in "legacy" producers and videographers who understand story-telling and quick turn-around to create compelling content for the Hub. “Engagement is moving beyond ‘like’ to ‘love,’” added Busk. “Moving the brand conversation to what truly matters to consumers.”
[Image VIA Shutterstock]