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MBPT: How Some Major Brands—Including Xerox, AT&T and Absolut—Are Earning Real-Time Marketing Wins

You’d expect Dachis Group, a real-time marketing software and solutions company, would be a proponent for how brands can succeed using a real-time plan. However, in a recent white paper, the company offers examples of how marketers, such as Nissan, Absolut, AT&T, Citi Bike and Xerox, have actually “tackled” the world of real-time marketing, from strategy to success.

The goal of the white paper, according to its authors, Dachis Group VP of marketing Brian Kotlyar and marketing specialist Julia Bass, is to help marketers humanize their brand with real-time news and content; increase earned media with relevant brand engagement; and in a word “delight” their customers through real-time marketing efforts.

The paper focuses on Xerox’s campaign to change its brand perception through timely and engaging content in order to “show the world that Xerox stands for more than just copiers and toner.” To accomplish that, Xerox focused on its involvement in the healthcare IT space.

The Xerox marketing team created an owned microsite called HealthBiz Decoded and produced a combination of long lead time editorial content and shorter, more timely content in the healthcare IT space. Only 30% of the stories appearing on the site had a Xerox connection but Xerox was a content source and the site helped establish the company as a credible participant in the space. In tweets, it shared news articles from media publications such as Forbes and USAToday to showcase its healthcare business.

The paper cites Ken Ericson, Xerox’s director of marketing, as saying brand studies showed a “substantial” increase in the alignment between Xerox and audiences in healthcare.

The paper also focuses on AT&T’s use of trending topics to draw attention to its wireless newsroom blog. When the Oxford Dictionary chose “selfie” as 2013’s word of the year, AT&T responded with a blog post that educated users on selfie “best practices and tips.”

The white paper says, “The post didn’t take the Internet by storm, but it received far more engagement than any other AT&T post in the same time frame. It received 95% more social sharing than the next nearest post—an indicator of the power of relevancy to boost engagement.”

Absolut Work of Art
Absolut Vodka used a local, current event to produce creative content. Since Absolut has had a longstanding affiliation with the arts and has used its social presence to align its brand with the art world, the white paper tells of how Absolut connected with the street art community during the closing of 5 Pointz graffiti park in New York City.

In the wake of the park’s closing, Absolut tweeted out an image of a tilted Absolut bottle that was captioned “Pour One Out For 5 Pointz” and said, “Farewell to a graffiti mecca.”

The white paper reports that the tweet yielded 121 retweets, a greater reaction by about 97% compared to the brand’s typical engagement.

“The success of this real-time campaign demonstrated the inclination of consumers and brand audiences to more readily engage with brand content when it is relevant and timely—especially when the brand has a longstanding voice in the context of a given trend,” the white paper says.

For Citi Bike, a timely tweet highlighted its commitment to real-time customer service. 

When the digital director of charity: water tweeted to 10,000 followers about falling off a Citi Bike on a rainy morning in December, the bike-share company’s marketing team quickly replied with its own tweet—”Stay tuned, help is on the way via @jcrew”—and a J. Crew gift card was hand-delivered to his office.

“The [Citi Bike] team has an active social media presence in place that includes daily Facebook posts with high-definition images and videos, and a constant stream of tweets covering everything from promotional events to safety tips to customer engagement,” the white paper says. “Customer service messaging is a regular topic of conversation on the brand’s social sites, so it’s no surprise the company was ready to act.”

In addition to the tweet being shared nine times, the company also received significant mention for its action in assorted media articles.

Driving Commitment
The Nissan example talks about the automaker showing off its customer commitment with a surprise buy-back move. The company regularly scans social media for trending topics and content relevant to its brand. It found a humorous video ad by a man trying to sell his 1996 Nissan Maxima. Nissan bought back the car and also donated $1,000 to a charity of the seller’s choice.

“The brand used salient real-time marketing tactics to connect with a consumer, demonstrate a strong consumer service offering and make the entire transaction visible on social media,” the white paper says. “The campaign drew in media attention and provided a fun and philanthropic face for the Nissan brand. Plus Nissan got to own a part of the automotive news cycle for less than $5,000—a marketing coup in the $15 billion dollar-per-year automotive marketing space.”

The white paper concludes by stating, “Traditional marketing campaigns take months of planning and prepping for a big unveiling. Marketing in real-time, however, means making your team suited to be as reactive as possible. Targeting trends, creating content and publishing with lightning speed. The brands we’ve looked at have determined practical ways to engage with audiences in real-time. It’s a way to build brands.”