In a tongue-in-cheeky film titled “Reactvertising”, Toronto-based creative agency john st. touch on a few timely nerves in the industry – mostly around the rise of what has now been coiffed with the moniker “Real Time Marketing”, or RTM. RTM involves the observation and monitoring of real-time events or consumer sentiment to inform the content and messaging behind a brand’s social activity.
On the back of success stories such as Kit Kat during iPhone 6 #bendgate scandal and Arby’s at the Grammys, the only thing that has skyrocketed at the same rate as this buzzword’s popularity is its potentially disastrous results. For every Snickers fairytale there is a Belvedere Vodka nightmare which generates an equal if not more amount of (negative) conversation around the brand. How do brands toe the line between appearing relevant/entertaining and half-baked/downright offensive?
It’s the anxiety around this incredibly blurry line that has seen the likes of Spredfast and HubSpot sprout up to meet these challenges. Offering a variety of products which streamline the social listening process, offering real-time insights into trending topics amongst a brand’s social following, these companies are pioneering a new way of doing social which relies less on hefty head hours spent trawling through social platforms, and more on a data-driven methodology that converts consumer conversations into ones and zeros.
It’s not that far from the Minority Report-esque take that the guys at john st. have portrayed in their video, and it’s well worth considering as food for thought. However, before we all fly into a panicked rage at the unholy pervasiveness of data-led marketing efforts in this Snowden-era of mass surveillance, it’s worth remembering that this industry was born out of a desire to fulfil consumer needs and anticipate their needs.