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When the Flash Pan Goes Cold: Real-Time Marketing Needs a Lifeline

Ask the audience lifeline

Marketers are still trying to formulate the Oreo experience from this past year’s Super Bowl. When the lights go out, we want a flashlight. When it’s sunny, we want some shade. A few savvy marketers have realized that in heated moments, a little wit and relationship to the audience goes a long way. But what comes next? Another cheesy bit of content? Are you sure? Is that your final answer?

A momentary reaction shows that the brand is tuned in to what’s going on. Relevant. Search marketers love that word by the way – “relevance” – tickles us just the right way. But the relevance is only momentary unless its followed up with another, even richer piece of value. Content or product, the poker ante to continue feeding audience interest increases just down the funnel. It doesn’t wane.

Subscribers of the Inbound Marketing process know this well by now, especially in the B2B space. A middling blog post might be enough to get a prospect’s momentary attention, but there’s much more work to be done to turn that impersonal-data-point-of-a-visitor into a suspect, prospect and customer.

Use trial and error.

Retail brands are experimenting with ways to raise their stake in the game. If you’ve had Pandora on recently, you’ve probably had Lexus in your ear, trying to tempt you with a more personalized mix of music. Right track, but not sexy enough. I already have Pandora for that, so nice try Lexus, but you’re up short.

Don’t be a piney, desperate adolescent.

The girl doesn’t want two dozen roses on her first date (or maybe she does). Let her smile at you once before you take her out to dinner.

Ok, I’ll stop with the dating analogies.

The point is, there’s an appropriate escalating “ask” for each milestone that you achieve with a visitor. Don’t give away too much at once, or you’ll cheapen the entire affair. The sales process doesn’t have to be a single funnel, or a dozen steps. But somewhere along the path, you start holding hands, then a peck on the cheek.

Don’t throw steaks at the animals when all they might need are some peanuts. (Not that your customers are animals, but it’s a bit wild out there.)

Content curation needs a fence.

And bars, for your zoo.

In the case that you have had a run-in with an offensive contact on Facebook, you know this premise better than most. When asking for user submissions in response to anything at all, no matter how benign, there is a high chance that your open forum will act as a stage. You don’t typically get to pick who grabs the mic, so be prepared to snatch it away very quickly.

Kickstarter, whose business model relies entirely on user contributions, was recently forced to build a fence of its own when a project solicited some appropriate backlash. “Rapey” has been the word of choice.

Process, you numbskull.

Raidious has one for this, and it’s called the 5 Ms. Make, Manage, Monitor, Moderate, Measure.

I shouldn’t have to sell you on the aspects of making content, but what listening posts do you have up on that content (monitor) and do you have a plan for how you’re going to respond? And no, your crisis management PR firm doesn’t count.

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