Let’s start by creating a baseline for this topic. What is real-time marketing (RTM)? Of all the attempts to define this marketing strategy, a blog post from Evergage sums it up quite nicely: RTM is “…the practice of brands engaging their audience via content, advertising, and product placement that is relevant to a specific current event or cultural happening. The content is most often in the form of a “meme” or graphic advertisement shared through social media channels.”
An easy example? Oreo’s infamous tweet during last year’s Super Bowl.
When we start to look at RTM (sometimes referred to as viral marketing) through a healthcare lens, we need to dig a bit deeper. Pharmaceutical branding is inherently complicated. The industry is overflowing with rules, regulations and guidance – all of which make marketing a bit challenging. And because of these parameters, real-time marketing, as explained by Evergage, seems somewhat elusive.
But, it really is all about perspective. Mashable frames it up a bit differently.
“…real-time marketing success starts with a brand's day-to-day activity, not a single well-timed moment. Don't swing for the fences your very first time out. Implement small, real-time marketing initiatives on a regular basis; patiently teach your audience they can expect timely, relevant communications from your brand. Then, when a really big opportunity arises, your team is poised and ready to make the most of it.”
When considering in Mashable’s frame of reference, RTM and pharmaceutical branding seem to better coexist. This tactic becomes less about a cute response and more about being responsive – and proactively so. Pharmaceutical companies face an unfathomable number of questions from a variety of audiences – and comprehensive, strategic marketing efforts can go a long way to answering a lot of them before they’re even asked.
Pharma branders can utilize RTM by identifying opportunities that work within the confines of their industry – and by viewing those parameters as guideposts, rather than obstacles. A program like TEDMED is a great example of such an opportunity TEDMED brings together like-minded industry professionals and gives them a variety of platforms to promote their brands. Brands can use all of the tools of RTM to tell their story while they attend (or even just live stream) this kind of conference.
And, in order to succeed at RTM, you have to get comfortable with learning as you go along. The fundamental tactics of this type of strategy are content, social channels, mobile and video. Can’t focus on all four areas? Then specialize in one and grow from them. But, the key to real-time marketing is responsiveness – build a program around that and you’re more than on your way to a successful campaign.
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“Real-Time Marketing Isn’t What You Think It Is,” Evergage.
“Someone Give This Oreo Employee A Raise,” Mashable, Feb. 3, 2013.
“4 Steps to Explosive Real-Time Marketing,” Mashable, July 15, 2013.
“Real-Time Marketing Opportunities in Healthcare?,” brandgagement, May 7, 2013.
“2014: The Year of Digital Pharma?,” Pharmaceutical Executive, Jan. 23, 2014.