What is Real-Time Marketing? (In 300 Words or Less)

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Rebecca Riserbato
Rebecca Riserbato



While it might seem like people use delayed media (like streaming services or podcasts) more often, real-time media hasn't come to a halt.

real time marketing examples

Real-time marketing is still a great way to get in front of and convert your audience.

In fact, a new report from Monetate and Econsultancy concludes that UK marketers report a 26% increase in conversion rates from real-time marketing.

Additionally, a study found real-time marketing not only positively impacts standard marketing goals -- word-of-mouth, attention, preference, likelihood to try or buy -- but it also turbocharges other marketing initiatives, including paid and owned media effectiveness.

As marketers, those stats are impossible to ignore.

Below, let's learn more about real-time marketing, and then we'll see what it looks like in action.

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This type of marketing occurs when your company reacts, instead of planning or strategizing a marketing plan for months. That's not to say that you won't have a real-time marketing plan, but it'll be a quicker turnaround.

The objective? To connect with your audience and communicate your brand position.

You might be able to plan real-time marketing if there's an event or ongoing trend. For example, if you strategize an ad around a current fad, your company might become more appealing to your audience because you understand them.

Real-time marketing helps you provide relevant messaging that is tailored to your audience's wants, interests, and needs.

One way for marketers to implement a real-time marketing strategy is to have an active social media presence.

Your social media team will often be the first people to know about a current fad or trend if they're implementing social listening (which they should be).

Additionally, you can learn more about your audience and their current interests by looking at your own data.

For instance, you can look at your website or social media analytics to discover the most popular topics of conversation. You can also learn what questions your audience is asking through social listening tools.

Having a team actively look at this information every day can be helpful in planning and strategizing a real-time marketing plan.

When you want to implement a paid real-time marketing ad, you can use social media and search engine targeting tools to ensure you reach the right audience. That type of personalization in marketing has elevated real-time marketing efforts.

Ultimately, to effectively implement a real-time marketing plan, you should always listen to your audience, monitor industry trends, and know where the conversation is taking place.

Then, you need to react. Respond to your audience on social media and create assets to discuss what's going on.

Before you implement a real-time marketing campaign, think about your audience and what you want to achieve with your reaction. Once you know the goal, you can create your message, whether it's a social media comment, an email, or an ad.

Now that we know more about real-time marketing, let's review some examples.

Real-Time Marketing Examples

1. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

One of the greatest lessons in real-time marketing is the ice bucket challenge from 2014. This phenomenon went around the globe and every company or celebrity who took part in the challenge was participating in real-time marketing.

Taking part in the challenge was a way to raise awareness and money for ALS. But since it was a current event and trend, companies were able to increase brand sentiment and awareness by participating.


Every year, INBOUND attracts thousands of business professionals from almost every industry to learn more about marketing, sales, and customer service.

During this three-day event, businesses and professionals are active on social media and commenting on the live events, such as HubSpot product updates and the keynote speech.

All of these social media posts and comments about the live breakout sessions or speeches are real-time marketing in action.

3. Taco Bell

Taco Bell has built a reputation as a great company to follow on social media through their crafted brand messaging.

The reason? On social media, Taco Bell's strategy is to take part in enthusiastic real-time marketing. They respond to messages on Twitter almost twice an hour every day.

The company has made it a priority to listen to their customers online and to interact and connect with them, no matter what is happening that day.

Real-time marketing is a great strategy to connect with your customers right now. However, to implement this type of marketing, it's important to measure conversations and sentiment to determine how real-time programs will develop. To get started, you can use free monitoring tools, or invest in one of the many paid social media monitoring technologies.

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