Real-Time Message to Marketers -- Act Now Don't Over Plan
I just got back from a presentation by David Meerman Scott, well known expert and author of several books on social media. He was presenting at the New England Direct Marketing Association's Marketing Technologies & Tactics Summit. David's keynote was on real-time marketing and public relations.
David's overarching message was that the old MBA-based approach to marketing, which typically entails a lot of analysis, scoping and detailed planning is becoming less and less effective in this increasingly real-time communications world. Forward thinking communicators need to educate their organizations and change the cultural mindset to be "real-time," taking a more iterative, action-oriented approach that quickly adapts to breaking news rather than marching to a rigid pre-defined plan.
I couldn't agree more. To drive this point home, David offered up a few thoughts:
"Scale and media buying power are no longer a decisive advantage."
"Speed and agility are now the decisive competitive advantage."
"The MBA style approach to marketing can make you lose sight of what's going on right now."
"The longer you wait, the less opportunity you have."
"Real-time opportunities don't happen when its convenient."
So what is keeping companies from embracing this real-time philosophy? It's fear. Fear of losing control; fear of being wrong; even fear of being sued. All legitimate concerns, but fear can be paralyzing, and maybe the only thing worse than trying something, making a mistake and adjusting, would be to try nothing at all.
So what can you do to move away from a planning oriented approach to a real-time action oriented approach? David suggested the following:
Appoint a Chief Real-time Officer
Develop and publish real-time guidelines/standards for the organization, with everyone's buy-in, particularly the C-suite and legal counsel
Implement comprehensive real-time monitoring and execution systems
Develop the real-time mindset. Any time you see something important developing in your company or market take 10 minutes to brainstorm 5 things you can do quickly to capitalize on it. Just doing the exercise alone will start to move you down that path.
What other actions do you think can help move you towards that real-time approach?