Agile marketing - how quickly can you react?

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27th August 2014, 5 minute read

We recently looked at real-time marketing, and the positive impact it has on businesses who successfully hijack live, newsworthy and often unrelated events, for the benefit of maximum brand exposure.

The examples looked at how global companies: Oreo and Snickers used two high-profile sporting events - the Super Bowl and the World Cup - to heighten the awareness of their brands.

But, what can smaller businesses do to jump on this phenomenon?

Real-time marketing focuses on the spontaneous, and seemingly off the cuff reactions to real-time events.

However, the term, ‘real-time marketing', is often interchanged with ‘agile marketing'. Two terms closely linked and debated as to whether they are the same or different.

Real-time marketing is really what it says on the tin: reacting to real-time (live) events. After all, firms that jumped on the Luis Suarez bite at the World Cup had no idea that was going to happen (although it was certainly worth a bet at the local bookies).

To deliver on real-time marketing, you need to be agile, you need the correct alerting mechanisms, feeds and ‘listening' configured across your channels, to be able to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. With these in place, it is not only large firms who can react on live news stories and events, but a chance for smaller firms to get a piece of the pie.

Essentially, agile marketing is the whole, and includes the things you do to put yourself in a position to act on those real-time opportunities. Real-time marketing is the end-product of agile marketing.

So, here are a few of the things you can do to put yourself in a position to react to real-time events:

Google alerts

Set up Google Alerts that email you breaking news stories. Why lift a finger when Google can do it for you (and we used to think performing a Google Search was easy!).

Google Trends

Yes, Google seems to be putting their name in front of everything. Google Trends will keep you up to date with latest, er, trends in the world. It can also be personalised so you can stay current with the things that impact your business. But, don't forget, being agile allows you to jump on topics that may not seem relevant.


Set up a calendar and fill it with events and dates whereby you can plan to be on hand to react to breaking stories. You can also create a reminder a week or even months in advance to get some of the work out the way early. For example, you can follow relevant contacts on twitter who you know are going to be at an event, thereby affording you the opportunity to interact with them before hand as well as on the day.

Twitter lists

With Twitter widely considered as the modern-day newspaper, it makes sense to target this media channel. Twitter allows you to create distinct lists where you can follow users associated to a particular industry or product. Giving you the opportunity to jump on things in an instant, whether this be a retweet or your own take on the topic.


Hootsuite allows you to track many things across social media. This may be users, like the above Twitter lists, but also individual words and you can even set up social media updates in advance. An event might take place outside of working hours, such as Champions League football. However, given the global audience of the Champions League, you want to put your brand/company's name out there during a live match to reach a wider audience. Whilst you may not be able to respond directly to individual incidents, you can position your posts at the broader event/match, by programming an update to go out during the live broadcast.

The benefits of agile marketing and the tools associated with it have helped bridge the marketing gap between small and large corporate businesses. Social media and other online tools allow smaller businesses to compete on a level playing field with household names. In addition, the array of devices available to people accessing these media channels widens the opportunity for brand exposure and increased revenues.

Whilst putting this type of marketing into practice can be difficult and time consuming, the list above and other tools are making the process a lot easier.

If you need help with any of the features mentioned above, why not get in touch.

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