Are You Ready for RTM in 2015?

Posted on: 01/15/15

Some of the best Real Time Marketing (RTM) is brushed off as brands getting lucky or just being in the right place at the right time. In a few instances this is true. But smart brands know that there are plenty of opportunities to prepare for RTM – and according to Trendology author Chris Kerns, the 2015 RTM Season has just begun!

This chart from Kerns’ book is the first step in prepping your team for RTM:


Examples of each type of RTM event:

Planned – You know the exact time, date, and important people who will be involved.

Watchlist –
An event is bound to happen, but what and when are variables.

Opportunistic –
Small events that offer a place for RTM content. (Opportunistic RTM can happen during a Planned RTM event.)

Everyday –
Unknown trends that can pop up daily or even hourly.


A warning: not all brands are meant to participate in all conversations. We’ve all seen social interactions with trending topics that fall flat or are just completely inappropriate (Ahem, DiGiorno). Before jumping in, it’s important to:

1. Fully understand the topic or hashtag

2. Consider your audience and their views

This is where using the matrix in the context of your specific brand comes in handy. If you’re confident that your audience does not care about the birth of a celebrity baby, then stay away from the topic. Find another opportunity that fits, even if you have to wait patiently for it.

The thing about RTM is that when it’s bad, it’s REALLY bad. Some marketers choose to stay away from RTM and its counterparts “agile marketing” or “always-on marketing,” for this reason. But even DiGiorno’s serious faux pas was forgiven through sincere and profuse apologizing and a promise to be more careful. For many brands, the reward outweighs the uncertainty and risks surrounding RTM.

If RTM fascinates you as much as it does us, Trendology is a great read. As is this tumblr. Seriously though.

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