Just when we wrap our collective heads around the concept of real-time marketing, along comes on-demand marketing to steal some of real-time’s thunder.
According to Peter Dahlström and David Edelman of McKinsey, “the coming era of ‘on-demand’ marketing” will revolve around four key areas:
Now: Consumers will want to interact anywhere at any time.
Can I?: They will want to do truly new things as disparate kinds of information (from financial accounts to data on physical activity) are deployed more effectively in ways that create value for them.
For me: They will expect all data stored about them to be targeted precisely to their needs or used to personalize what they experience.
Simple: They will expect all interactions to be easy.
The authors go on to provide some interesting examples. For instance, Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s smartphone app, which reinvents the house-hunting experience by delivering public records (list price, taxes, and other data) at the point of interest.
The authors also make it clear that very few marketers are prepared to meet the demands of info-loaded consumers. I think we can also safely say that very few agencies are prepared to activate real-time or on-demand campaigns. To do so requires not only the ability to recognize the change, but to adapt to it, which isn’t easy given how many of the changes are structural in nature (hence, the rise of content strategists, community managers, user experience designers and so on — positions that did not exist five years ago).
Is it possible that we’re underestimating the impact of digital culture on how things actually work today? In a sentence, if something does not work or is inelegantly designed, “the crowd” may take it upon themselves to remix/fix it, or demand that you do.
So, it’s not “Can I?” It’s “I can.”
The challenge of real-time and on-demand marketing is significant. A brand is a living thing, and digital media is always on. A customer may say “I can!” at 10:00 p.m. on a Saturday night, and launch into a rant on the brand’s Facebook page about how a product or service experience failed to deliver.
A small business typically lacks the resources for 24-7 customer service in social channels, but a big brand is another story. A big brand may in fact operate like an institution from another century, but that hardly matters to the tween seeking input NOW. Thus, big brands like Coca-Cola or Ford need to be present at all times. Open, available and helpful. It’s a tall order, but I don’t think brands can run from it much longer.