“Wake up, it’s revolution time! Gone are the days when you could plan out your marketing and public relations programs well in advance and release them on your timetable.” Those are the opening words of David Meerman Scott’s new book Real-Time: How Marketing & PR at Speed Drives Measurable Success. *Sigh.* It’s yet another new way of marketing that homebuilding and remodeling companies need to get to grips with. But wait – there’s more! This can actually be useful to you.
Real-time marketing is the science of relevance, of making the moment count. The perfect examples came during this year’s Super Bowl, when the power went out for 34 minutes. The marketing gurus working for Kraft Foods’ Oreo cookie brand saw the opportunity, had access to decision makers for approval, and within minutes a tweet went out with a darkened photo of a cookie , saying “Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.” Ok, not everyone is that quick off the mark, but you can use the principle in your remodeling business.
1. Plan In Advance
You’ve got to be ready. Plan ahead for events that you know are likely to generate something to latch on to. The obvious ones are seasons, good / bad weather, major holidays. But there are other dates that you can pre-plan, such as the local town festival or a major ball game. Sure, we’ve always done stuff like “Get your home ready for spring” but the idea is to tie it to something specific and relevant. For example:
- Old way: Install the whirlpool bath you’ve always wanted
- New way: Install the whirlpool bath you’ve always wanted in time for Valentine’s Day, and treat your loved one to a home spa day.
Of course, you’re never going to be able to plan ahead for all the opportunities that occur, but if you’re thinking the right way about real-time marketing, you should be able to capitalize on things that happen and grab the chance for relevance.
The concept of “newsjacking” – also brought to us by David Meerman Scott – is the “process of injecting your brand into the day’s news, creating a twist that grabs eyes when they’re open widest.” It’s not actually a new idea, reporters have been doing it for years, but for homebuilding and remodeling companies it means every bad weather day is a good real-time marketing day. Of course, you have to be sensitive about what you “newsjack” because you don’t want to be tweeting about fixing up your home after a hurricane that claimed lives. However, it’s possible to use whatever’s happening at the time, as Oreo did. Here’s an example:
- A company that buys and refurbishes used designer purses ran an ad simultaneously with one of Lindsay Lohan’s many court appearances and the resulting news about her financial difficulties. The ad read: “We’ll Buy Your Purses, Lindsay! Company Offers Big Money For Cash-Strapped Lohan’s Leftovers”
- Pepsi launched its new diet drink during the 2011 Fashion Week, with the slogan “get the skinny on fashion and pop culture.” The drink was integrated into the event.
- The Red Cross proactively newsjacked Hurricane Sandy by creating its “Hurricane” app, which provided useful information about the storm, a notification system for informing others that people were safe, and a flashlight.
3. Be Relevant
Relevance is everything. Without it, your real-time marketing efforts will fall flat and be pointless. The whole idea is to tie your marketing to something that’s happening right now – tomorrow is too late, unless there’s residual news value. Use news about the real estate market to promote remodeling instead of selling; use news about environmental issues to promote replacing your wooden deck with a stone patio, or news about climate change to promote renovating for better energy conservation. When the circus is in town, promote remodeling to create a home theatre for the family. The possibilities are endless.