Earlier this fall, I keynoted at Lee Jean’s Digital Days, a day long event for Lee Jean’s marketing teams and their agency partners. They asked me to share a few digital marketing trends that were beyond the tipping point. I discussed three: Real-Time Marketing, Creating Youtility, and Empowering Employees & Fans.

1. Real-Time Marketing

The term Real-Time Marketing is overhyped. I’m sure a few of you are rolling your eyes right now. I get it, but I don’t think we – in the digital marketing industry – have really defined it and provided the rationale for a more steady state of Real-Time Marketing.

What does Real-Time Marketing mean?

Real Time Marketing is using data analytics with a process flow to shift marketing messaging in real time or near real time.

The key words in my definition are really process, flow, and shift. Real-Time Marketing isn’t going to work without a documented and blessed process flow. If there is no shift in your marketing messaging, then there’s no “real-time” element.

You can call it whatever you want if you think the term “Real-Time Marketing” is too limiting or overhyped. Call it Agile, Marketing in the Moment, Engagement Marketing…

Really, at its core, it is simply Marketing.


Real-Time Marketing has three unique layers:

  1. It’s a process, not a project (meaning there’s no start and stop date)
  2. It’s an ongoing newsroom, not an advertising campaign
  3. The content has to be brand-relevant and current but not a buzz wedge

To me, a “buzz wedge” is when something going on in the news is trending (the buzz) and a company tries to capitalize on it with a story or social post even though the buzz is completely off brand (the wedge).

How many buzz wedge RTM tweets have we all seen and groaned over? I think I should devote a post to a few of them, eh?

2. Creating Youtility Through Care, Context, and Creativity

Jay Baer coined the word Youtility and it’s the title of his NY Times best selling book, Youtility – Why Smart Marketing is about Help not Hype. I highly recommend you grab yourself a copy. It’s jam-packed with excellent content marketing case studies from companies large and small and plenty of how-to’s. Youtility is marketing so useful, people would pay for it.

I bundled a few of Jay’s key Youtility points to explain this second trend – Creating Youtility. In the digital world, customer service is front and center, and a two-way dialogue mandatory. Secondly, social listening isn’t just for passive and reactive company actions like brand protection and customer service. Social listening is also for proactive company actions like product innovation, marketing sideways, and sales.

We will see more and more traction with Youtility as we roll into 2014. Yes, you can hold me to that.

3. Empowering Employees & Fans

This is about enabling your best fans to tell your brand story in digital. Brand advocacy boils down to having simple tools like our Social Advocator, providing content with guardrails, and making sure you don’t mandate employees or fans (through loyalty program requirements) to share. So, no voluntolds – period.

The three trends cover always-on marketing, providing creative content marketing and product innovation through social listening, and giving your brand advocates the means to share stories about your brand. There are a ton more to cover and I’d love to hear your thoughts below in the comments or feel free to shoot me a tweet so we can keep chatting this up.

About the Zena Weist:

Three Digital Marketing Trends for 2014 and Beyond is a post from: Convince and Convert: Social Media Strategy and Content Marketing Strategy

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