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Last Tuesday, an article published in Advertising Age addressed the issue of “real-time marketing.” While this piece was targeted toward product-based marketing, the same principles can also apply to nonprofits.

Being prepared for real-time marketing sounds a bit like an oxymoron. Can you really be prepared to respond to something that’s happening live? The answer is yes. Preparation for real-time marketing is not always a matter of having content ready, but simply having someone who’s ready to respond.

The Advertising Age article references the Oreo advertisement that went viral during the Super Bowl. During the 34-minute power outage that happened at the beginning of the game’s second half, Oreo tweeted, “Power out? No problem.” with the following image:

Obviously this ad was not created before the game. Oreo’s advertising team didn’t sit around and say, “Now, if a power outage happens to occur during the game, here’s what we need to produce.” Instead, the agency wanted to be prepared to be the first to respond to WHATEVER happened during the game and get Oreo’s name out there. They knew that real-time marketing would draw attention to Oreo.

So how did they prepare for this? They assembled Oreo executives and ad agency executives in a “mission control” room to watch the game, ready to strike. Within five minutes of the power going out in The Superdome, they conceived and produced this ad. Five minutes.

Real-time marketing isn’t just for brands with a 10-person advertising team like Oreo. You can do this in your own organization. The key is to prepare. Oreo knew they wanted to be the first to talk about the hottest topic at the Super Bowl—despite the fact that they had no idea what that would actually be. In the nonprofit market, we often know that big things are about to happen before they actually do—even though we may not have all of the details. Whether it’s a government policy that’s about to be voted on that will affect the market, or a big announcement within your organization, you can be ready to be the first to respond.

Now that you’re hungry for an Oreo, go grab a cookie and join us tomorrow as we dive deeper into how this marketing strategy can apply to your organization.