So I’ve spent quite a lot of time talking about marketing in the real time and emphasising how important it is to “strike whilst the iron is hot”. Consumers are in control, and if they want something they’ll go out to find it themselves. If you’re there at the right place and at the right time, you stand a far better chance of securing yourself new business.

The fact of the matter is that speed is extremely important; get there too late and you’ve lost your chance.

The concept is simple, but sometimes it can be hard to visualise how you can actually make this work, however, within the space of one week I’ve seen one particular ‘real-time marketing’ technique that I thought was worth sharing.

The Accident

Last week we were experiencing a bout of extremely bad weather, the roads were exceptionally icy and more accident-prone than usual. Unfortunately one of the Silverbean team, Dan, was involved in a car accident as he was making his way into work, although thankfully he was not seriously injured.

Later that day, Dan replied to a tweet from our Managing Director, mentioning he’d been in car accident but that he was okay. Nothing out of the normal here really; as many of you (probably even the majority of you) reading this would agree, social media documents many details of our day-to-day lives and there’s a lot that can be learned about someone when you follow them on Twitter, or connect with them through other social media channels.

The Real-time Interaction

Three minutes after posting this tweet, Dan received a response from Winns Solicitors with the message: “sorry to hear of your accident Daniel #LuckyEscape Any advice needed, just drop me a tweet – Gavin #WinnsMakeItEasy”.

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Now it’s clear from Winns response that they are monitoring Twitter for mentions of car accidents  (and many other key terms), and getting in touch with those involved to offer advice if they require it.

For me this is a stroke of genius yet is exceptionally simple to do. The tweet is as personal as it can be in that it’s signed off by the person doing the tweeting, and it’s non-offensive in that it’s simply offering advice if you want or need it. Not interested? Ignore it.

The key here, however, is that it’s perfectly timed. Dan had just been involved in the accident, was at the stage of determining what to do next and voila, Winns are serving up advice on a plate.

Of course, this is primarily for their own benefit but that’s how business works and they’re ahead of the game.

Invasive?

A few consider this to be slightly invasive, but Twitter is public and those using it should know that. If you don’t want your Tweets to be public, then lock your profile. It doesn’t come much simpler.

Dan’s tweet may not have been directed towards Winns and arguably they were involving themselves in a conversation they hadn’t been invited into, however, they were reacting to a piece of information that Dan had thrown into the public domain. Inbound marketing is all about targeted, timely communication and it doesn’t come more timely or targeted than this.

Of course they need to be careful as accidents and injuries can be a sensitive topic, but from taking a look at their Twitter account, it appears they’ve got this well covered.

The Cracked Screen

Further to the above, I encountered another example of real-time marketing through Twitter, this time directed towards myself.

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I recently purchased an iPhone 5 and being particularly clumsy, I’ve scratched the screen quite badly. Yesterday I tweeted asking if anyone could help me out with getting the screen fixed/replaced. Shortly after I received a tweet from a repair company in Newcastle offering me a free quote. 15 minutes later I’d been provided with a quote and they’d even offered to come into my office to fix my phone in order to make things as convenient as possible.

Would I use them? Yes.

Why? Because they’re offering me something I need; a timely solution to my problem.