It's been nearly two years since the original edition of Real-Time Marketing & PR was published and reached #2 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. Since then, I've published a new, revised paperback edition with some fresh stories of success.
I've delivered talks about real time marketing in more than a dozen countries (as I write this I am in Belize doing a session for the Belize Tourism Industry Association) as well as to many audiences in the U.S. People are intrigued by social media, but it's interesting to me that when I speak with executives around the world about social, many *still* push back and resist. They tell me about their kids' Facebook or talk about Twitter by saying what they had for lunch isn't important. They’ve already made up their minds that social is frivolous at best and a dangerous time-waster at worst.
Convincing the bosses
In order to scale social, I recommend that we not using the word "social" at all and instead substitute "real-time".
When I talk to the same executives about "real-time communications with customers" they lean forward and want to know more. These are the same people who dismiss Twitter.
I tell executives that an immensely powerful competitive advantage flows to organizations with people who understand the power of real-time information. What are people doing on your site right now? Has someone just praised you on Facebook? Panned you on Twitter? Published a how-to video about your product on YouTube?
Executives understand real-time and are eager to implement the ideas.
Conventional vs. Real-Time
The conventional business approach favors a campaign (note the war metaphor) that requires people to spend weeks or months planning to hit targets. Agencies must be consulted. Messaging strategies must be developed. Advertising space/time must be bought. Conference rooms and refreshments must be prepared for press conferences. Do you serve them sushi or sandwiches?
The real-time mind-set recognizes the importance of speed. It is an attitude to business (and to life) that emphasizes moving quickly when the time is right.
Developing a real-time mind-set is not an either/or proposition. I'm not saying you should abandon your current business-planning process. Nor do I advocate allowing your team to run off barking at every car that drives by. Focus and collaboration are essential.
Large Organizations Need to Work at It
The more people you have in an organization, the tougher it is to communicate in real time. In a command-and-control environment where no action can be taken without authority, without consultation, without due process, any individual who shows initiative can expect to be squashed.
The challenge is to develop a new balance that empowers employee initiative but offers real-time guidance when it's needed—like a hotline to higher authority.
In a real-time corporate culture everyone is recognized as a responsible adult.
If you're the leader, and you want to cultivate a real-time mind-set throughout your organization, tear down the command-and-control mentality. Recognize your employees as responsible adults. Empower them to take initiative.