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HERd Management: Let’s get real with real-time marketing

Rebecca Shaw for Progressive Dairy Published on 24 February 2020

The best part about watching The Bachelor (stay with me, everyone) is to follow along with the conversation people are having on Twitter about it.

During the first episode, a contestant showed up with a “therapy cow” for Peter, the guy she wants to “fall in love with” in eight weeks on TV. You guessed it; Twitter blew up. It was hilarious, and people were loving this Jersey cow.

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What I loved most is that dairy producers were joining in on the fun. New York dairy farmer Nate Chittenden, who goes by FarmerNate, tweeted: “I’m pretty sure we can all agree that the The BachelorABC's best move would have been just to pick the Jersey cow and send the rest of the ladies home.”

What Nate did was something called real-time marketing. This reminded me of a book I recently read: Trendology: Building an Advantage through Data-Driven Real-Time Marketing by Chris Kerns, digital marketing and social media guru. This book really gets in the weeds of what real-time marketing (RTM) is, the research and data proving it works, how you can measure success and a lot of hilarious tweets from Arby’s, Oreos and Denny’s.

Kerns defines RTM as “the practice of creating content inspired by a current topic, trend or event.” If you boil it down, what you’re really doing is simply remaining relevant with what’s going on around you and joining those conversations on social media.

Another great example of this is how agriculture reacted to the Golden Globes cutting out meat to take a stance on climate change. A lot of the posts shared poked fun that their solution was cutting meat out of a meal most celebrities traveled to in a private jet. UC – Davis professor and CE air quality specialist Dr. Frank Mitloehner tweeted, “It’s commendable that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association wants to highlight our climate issues, but doing so by serving a vegan meal feels like nothing more than a show stunt #GoldenGlobes”

And an original social media influencer, Peterson Farm Bros, posted a message to Instagram, along with a well-circulated meme, stating in part, “Livestock represents less than 5% of ghg emissions in the USA (low ghg impact)! These celebrities likely flew to the awards ceremony in private jets (extremely high ghg impact), which would dwarf any environmental benefit from avoiding meat for one meal. Want to ‘fight climate change?’ Start with transportation, industry, and energy (80 percent of ghg emissions in USA), don’t demonize some of the greatest foods in America!”

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Here comes the obvious challenge: The world and social media are chaotic. On top of that, farmers have a lot of competing priorities. However, on average, people in the U.S. are spending over two hours a day on social media. We have to be there with them, and RTM can help us grab their attention during times they are truly focused and zoned in on a topic. If you scroll through the profiles I shared in my examples, you’ll find they follow these three key takeaways I pulled from Kerns’ book.

1. It’s true to your brand. When I say brand, I’m talking about the consistent tone and personality you have established on your social media page. Take the Golden Globes example. While they’re both addressing the same event, they presented it in their own style. When building a brand, consistency in your message, and delivery is key to building an audience that will want to follow you post after post.

2. It’s not too late. How annoying is it when someone sends you a “new” song that came out six months ago? Then you get it. If you’ve missed the mark, drop it. The world is moving at hyper-speed on social media, and you’re probably missing out on a more relevant conversation.

3. It’s a natural fit. Ask yourself: Is this conversation easy for you to join, or did everyone stop talking when you sat down at the lunch table? Go back to Nate’s tweet about The Bachelor. There are two wins here. First, he made a comment that was relevant to what was happening on the show and that other viewers would get right away. Second, he is a dairy farmer, which is a hilarious coincidence. These two factors combined likely made a positive and lasting impression.

RTM can be a lot of fun when you do it right. If you’re still on the fence, I am going to share my favorite paragraph from Kerns’ book that got me on board.

“[Real-time marketing] can allow the brand to come alive in ways that a billboard can’t. It may not sell something to the consumer right away at that moment, but neither does a TV spot or sponsorship, or even a good customer service experience. What it does is build the brand and increase the probability for sales in the future.”

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These real-time, real relevant social media conversations will leave a lasting impact on consumers. While it’s not the end-all-be-all of social media and marketing dairy, it is a strong and unique play in the gamebook that will help guide their grocery cart to the real dairy aisle.  end mark

Rebecca Shaw
  • Rebecca Shaw

  • Dairy Marketing Specialist
  • Cargill
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