Mel Brooks’s classic comedy farce Spaceballs is full of great life lessons (for example the importance of not getting your Schwartz twisted) and also has some advice for marketers that is more important than ever.
I have been reading David Meerman Scott’s latest book, Real-Time Marketing & PR , and while he doesn’t call it out specifically, I am pretty sure he was subconsciously influenced by this outstanding movie(no, it’s not quite Citizen Cane but it’s up there). I would recommend reading the book just for the in-depth case studies he covers on responding fast in this social media driven market. Speed isn’t the only game in town but David makes a compelling argument for real-time marketing.
In the essence of time, here is what I think is the most important point from the book:
Now, more than at any time in history, speed and agility are decisive competitive advantages.
So, what do need to be doing?
It means you need to be listening. You need to watching. You need to be ready.
You need to be able to act. And fast.
Can you address an online complaint? Answer a support question? Help a buyer find a white paper?
That’s wonderful but you’re just getting started. We are in the “Now Now” (side note, you should go re-watch Spaceballs now) and while talk is cheap, action rules.
The real challenge is changing the culture of your company to take advantage of these discovered opportunities. Being ready to respond means moving fast and having a good idea doesn’t count if you can’t execute while the proverbial iron is hot.
Unfortunately, a late response is often considered as bad as no response.
Can you make a change to really fix a customer complaint? Can you get approval to respond to an event in the news/media? Can you bring a new product to market based on customer feedback before your competition?
As Mel Brooks so prophetically stated in the Spaceballs,
Everything that happens now is happening now.
That’s real-time marketing and PR and that’s now a requirement. Are you moving at the speed of now yet?