Being Ready to Be Ready

January 2, 2014

By Andrew Eitelbach

If you have ever used the subway in New York City you know it’s not a place for dilly-dalliers. People are in a rush, and if you’re slow or in the way, plenty of riders are happy to let you know. So the other day as I hurried down the steps to a 6 train, I was surprised to find the person next to me only beginning to search his pockets for his subway pass as we reached the turnstiles. As a short line of impatient commuters rapidly queued up behind him, I swiped my pass, boarded a waiting train, and grabbed a seat. The man reached the train just in time to watch it pull away without him. Sitting there, I couldn’t help but wonder, in such a fast-paced environment, why wasn’t he prepared in advance to go through the gates?

Whatever the reason, I was struck by how analogous the story is to today’s marketing environment. With the prevalence of mobile and its convergence with digital and social media and the advent of real-time marketing, our industry has never moved this rapidly. Hasbro’s Victor Lee addressed this very point last month at the 2013 ANA Real-Time Marketing Conference in New York. He, along with speakers from Anheuser-Busch InBev, MINI, and others, emphasized how marketing is changing< to focus on the right-now and what marketers can do to maintain relevancy in a constantly evolving world. (Meanwhile, conference goers tweeted about the presentations — in real time — using the hashtag #ANARealTime.) 

The key message: If you want to have the next "Oreo moment,” or do what DiGiorno was able to do on Twitter with NBC’s live performance of “The Sound of Music,” be sure your team is ready to be ready. As 2014 ramps up, marketers must be prepared for what they can see coming and be ready to act quickly when presented with chance opportunities, or, in such a fast-paced environment, they’ll miss their train. 

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