Marketing in the Moment – How to Put Time on Your Side


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With 50 percent of websites only achieving 15 seconds of attention, consumers are living in the moment, craving instant digital gratification and only rewarding the most rich and attention-grabbing sites with their time. They are both overloaded with mediocre online experiences and time poor.

The same goes for marketers who are trying to tap into those consumer moments.

Driven by a tangible shift toward content marketing, marketers are feeling increasingly pressured. A study by the Content Marketing Institute in the U.S. indicated that nearly 70 percent of marketers feel challenged by time, and a third considered a lack of enough time their single biggest challenge.

As with consumers, time is a marketer’s most precious resource, yet this content marketing crunch is a significant hurdle to delivering the essential instant digital gratification that today’s consumers demand.

Alongside this intensifying demand on time — to get more done online — there’s an increasing array of marketing technology tools and packages that marketers have to rely on to deliver the experiences and richness that consumers expect. And whilst marketers are becoming more and more tech savvy, the vacuum is filled with more marketing technology to choose from. With nearly 2,000 different marketing technology vendor options available today, it’s no wonder that 21 percent of marketers now spend 15 or more hours every week managing the services they use. That’s roughly one third of their time in any given week.

And for the marketers that maintain the technology with in-house teams, the pushing ideas, coding and support through an equally time-strapped IT department does not work. It’s not uncommon for the whole process, from ideation to publishing an update or campaign on an e-commerce site, to take many weeks — and sometimes several months.

The Snickers Effect – How a Chocolate Bar Took a Quick Bite out of Luis Suarez

Mastering ‘in-the-moment’ marketing is a distant dream, yet every marketer wants to deliver the Snickers effect; the world was watching when Uruguayan international and Barcelona football ace Luis Suárez bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup 2014. Brands were quick to react. Notably, Snickers digital agency BBDO had, within hours, spoofed the episode with a creative that featured the product and the tagline “more satisfying than Italian.” The tweet and image went viral with more than 40,000 retweets and 18,000 favorites, reaching an audience of over 11 million — in the moment.


Every marketer wants to follow the Snickers example and react to ongoing events as they happen, updating Web and digital properties with timely images and relevant messaging. And as some brands, such as Snickers, successfully do it, so consumers have come to expect it.

However, most marketers can’t deliver that rapid response. They are locked down by long technology implementation cycles and exhaustive learning times to master the tech once it is in place. Moreover, most have to rely on front-end IT support to run the complex marketing technology which requires coding experience to operate and make site updates. So much of the creative element of marketing — ideas, lateral thinking, spontaneity — now happens in the dark and forbidding rooms of the IT department and might as well be magic.

Reaction times are typically drawn out to months. Not just for spotting hi-jack opportunities like BBDO with Snickers, but at a more fundamental level, they are stopping retailers and brands from performing even basic functions like reacting to inventory fluctuations or changing consumer demand and making marketers plan months (and months) ahead for the campaigns that they can schedule.

Five Essential Considerations to Put Time on Your Side

So how can marketers gain the freedom to work in the moment and deliver rich instant digital gratification to increasingly demanding consumers?

1. Prioritize awareness – Marketers need to know what is going on. Put simply, they need to be aware of what is happening out there so that they can react to it. Go back to the Snickers Suarez example again: Snickers’ agency, BBDO, was clearly on top of what was happening and able to collaborate and make the posted creative happen. All marketers need to have the time and freedom to be able to do the same so that they too can use events to shape their content to the moments that their audience finds itself in.

2. Find simple ways to create – To react to events and build awareness in the moments that matter, marketers need to be able to create the content and experiences they need in rapid fashion. This is where the missive ‘create don’t code’ comes in: Marketers, aware of events, know what they want to create — but often they can’t because it needs coding and careful designing, and this can take days, weeks or even months. In an instant world, marketers need the technology to help them realize their vision instantly.

3. Freedom from IT and developers – Building on this ethos of ‘create don’t code,’ marketers need the tools that can not only let them realize their vision but also bring it to life — without having to scope it out as a wireframe or through challenging collaboration with equally time-poor IT department or external Web developers. Marketers who want to be in the moment need tools that they can use to actually create the content they want, when they want it and make it live the same day.

4. Easy collaboration – To make this process work, marketers also need tools that let them collaborate and build these experiences with their colleagues on the fly. Two or more heads are always better than one. They also need to be able to instantly share content with managers, directors and CMOs to accelerate the approval process and get to market fast.

5. Fast deployment – Of course, the real key is that marketers need to be able to publish what they do instantly across every channel they need to reach. This will get their relevant content into the market in the moment for maximum impact and capitalize on the situational awareness that this process started with.

In today’s fast-paced environment, marketers need the freedom to rapidly iterate and create marketing in response to what their customers are experiencing. Understanding these five pain points — and employing the right technology to work around them — will see you rise to the demands of consumers needing to rapidly be richly satisfied. Rapid marketing is about taking off the straitjacket and having the freedom to innovate, to try new things and to create — not code.

Zmags has just produced an e-book, “Mastering Marketing in The Moment,” that explores these issues and more, offering guidance and tips on how to overcome them. Download it for free here.

Brian Rigney
As Zmags' CEO, Brian has over twenty years' experience leading high performing, entrepreneurial teams in launching new businesses and bringing innovative new products to market. Prior to Zmags, Brian was vice president sales and business development for CashStar, where he led the sales and business development strategy. He also is the founder and CEO of BlueTarp Financial, Inc., a breakthrough information and payments company for the construction industry. Brian has a bachelor's degree from Colby College and a master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh.


  1. Awesome article. I love the two-pronged attack strategy, including customer and company concerns.


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