Super Bowl: The Outbound Messaging is Just the Beginning

While many marketers (both Super Bowl advertisers and others) are focused on the outbound impact of these multi-million dollar ad bets, fewer marketers are prepared to benefit from the valuable inbound response they will generate.

The potential goes way beyond an Oreo post.

Super Bowl advertising presents a huge opportunity for marketers to collect massive amounts of consumer data. The smartest ones will view their Super Bowl advertising not just as a single, 30-second spot, but also as a real-time window into how customers view their brand, their products and their competitors.

The War Room as a Source of Insight

Most companies now have “war rooms” to seize upon opportunities that may arise during events such as the Super Bowl. Last year, Mondelez’s war room jumped on the blackout with a timely tweet about still being able to dunk Oreo cookies in the dark. This was real-time marketing–no doubt–but not real-time data-driven or data-informed marketing.

As with the ads themselves, the war rooms hold their greatest potential for brands that want to leverage data-driven marketing during and after their spots air. This is the way to realize the greatest return on these investments using the intelligence gleaned in real-time to optimize their marketing.

Insight comes in different forms, of varying value to brands. On the surface, and least valuable, are brand mentions and sentiment gleaned by social listening. These tools capture the feelings customers have toward the brand. Going deeper means using more sophisticated platforms that perform thematic discovery on the conversation themes to surface how consumers really reacted to a particular spokesperson or message, as well as the ability to segment those consumers by age, demography or geographically to understand how each consumer set viewed and reacted to the spot—in short, what opportunity they represent going forward.

Playing the Game During the Big Game

All of these real-time insights inform the ongoing brand strategy. The immediate response of consumers tells brands what elements of the ad did and didn’t work—what to kill and what to amplify, whom to target and whom to ignore–but it can also do more. Specifically, brands can learn from and respond to the data related to their competitors’ ads as well.

The proper partner and resources can help marketers take advantage of the opportunity to analyze the perceptional changes of their brands and their competitors’ brands, before, during and after the game. This allows brands to learn almost instantly if their marketing decisions leading up to the spot were on target or if they need to rethink their strategy, pounce upon an opportunity offered by a specific audience segment’s reaction or, if all went well, to double down on existing efforts. These real-time insights are the ones that help brands get the most out of their $4 million investment, because the combination of real-time data and analytics provides the most candid, valuable insights. They tell brands exactly what an honest consumer reaction is to their ad, at scale.

Additionally, brands can capitalize on competitor weaknesses. For example, if consumers respond negatively to a new product or some aspect of it introduced by a competitor during the Super Bowl, that knowledge allows brands to focus their attacks for the greatest benefit.

What brands should avoid is trying to respond to every unexpected moment. Mondelez scored a touchdown last year, but that was the exception that proves the rule. By attempting to respond to everything, brands risk diluting their own image. In fact, some brands that have tried to follow in Oreo’s footsteps have fallen flat.

The mining of social data to uncover consumer insights needs to be a constant cycle that pre-informs marketing decisions, from spokespeople to messaging and to media. Consumer reaction allows brands to refine messages quickly and to capitalize on real-time opportunities. While brands are measuring the response post-Super Bowl, and hopefully celebrating, they should be attuned to the opportunity to use that information to shape their next campaigns or longer-term marketing plans. The big event and the war room created to support it become a powerful mechanism with which to gather and utilize intelligence gleaned from real-time insights to forge sustainable competitive advantages.

Brands that follow this path will get the most out of their $4 million investments.