Not long ago, we explored here the idea of real-time marketing; simply, that marketers can and must react to the market in real time. An incredible gift, on the part of the Westjet Airlines, best captures the spirit of the season and the significance that real-time engagement with customers, can have.
In a matter of days, over 15,000,000 people have viewed a video of the heartwarming experience that a flight full of Toronto passengers had, through an unexpected conversation with Santa Claus and an even more unexpected surprise awaiting them on the ground.
Grab a tissue, unless you’re a Grinch, you can’t help but be a little touched.
The WestJet Christmas Miracle
Such a thing could not have been done by any business; to pull off an experience like this requires the very thing that most companies hope to attain, that immesurable characteristic that startup founders and CEOs alike strive to find; they hire consultants, hold marketers accountable, and scratch their head as competition passes them by in spite of strong business metrics and many happy returns – because of Culture.
The team behind the event added, simply, in uploading the video to YouTube,
“Thanks to a team of merry WestJetters and the power of technology, we’ve learned that miracles really do happen.”
Culture trumps strategy, every time.
To look at what’s involved here, as a business owner with a budget, is to realize that it really isn’t a significant endeavor; certainly not for 15M views that penetrated the hearts and minds of the world. Costumes for a few hundred dollars, rented video equipment (heck, smartphones these days are likely sufficient), and decorations… granted, not as cheap as it sounds when you look at the production studio they used to video conference with Santa, to the surprise and delight of kids young and old, but, not an unattainable concept that delivered to WestJet the wonderful gift of immeasurable reach and influence.
WestJet Christmas Bloopers
At the heart of growth hacking is the simple premise that your organization consider, measure, and optimize EVERY facet of what’s ongoing. Rather than a mere TV commercial, which no doubt would have touched viewers just as well, but hardly as efficiently, WestJet turned to YouTube, the media, Facebook, and Twitter with not just the video you’ve seen, but bloopers and behind the scenes that have nearly reached another million viewers.
Where traditional marketers might run TV and hope for reach and frequency, while relying on studies or focus groups to measure impact, marketers today compare and contrast campaigns against everything (not just other marketing channels but conversion performance, Customer Support, Sales’ performance, social media, etc.), and optimize and reallocate in near real time while building search, social, email, content, and PR around the TV campaign to create synergy.
Not sold? Consider, as another example, Amazon’s Black Friday coup with their simple announcement of delivery by drones. Low to no cost; immeasurable impact.
Not long ago, I teamed up with Dachis Group on a white paper about Real-time Marketing. If you’d like to learn more, grab it here