Hurry Up! Others’ Real-Time Pace Is Making You Look Slower

Not so long ago, an overworked Marketing Communications writer would record the CNBC appearances of her portfolio managers, watch them at home that night and write summaries to be routed and eventually published on the Web later that week.

OK, that’s not going to work anymore.

The rest of the world is going real-time, and mutual fund, ETF and other investment communicators are going to have to hustle even more than they already do to catch up.

Exhibit 1 is from the world of entertainment. As the Tony Awards were underway a few Sundays ago, the media was reporting the results as they were happening, and bloggers were at it, too. But even the show content at the end of the show was fluid enough to reflect what happened earlier in the show. This video of host Neil Patrick Harris can say it better than I just did.

Maybe blame Twitter for revving the real-time revolution.

Twitter reports what people are saying real-time. On the basis of immediacy alone, information exchanged on Twitter qualifies as having more authority.
Take a look at this screenshot of a simple search for mutual funds. Google found almost 30 million results but what’s the top search result? It’s No surprise there, given that it’s an extensive Web site chocked full of mutual fund information. Google acknowledges Morningstar’s authority by showing it as the #1 search result.

But no doubt you noticed what’s managed to wedge itself on top of the Google results—it’s results from a Twitter search on mutual funds. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, this page displays the effect of installing a Greasemonkey user script to display the top five related Twitter results while using the Firefox browser. (Not as geeky as it sounds—it’s a two-step process described here.)

But who would quarrel with where such fresh results should go? Of course, what somebody “tweeted” 3 minutes ago might have more relevance to a searcher than a site that’s sufficiently developed and aged to sit on the top of 30 million results. Twitter results belong on top!

Marketers in any industry are challenged to meet the demand for real-time communicating (both talking and listening). But if you’re marketing investment products, you’ve no doubt become accustomed to a multiple day, multiple review, upstairs, downstairs and back to accounting system of producing content.

The delay imposed on getting your work out the door is even more demoralizing when you consider the high-speed real-time market information that your clientele enjoys from most sources. As you know, all your work is for naught if the delay means that no one consumes your content, let alone acts on it.

Think about the time your process takes. Where can you wring out excess days, hours, reviewers? Who do you need to talk to and what can you use to make your case? Some communications do need to be marinaded—exclude them then. Can you start by introducing a process change with one type of communication, to one type of audience, for one business at first? What analytics can you use to measure whether faster speed-to-market makes a difference?

Years ago, Neil Patrick Harris and entourage might have closed the Tonys and gone to Sardi’s to wait for reviews they’d read in the early morning editions of the newspaper. You see how old-fashioned every piece of that is, right? And so it is with market updates that spend overnights with Compliance.