The word of mouth and promotional frenzy around Lionsgates’ Hunger Games has been deafening. It helped the film break box office records — before it even opened it seemed.

While I may never see the movie (I’m not the target audience), one thing I’m first to admit is that I really like how the movie was marketed.

According to this article in Forbes, the key to The Hunger Games’ social media success can be attributed to the use of real-time input from fans and a healthy lead time to build momentum for the film.

“Lionsgate adopted a ongoing continuous process for  improvement based upon user data from their social channels. This is part of a trend where smart marketers are adopting a new approach, one that leverages dynamic customer input instead of the old style of phased, programatic marketing campaigns,” says Vince Broady, CEO of thismoment.

Built for Change
It’s easy to say, and no secret, that planning cycles and other operational processes need to be more flexible. We need to plan for change. And a steady stream of relevant data makes a more iterative cycle possible.

Whether they’re in the digital or offline worlds, our efforts can be optimized for effectiveness and efficiency through real-time data much in the way Lionsgate did.

My data and analytics co-workers take this a step forward and suggest that data equates to a digital persona of the consumer. In a recent presentation entitled, “Humanizing Big Data for Insights & Action,” they note that marketers must humanize this data if they are going to learn from it and act upon it.

Whether You’re on Real-Time or Internet Time, Social Media Takes Time
For me,  the best part of this article is about midway through when the 10 month promotional build was revealed.

“It was back in June 2011 that Lionsgate and thismoment launched a series of social promotions on YouTube, Facebook, and other social sites to begin the social drumbeat around Hunger Games.”

10 months. More than three quarters, but just shy of one full year. We’ve discussed the need for a committment as opposed to a campaign approach for social media. You cannot flip the switch in the way you can with paid media and create instant engagment with consumers.

So while people may tout social media’s role in the success of The Hunger Games, I hope those same people acknowledge that it takes time to build a sustainable level of momentum.

Old Spice All Over Again?
The marketing sex appeal of the Old Spice case study created unfortunate misinformation shortly after Isaiah Mustafa took YouTube by storm. But P&G and its agencies worked long and hard to get things in place ahead of the online campaign. This includes a TV spot on the heels of the Super Bowl and its agency team embedding themselves in Reddit to build the street cred it takes to float a URL there with any success.

Tone Down the Infographic Pr0n
The 10 month factoid may not sex up “that infographic” you can bet we’ll see wallpapering Pinterest as soon as I hit publish, but it’s critical.

It’s also another facet of social media’s paradox. Real-data may be more important than ever to inform ever-changing marketing efforts, but it can’t speed up the amount of time most marketing efforts require to get results.

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