Real-Time Dinner with David Meerman Scott at DMA:2011


As previously mentioned, I am at DMA:2011 in Boston with David Meerman Scott and he was the featured guest at our executive dinner this evening.  We invited marketing executives attending this conference to have dinner with the best-selling author, who will also present in the Thought Leadership Series tomorrow at 1:45pm.

Our guests included marketers from the US, Canada and Europe and from a range of industries.  Each brought unique perspectives from their industry that made for very interesting discussions.  One agency executive with a large automotive manufacturer client explained how large an impact the dealership network has on establishing (or unraveling) long-term customer relationships.  Another great interchange was sparked by the comments of a credit company executive raising issues about airline affinity programs and issues with customer relevancy.  I very much enjoyed the interaction among our guests, as well as the way that David facilitated the discussion by adding his own perspectives.

He incorporated parts of his latest best-seller Real-TimeMarketing and PR in ways that kept the discussion focused on the overall real-time marketing theme of DMA this year.  Interesting tidbits he included from his book include:

  • Seven times more sales can be driven by responding to website inquiries in 5 minutes versus 24 hours.
  • Of 100 leading companies he analyzed, only 28% were engaged in real-time marketing.  The stock price of those companies went up an average of 3% in the last year versus all other companies, whose stock price declined 2%.

When asked about his thoughts about prospects in the coming year, he replied that he’s never seen a better opportunity than right now for smart marketers.  Those that understand we’re in a real-time, data-driven world are the ones that will succeed.  When asked what advice he’d offer to companies who are looking to adopt a real-time approach to their marketing, David offered two tips:

  1. Take more steps to understand what people are saying about you and respond to them immediately.
  2. Make your website real-time friendly – understand what’s happening on your pages and have real-time triggers to events.

It should come as no surprise that in both his views on prospects for the coming year and his advice for marketers, my mind immediately made the connection to the role played by social media analytics, customer experience analytics and real-time decisioning solutions in enabling marketers to understand, predict and respond to rapid developments online and in social media.

One thing I think we can all agree on – real time marketing is a mindset that needs to be encouraged because our markets are now happening in real-time, and customer analytics will enable the operationalization of  real-time marketing for the enterprise.

It’s an exciting time to be a marketer, indeed.


About Author

John Balla

Principal Marketing Strategist

Hi, I'm John Balla - a Digital Marketing Principal here at SAS focused on Content Strategy. I co-founded the SAS Customer Intelligence blog and served as Editor for five years. I like to find and share content and experiences that open doors, answer questions and maybe even challenge assumptions so better questions can be asked. Outside of work I stay busy with my wife and I keeping up with my 2 awesome college-age kids, volunteering for the Boy Scouts, keeping my garden green, striving for green living, expressing myself with puns, and making my own café con leche every morning. I’ve lived and worked on 3 contents and can communicate fluently in Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian and passable English. Prior to SAS, my experience in marketing ranges from Fortune 100 companies to co-founding two start ups. I studied economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and got an MBA from Georgetown. Follow me on Twitter. Connect with me on LinkedIn.


  1. John, Thanks so much for inviting me to speak at your client dinner. I enjoyed speaking with people in a casual setting and learning about how your clients are using real-time marketing.

    What I always come back to around real-time is the incredible opportunity that we have as marketers to tap the potential of now. So few organizations actually do it.

    Thanks for this writeup of the evening! Best, David

    • John Balla

      Hi David,
      Thank you for your post ( and the two examples from the dinner conversation you highlighted. Both cases are ones that almost anyone can relate to, and there is no better way to illustrate a point. I am looking forward to seeing the recording of your DMA Thought Leadership Series session!

  2. Deb Orton

    Isn't it interesting how what was once just the promise of real-time will be essential to competitive advantage. Will need to automate David's advice in order to meet the demands of real-time

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