Remember the 2013 Super Bowl and the 34-minute power failure? It has a special place in football history.

It was also a legendary moment in marketing. Somewhere in those thirty-four minutes, the marketing guru’s for Oreo tweeted a simple graphic—a photo of an Oreo cookie on a semi-darkened screen and the words “You can still dunk in the dark.”

It’s called moment marketing – marketing that takes advantage of unique circumstances. What if your restaurant, during that power failure, had tweeted, “You can still order online in the dark, and we deliver in case the lights come back on.” It would likely bring your NetWaiter online ordering site some action.

But how can you prepare for moment marketing?  Here are some tips:

Have a plan. We just concluded the Olympics, a true global event. Imagine sending your customers a message in Facebook or Twitter—“Need a pizza to get you through the lady’s figure skating finals?” or, “How about celebrating the U.S. sinking the Russian hockey team with one of our submarine sandwiches?” If you prepare for an event, when the unexpected happens, you’re that much closer to being ready to pounce.

Choose the best channel. Email might not be the best vehicle to reach folks during a weekend event. It is primarily a business tool, and after hours and outside of work, people are not as tuned into it. Facebook or Twitter are more appropriate. In the middle of a weekday, though, email might well be the best way to reach someone.

Be authentic. Be part of what’s happening. If you can make people laugh with the cleverness of your promotion, you are apt to be more successful. Oreo didn’t send out an ad for their cookies. They suggested that their cookies would be appropriate for the moment, and they did it in a humorous way.

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