Doing real-time marketing well at a live event is hard. Take the Oscars. Traditionally, brands have hired event photography teams, assembled agency war rooms and built large production operations around editing, transferring, approving and distributing creative that’s “in the moment.”

Staffing these war rooms and production environments is expensive, while coordinating between different brand, agency and vendor teams is complex, complexity that often creates inefficiency. In fact, research by the Boston Consulting Group indicates that the world’s largest companies could save 10% to 20% of their entire advertising budget with a systematic review of their marketing processes and non-working dollars.

With digital driving higher expenditures in non-working advertising costs, CMOs and their marketing budgets are under greater scrutiny, and marketing leaders are under more pressure to demonstrate campaign ROI. In Percolate’s recent study of nearly 200 senior marketing executives, 47% listed “measuring the ROI of our campaign” as their greatest challenge.

At the same time, CEOs are looking to the CMOs to lead digital transformation across their organizations. Chief marketing technologists are becoming more commonplace, and marketers are partnering with IT to purchase systems to help complete this transformation.

Real-time marketing is a systems challenge

We’ve talked about real-time marketing before. Sometimes it can be really effective.

In 2013, British Airways and Ogilvy partnered to create interactive digital billboards in London. The digital screens showed children standing up and following the path of overhead British Airways aircraft when the planes approached. You could follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #lookup.

To pull of the campaign, the billboards were set up with radio transponders to receive data sent down from the plane to the ground. Ogilvy and British Airways then had to build a custom application that translated the information about altitude, distance, and flight information for the billboards, creating a virtual trigger zone in the sky.

In 2014, IBM partnered with the U.S. Open to create “Sessions”, electronic music created from tennis data. Alongside American DJ and producer James Murphy, IBM’s engineers turned data produced by connected tennis racquets, and even weather into music. Visualizations accompanied the tracks online, and were created using a sophisticated algorithm that also took in these variables.

Pitchfork even gave them a 6.9.

The point behind both of these campaigns was not to create a real-time marketing “Oreo moment”.

The goal was to create real-time marketing experiences – real-time connections between the audience and the brand. Both of these campaigns had software and systems at their center. Without these systems in place to handle the coordination and the flow of data, a meaningful audience experience would not have been possible.

And that’s what is so exciting about software. The power of software is that software helps establish meaningful connections, whether in real-time or not.

In the accompanying infographic below, we’ve included a real-life campaign example of how Percolate’s software and mobile products helped U.S. Cellular and their agency Mullen establish meaningful, in-the-moment connections with customers at one of the largest live music events in the country.