Can companies keep up with real-time marketing?
Most marketers would agree that their concept of “real-time” has been redefined in the last few years. While responding to a consumer on Twitter within a day once seemed reasonable, today that expectation has been accelerated to milliseconds. Marketers who haven’t kept up to speed with what’s possible in real time risk missing out on crucial customer opportunities.
According to a new Resulticks research report, “Marketing Flab to Fab,” most marketers want to have competitive real-time marketing capabilities: 34 percent of them feel energized and 36 percent feel optimistic about the concept. Similarly, almost half of marketers (47 percent) consider real-time marketing a priority for their organizations and appear to be putting a lot of their time (and budgets) into the making it happen. However, most still have a long way to go to achieve success.
To their possible disadvantage, almost half of marketers (47 percent) define real-time marketing as an hour or more and only 28 percent think it should be within one second or less. That leaves much a lot of time form them to be lapped by the 12 percent of marketers who think real-time marketing happens within milliseconds. If the majority of marketers aren’t speeding up their “real-time” responses, those organizations who understand the importance of it will surpass the others in revenue and their overall ROI.
Here are a few concrete ways marketers can improve their real-time marketing efforts:
Ensure your strategy aligns with your business goals
It’s imperative that you’re honest with yourself in creating a strategy that lays out practical business goals based on capacity and budget. Start by answering a few questions: What does real-time mean for your business? Do you define it as nano-seconds, minutes, hours or days? What scenarios are you looking to respond in real-time during your customer’s journey?
For example, a big-box consumer electronics brand that wants to create a seamless experience between its online and its brick-and-mortar experiences is likely to face real-time challenges that are very different from those of a real-estate company generating leads for a new luxury condo developmnet. Both are trying to maximize the impact of seamless interactions, but their answers will differ dramatically.
After you’ve clearly answered the questions and aligned with your business model and goals, evaluate your current capabilities to identify and respond to prospects or customers at the exact moment with information or assistance they need to move closer to making a purchase decision. A real-time response with an irresistable, dynamic offer or well-timed discount from your organization.
Stay in the moment
“Staying in the moment” with your audience, depends on other concepts like personalization and big data. Both of those are addresed extensively in other blog posts on this site and in Resultick’s Marketing Flab to Fab research report and 21-day workout plans.
If you allow your team to focus on the most important insights and real-time interactions, you’ll have a better chance to create and capitalize on more up-sell or cross-opportunities. And by speeding up the customer journey toward conversion, you’re not only increasing chances of closing more deals, but engaging and acquiring new customers or entering new markets too.
Coordinate efforts across all functional areas
Real-time marketing can’t exist in a vacuum. It’s important to ensure that the delivery and timing of content and offers across all communications channels is coordinated effectively. Communicate among your internal team so the timing remains consistent no matter who is managing each channel or responsible for moving the prospect closer to conversion or ensuring customer satisfaction or brand loyalty.
These consistent, branded experiences across all online and offline customer touchpoints can make a huge difference in the success of your real-time marketing efforts. Personalization, individualized service and support functions, and other customer-facing operations are all key elements in making your efforts stick in real time.
Don’t try too hard
Knowing when to seize the moment and when to hold off is a challenge even the most advanced marketers struggle with. It’s all about striking a balance between jumping on current events, trending topics, and breaking news, while not pushing too hard and risking your brand’s authenticity.
Some moments will allow your brand to capitalize on timely events while staying aligned with your messaging, but others will be seen to customers as inauthentic. Striking the perfect amount of both will be challenging at first, but will allow you to reap major rewards once mastered.
Keep your eye on the road
Customers want their individual needs to be understood and swiftly met. Even though they give you access to valuable data in exchange for personalization and speed, they haven’t given up their privacy. Failure to recognize the difference between a timely offer and an invasive pitch can destroy customers’ trust and future prospects.
Similarly, failure to comply with data regulations can have serious legal consequences. As the demand for data protection continues to grow, the need for a robust audience data management platform with a unified view of the customer and securely organized data sources becomes critically important.
Today, it seems as though expectations of customers and real-time marketing can’t get any quicker, but the standards are only going to increase. That’s why marketers need to prioritize the concept and clearly define their associated business goals. If they manage to leverage customer data, individualize their messaging, respond in milliseconds all in compliance with regulations, they’ll greatly improve their chances to come out on top of the competition.
Resulticks empowers marketers with next-level marketing capabilities, crafted and constantly improved to meet the toughest real-time marketing, personalization, and regulatory compliance challenges. Interested in how we can help? Request a demo now.