Real-Time, Near-Real-Time & Batch Personalisation
11 Jan 2024
We’ve moved beyond broad-spectrum campaigns to an era where tailored approaches are not just desired but expected by consumers. It’s a meticulous blend of data, technology, and timing that crafts a compelling narrative for each customer.
At the core of this shift are three personalisation techniques: Real-Time Personalisation, Near-Real-Time Personalisation, and Batch Personalisation. These techniques, defined by their temporal dynamics and depth of customer engagement, collectively define the spectrum of personalised marketing today, each playing a crucial role in a comprehensive customer experience strategy.
Real-time personalisation happens instantaneously, triggered by a consumer’s interaction with a brand. It’s a dynamic process that combines the context of the immediate interaction with pre-existing customer data to create a bespoke offer or experience within the same channel the customer is engaging.
Examples of Real-Time Personalisation:
- Chatbot Interactions: Customers engaging with an online chatbot receive instant product recommendations based on current navigation and past purchase history.
- In-App Messaging: Users receive notifications about discounts or features aligned with their in-app behaviour and preferences while using a brand’s app.
- Dynamic Website Content: The homepage layout and product displays adapt in real-time as a customer browses an e-commerce site, showcasing items similar to what they are searching for or have bought before.
You could think of real-time personalisation as a live concert, where the audience’s reactions immediately influence the performance.
Near-real-time personalisation shares the responsiveness of real-time but introduces a brief interlude between the interaction and the response, ranging from a few minutes to several hours. The response may manifest in a different marketing channel, enabling cross-platform engagement.
Examples of Near-Real-Time Personalisation:
- Email Follow-Ups: Customers leaving items in an online shopping cart receive an email encouraging them to complete the purchase with a personalised offer after a short delay.
- Retargeting Ads: Shortly after visiting a website, consumers encounter tailored advertisements on social media platforms reflecting their recent online browsing activity.
- SMS Alerts: After booking a flight, a customer receives a text message offering a special deal on a rental car or accommodation, based on the destination and timing of their trip.
Near-real-time personalisation is more like a TV show airing shortly after live events, allowing for some audience input to shape future episodes.
Batch personalisation operates on the marketer’s timetable. It’s more of a strategic broadcast than an instantaneous or near-immediate exchange. This method relies on accumulated customer data to personalise content but lacks the real-time context of the customer’s current interaction.
Examples of Batch Personalisation:
- Scheduled Email Campaigns: Customers receive monthly newsletters featuring products tailored to their purchase history or segment classification.
- Direct Mail: A brand sends out postcards with personalised offers or information, such as a birthday discount, based on customer data collected over time.
- Segmented Offers: Using CRM data, a company sends out a special promotion to a specific group of customers who have previously purchased a particular category of products.
Batch personalisation is like a film released on schedule, crafted well in advance, considering audience preferences but without the ability to pivot instantaneously.
Each personalisation strategy offers unique benefits. Real-time personalisation focuses on immediacy and relevance, creating a customer experience that feels thoughtful and highly customised. Near-real-time allows for a nuanced approach, delivering personalised content with slight delays that feel responsive while offering the flexibility to cross channels. Batch personalisation, though less immediate, facilitates thorough segmentation and planning, reaching out to customers with offers relevant to past behaviours.
Understanding these differences is more than academic; it’s a strategic imperative for marketers aiming to leverage the full power of automation technology. It’s about making the customer feel seen and understood without overwhelming them or appearing disingenuous. The challenge and opportunity lie in mastering the tempo of each approach to maximise engagement, loyalty, and ultimately, revenue.