Why marketing has to be done in real-time or it risks being out of date | DMA

Filter By

Show All

Connect to


Why marketing has to be done in real-time or it risks being out of date

The dictionary definition of real-time marketing seems to be “marketing that is based on up to date events. Instead of creating a marketing plan in advance and executing it according to a fixed schedule, real-time marketing is creating a strategy focused on current, relevant trends and immediate feedback from customers.”[1]

In practice, real-time marketing could be a particular piece of content or messaging that is sent to a customer that changes dependant on time of day, location, environmental factors such as the weather and the customer’s preferences.

Think about the increased impact of an email that is sent to a customer who has previously purchased a designer jacket. After scanning their previous purchase history and preferences, your email is sent out offering a discount on a pair of sunglasses by the same designer when a hot spell is expected and the sun comes out. But before the email is opened, the weather turns and suddenly it starts raining. The content of the email changes to include an umbrella by the same designer instead of the sunglasses when the customer opens the email.

Here are a few reasons why marketers should take real-time personalised marketing seriously:

Increased revenue – Being able to change the content of a marketing message in real-time means that the message will be much more relevant and will lead to higher interest from customers. The more targeted the message, the higher the chances of making a sale because customers will not ignore the message but be more inclined to read it and follow the call to action all the way to purchase. Research conducted by Econsultancy found that “businesses that use real-time personalisation technologies see an average uplift of 19 per cent in sales.”[2]

Your customers expect it – With the huge amount of choice greeting customers for their hard earned cash, they have become more discerning in what they choose to buy. “74% of consumers get frustrated when website content appears that has nothing to do with their interests and 61% of consumers feel better about a company that delivers custom content, and are more likely to buy.”[3] With the rise of recommendation engines like Amazon’s and Netflix’s, customers are used to seeing content that relates to them and their preferences.

Your competitors are already doing It – Some of your biggest competitors have already implemented real-time personalisation and if they haven’t at the moment, they definitely will be doing it very soon and you will be left wondering why your customer base has suddenly dropped. “94% of companies agree that personalisation is critical to current and future success while 80% of marketers define dynamic personalisation in email as highly important.”[4] The positive thing to think about is that your business can get a head start on your competition and be seen as an innovator in your industry and take business away from them.

It is easier than ever to implement – With marketing personalisation becoming more and more prevalent in numerous industries, the cost of implementing it has dropped and will continue to drop over the next few years. The nature of technology is that it keeps getting easier to implement and cheaper to introduce and real-time personalisation is the same. Many companies have come to market that offer inexpensive personalisation marketing technology that are SaaS based and there are some companies that can even do it all under the same platform; from email, mobile, social media, personalization, website recommendations and data hosting.

Privacy concerns have almost disappeared – Millennials belong to the first generation that is willing to give up more of their personal information to companies in return for more personalised service and more relevant products. “61% of consumers prefer personalised offers even if this results in less privacy”[5] while “34% of millennials said they don’t worry at all about digital privacy”.[6] This shows that more young consumers are trusting companies to keep their data safe and offer them relevant content and products. Having grown up with computers, the internet, social media and messaging apps, these consumers are more relaxed with their data but need something in return for giving it up. It seems that data has become a sort of currency in this new world of real-time interaction.

To cater to tech savvy, connected consumers that expect personalised products and service, companies need to up their real-time marketing game. When it provides so many benefits and is now becoming more and more inexpensive, it will become the next essential marketing tool to offer relevant content in the next few years.

That sounds cool, but how? - To do this, you only need to have access to a few data fields updated in real time. One of the most common is to use a weather feed by post code, and create some simple message rules relating to rain/snow or sunny. So for example, you would serve up a certain message and visual if the email is opened on a sunny day vs. a different message and visual if the email is opened on a rainy/snowy day. You can add additional personalisation rules that are driven from other real time data feeds such as last purchase, location, related news or sports updates, etc. Consumer feedback on this kind of personalisation is very high, since it tends to make your messaging more relevant and timely.

Az Ahmed is a marketing expert at SmartFocus. SmartFocus has been named as a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave™: Real-Time Interaction Management, Q3 2015. Download the report here.

SmartFocus is a leader in personalised digital interactions, enabling the world’s largest brands – including Mercedes-Benz, Speedo, Macy’s and Levi’s – to understand and connect more closely with today’s connected consumers; whether that be via web, mobile, email or social channels. Through The Message Cloud solution, SmartFocus genuinely listens to and learns from customers using patented algorithms and unique location-based marketing tools. Using The Message Cloud, SmartFocus customers have the rich data, intelligence and the tools for contextually unique engagements, through any digital channel. http://www.smartfocus.com/

[1] http://trackmaven.com/marketing-dictionary/real-time-marketing/

[2] http://www.fourthsource.com/ecommerce/true-personalisation-critical-business-17014

[3] http://www.triblio.com/content-personalization-statistics-2015/

[4] http://blog.mojn.com/ecommerce-personalization-stats/

[5] http://blog.mojn.com/ecommerce-personalization-stats/

[6] http://college.usatoday.com/2015/04/03/study-millennials-indifferent-about-about-digital-privacy/

Hear more from the DMA

Please login to comment.