With 64% of consumers expecting companies to interact with them in real-time, real-time marketing is now a necessity. Real-time marketing streamlines the buyer journey and allows for quicker purchasing, and Gartner’s research predicts it’ll have the biggest impact on marketing tactics of the next five years. In this article, we’ll look at some pros and cons of real-time marketing.
Reach Consumers at The Right Time
When it comes to marketing, timing is everything. 3 out of 4 consumers complete an action after receiving a message when approaching a physical location. Location-based marketing is one real-time strategy leveraged by some brands is to deliver timely messages to consumers at precise moments. Location data is served in real-time and presents brands with the opportunity to send targeted messages.
For its Whopper Detour Campaign, fast food restaurant Burger King leveraged real-time location data to present customers who had the Burger King app and were within 600 feet of a McDonald’s restaurant with a limited-time offer to purchase a Whopper for $0.01. Burger King’s mobile order value increased by 300% during the campaign.
To ensure your real-time marketing strategy helps you reach consumers at the right time, map out your customer journey and identify the micro-moments during which your audience will want real-time interactions. Prioritize the moments where customers make purchase decisions.
Develop a stack to build connected real-time data from every part of the customer journey and incorporate all existing technologies and engagement platforms.
Deliver Contextually Relevant Experiences
Real-time marketing enables brands to interact with customers using specific live data such as location, weather, or past purchases, and helps deliver personalized experiences at each touchpoint. Sephora meets customers where they are and recommends what it thinks they need (and want). For instance, Sephora sends contextual emails to subscribers based on their online behavior.
To deliver engaging and contextually relevant real-time experiences, think about how your customers’ needs change based on their location and other factors, and communicate with them in a way that spurs movement from impulse to purchase. Use systems that leverage real-time data and artificial intelligence to scale real-time contextual engagement.
With real-time marketing, you can scale your personalization efforts and engage consumers with content and offers that suit their real-time needs. Netflix is one brand doing real-time personalization well. Using customer data, recommendation algorithms, and machine learning, Netflix creates unique homepages for each of its users. This enhances the individual consumer’s overall experience with the platform.
Effective real-time personalization is largely about data. Onboard a system to collect offline and online customer data and build a 360-degree instant view of your customers’ personal preferences, past purchases, and preferred devices. You’ll also need to automate the segmentation process to deliver compelling and relevant experiences.
But while real-time marketing may be a hot trend, it has some cons you should be aware of.
You Need Real-Time Data
To succeed in real-time marketing, you need to have real-time customer data. This data provides up-to-date information on your customers and delivers hyper-personalized experiences across all channels. One tool that can give you access to real-time customer data is a Customer Data Platform (CDP).
CDPs aggregate customer data from various touchpoints, assemble them to create profiles of individual customers, and update customer profiles — all in real-time. These features ensure you have a unified view of your customers and the actions they’ve taken recently, allowing you to engage them in real-time with relevant offers across all devices based on where they are in their customer lifecycle.
When picking a CDP for real-time marketing, choose one that can integrate with a range of external adtech and martech platforms and execute direct marketing campaigns.
Consumers May Find Real-Time Marketing Creepy
While real-time marketing allows brands to engage with consumers as they go about their day to day activities, it can make consumers uneasy. 41% find it disconcerting when they receive a text from a brand or retailer as they walk by a physical store, and 22% left for other brands after such an experience.
You can offer real-time marketing without being creepy by delivering real-time communications that resonate with individual customers. These can be recommendations related to previously searched products, offers, or product availability. Personalize messages based on specific interests and historical purchasing behavior.
Receiving messages seconds after making a purchase also makes some customers uncomfortable. Find out the level of immediacy your customers are comfortable with and consider applying decision engines to ensure every message is triggered by behavioral clues.
When consumers opt-in to receive marketing communications from your brand, inform them on how you intend to use their personal information, and give them the option to opt-out.
Real-Time Marketing Can Be Intrusive
Real-time marketing can be seen as intrusive if not executed properly. 74% of consumers find push notification the most invasive. To avoid this, be sensitive about customer communication preferences, and respect their personal space. Ask customers which devices they prefer to be reached on and use these insights to attract the maximum amount of eyes to your content.
Ensure your content justifies the intrusion by sending hyper-personalized and relevant messages based on user-specific profile data. You can leverage AI engines and adaptive modeling to generate individually tailored offers based on consumer profiles and situational parameters.
Employ frequency capping when sending text messages or push notifications to avoid “over-marketing” to consumers. Give them control over the use of their information.
Get it Right
Undoubtedly, real-time marketing matches consumers’ demands for immediacy. However, not every company needs to engage customers in real-time. If real-time marketing seems like a good move for your brand, invest in systems with predictive capabilities to help you map customer journeys, leverage real-time analytics, and develop a stack that can connect all existing technologies and engagement platforms.
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