Az Ahmed, Marketing Expert at SmartFocus, says real-time marketing is essential to providing relevant experiences and content. He provides five reasons why marketers should be taking it seriously
Personalisation is the big trend in marketing these days and a lot of businesses are developing or adopting personalisation technology. Yet in order to stay relevant and ahead of the curve, businesses need not only to implement personalisation, but also market in real-time.
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.”
In practice, real-time marketing could be a particular piece of content or messaging that is sent to a customer and 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. But before the email is opened, the weather turns and 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.
Why marketers should take real-time personalised marketing seriously:
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 be more inclined to read it and follow the call-to-action all the way to purchase. Research conducted by Econsultancy found “businesses that use real-time personalisation technologies see an average uplift of 19 per cent in sales.”
Your customers expect it
With the huge amount of choice available to customers, they have become more discerning. “Seventy-four per cent of consumers get frustrated when website content appears that has nothing to do with their interests and 61 per cent of consumers feel better about a company that delivers custom content, and are more likely to buy.” With the rise of recommendation engines like those of Amazon and Netflix, 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 probably implemented real-time personalisation already. If they haven’t, they will do so very soon, and you will be left wondering why your customer base has suddenly dropped. “Ninety-four per cent of companies agree that personalisation is critical to current and future success while 80 per cent of marketers define dynamic personalisation in email as highly important.” The positive thing to remember is that your business can get a headstart on your competition, 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 offering inexpensive personalisation marketing technology, and there are some companies that can even do it all under the same platform; from email, mobile, social media, personalisation, website recommendations and data hosting.
Privacy concerns have almost disappeared
Millennials are the first generation willing to give up more of their personal information to companies in return for more personalised service and more relevant products. “Sixty-one per cent of consumers prefer personalised offers even if this results in less privacy” while “34 per cent of millennials said they don’t worry at all about digital privacy”. 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. Data has become a currency in this new world of real-time interaction.
To cater to tech savvy, connected consumers that expect personalised products and services, 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.
SmartFocus has been named as a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave™: Real-Time Interaction Management, Q3 2015. Download the report here.