Business success means getting personal. Because consumers have so many choices at their fingertips, companies must engage with today's connected world in a way that impacts individuals on a more intimate level than the marketing messages of yesteryear. Real-time marketing allows brands to target consumers with the right message, in the right place, at the right time, allowing them to take advantage of opportunities in the moment. Yet, while such marketing strategies offer so much potential, many companies find it difficult to integrate the real-time element with their existing strategies.
The "Real-Time Marketing Insights Study: Five Keys to Success for Marketers" report by Neolane and the Direct Marketing Association explores how marketers currently perceive real-time marketing and their plans for incorporating such techniques in the future. The study, which polled 235 North American marketers across industries and company sizes, explores the challenges marketers face and the channels used to define what real-time marketing means to those in charge. By assessing the current state of the real-time marketing space, researchers then generated a list of tips for marketers based on the findings to help guide marketers toward of more successful future. These instructions, along with the supporting statistics, are as follows:
1. Marketers need a tangible and easy way to get started with real-time marketing:
- Personalization (60 percent), effectiveness (57 percent), customer retention (43 percent), and leveraging Big Data (41 percent) represent the primary challenges facing marketers today.
- While 77 percent of respondents believe real-time personalization is crucial, 66 percent admit that they struggle to personalize content in real time.
2. Real-time marketing goes beyond single channels and agile process, to cross-channel automation:
- Forty-three percent of respondents classify real-time marketing as dynamic, personalized content across channels.
- Thirteen percent of those polled define real-time marketing as dynamic, personalized content in outbound channels, while 12 percent say real-time means developing quick responses to mainstream events.
3. Consider email, Web, and cross-channel when evaluating real-time marketing strategies:
- Including dynamic, personalized content via mobile devices (53 percent), point of sale (49 percent), call centers (49 percent), and social channels (45 percent) continues to gain importance to the organization's overall real-time marketing strategy.
- Though real-time email (80 percent), cross-channel engagements (75 percent), and Web (69 percent) are the most important aspects of the average marketer's strategy when it comes to offering dynamic, personalized content, most remain in the planning stages.
4. Evaluate real-time digital marketing vendors based on ease of use, data access capabilities, and training:
- While 55 percent of marketers claim they currently employ real-time email strategies, 49 percent are planning real-time cross-channel marketing initiatives, while 40 percent are in the planning stages for Web marketing.
- Complexity of systems (50 percent), access to real-time data (46 percent), data privacy issues (45 percent), and training (39 percent) represent the primary barriers to real-time implementation.
5. Leverage real-time marketing for increased effectiveness, revenue, retention, and enhanced customer experience:
- Respondents believe that marketing effectiveness and precise targeting (76 percent), increased customer satisfaction and experience (67 percent), and increased customer retention (60 percent) are the primary benefits of real-time marketing solutions.
- While 68 percent of those polled are planning or evaluating real-time marketing solutions, 44 percent have deployed or are planning to deploy this marketing technology.
Key takeaway: With social, mobile, and Web channels generating more and more attention, marketers have no choice but to alter their techniques to cater to the consumer's evolving habits. Because most individuals face an onslaught of messaging every day, brands must be sure to produce this dynamic, personalized content in an effort to attract new prospects and retain current customers. The power to stand out among competitors lies with not only sharing the company's story with consumers, but allowing consumers to share their personal stories, as well. Personalization enables dialogue that truly tugs at the essence of all human interaction, and it is through this connection that marketers can begin to hone their real-time marketing strategies.