Why real-time marketing needs redefining

Redefining real-time marketing
An industry-wide definition could be important for progress

There's a problem right now in digital marketing and it's quite a big one. The industry can't decide what real-time marketing actually means.

A quick Google search reveals definitions ranging from a conversation hijacking fad that has brands talking to each other on Twitter, to the practice of gathering customer knowledge and taking relevant action in a near instantaneous fashion.

Unfortunately, a great deal of marketers have accepted the former as the definition of real-time marketing. And that's not just limiting; it's also extremely off target.

With the advent of new technology enabling businesses to create self-service style real-time marketing campaigns, it is no longer an option reserved for the big boys.

Is it really real-time?

I think part of the reason marketers are latching onto inter-brand Twitter love fests, is because it's some of the only "in-the-moment" marketing they're seeing. Why?

Though 85% of marketers say it is important to their future business success to provide experiences that are responsive to customers based on real-time, in-the-moment behaviours, only 8% are doing it.

These figures come from a recent report we at Monetate released on real-time marketing with Econsultancy. It's an important piece of research, since it helps illustrate what exactly real-time marketing is and how it benefits customers and brands alike.

Real-time marketing describes marketing actions and executions that are realised in real-time. Campaigns are often targeted, custom tailored to an event, the weather or location and deployed in milliseconds through personalised customer experiences.

Real-time works

Of the companies who told us they are already practicing real-time marketing, there is an even split between the B2B and B2C communities, and evenly distributed in terms of annual revenue, spanning less than $1.6 million to more than $1.6 billion.

One thing that is for sure is their efforts are paying off. On average, these brands are reaching their customers at the optimum time and reporting a 26% lift in their conversion rates. Why, then, would we be willing to sit by and let others refer to real-time marketing as something it's not?

It's time we started talking about real-time marketing in terms of its full capabilities. This will push brands to deliver better experiences to their customers and, in turn, achieve better results for themselves.

  • VP of EMEA for Monetate, Mike Harris has over 10 years experience in the web optimisation market, which includes leadership roles at Touch Clarity and Omniture (Adobe®).