Today’s customers are empowered to make various choices about the products and services that they avail. With customization becoming the new norm, customers can now contribute to the decision-making process.
Delivering a positive and memorable customer experience has turned out to be a vital part of all business processes. Customers expect to move between platforms and devices easily and receive quick responses to their queries. This means the marketers need to be ready with ways to engage with customers. This is where real-time marketing becomes relevant.
Speed and immediacy have turned out to be highly crucial for businesses. In the age of smartphones, brands are constantly looking for ways to leverage the relationship of their customers with these devices. As a result, marketing has become way more fast-paced than before.
What is Real-Time Marketing?
Real-time marketing is the method of engaging with customers based on real-time data and information. This information can be based on any changes that a customer has implemented in his/her profile, changing customer preferences, their activities etc. In addition to that, it can also be based on any breaking news or trending events and so on. One of the best ways to collect customer data is by offering free WiFi to customers.
For example, during the Superbowl blackout of 2013, when several people turned to their smartphones, Oreo utilized the power of social media by sending out a perfectly timed tweet that said, “You can still dunk in the dark’. This tweet was shared 15000 times and Oreo’s followers increased by 8000 on Twitter.
Done right, real-time marketing is an effective method of reaching out to your customers to increase brand awareness, improving prospects of lead acquisition and consequently, generating more revenue.
How to Successfully Implement Real-Time Marketing
Real-time marketing doesn’t only involve a single well-timed moment but also a brand’s daily activities. It also involves relevant and timely interactions with your customers. The best way to do this is by implementing small and regular real-time initiatives to ensure that your customers know what to expect from your business.
According to the author, Jon Burkart, “You need to cultivate the principle of little bets, a concept coined by Peter Sims. In other words, the willingness to foster lots of small, experimental creativity to put things out there and see what sticks.”
Let’s take a look some of the effective methods to implement real-time marketing successfully for your business.
#1. Know Your Customers
One of the goals of a business is to connect its customers to the products and/or services they need. In an attempt to engage customers with the brand, marketers need to be aware of the preferences and the requirements of the customers. This will help in serving them properly.
Once you gather the relevant information about your customers, you will be able to determine the types of messages that they would respond to, empower your staff to address the complaints and feedback of your customers in an appropriate way etc. Additionally, you will be able to devise a crisis management plan.
#2. Align Your Communications to Inbound Interactions
A customer’s journey with a business has a variety of touchpoints and channels. From devices to platforms, communication channels vary. For example, 80% of internet users own a smartphone. This means they are connected on-the-go. Therefore, they expect instant communication. Your customer’s journey may start on a desktop and shift to a smartphone and may continue on a smartwatch. Such flexible channels do not respond to linear marketing methods.
Therefore, you would need to align your personalized interactions with your customers with the inbound communications. Such contextually relevant interactions will help in connecting with the customers in real-time and help in creating a meaningful relationship with them.
#3. Assemble a Team for Handling Data
Data management is a crucial part of real-time marketing. To ensure that your data-driven real-time marketing strategy is a complete success, it is important to assemble a team that will look into the various aspects of this marketing technique.
Data management starts with effective accumulation of data and ends with implementing it effectively to drive sales. Every member of the data-handling team should have key roles in ensuring that the process is completed properly.
For example, a data scientist can be in charge of determining audience types, how much to invest in the real-time marketing techniques etc. You would also require a data analyst to analyze customer behavior etc. A creative player will be able to brainstorm new ideas and direct the team to success.
#4. Send Push Notifications
One of the best ways to implement real-time marketing is by sending push notifications to customers to urge them to make a purchasing about a product that they have already shortlisted. Such efforts push them forward through the sales pipeline. Additionally, discounts and offers on your customers’ preferred items can be sent to them via push notifications. This can be one of the best ways to increase conversion rates.
Beacon technology is increasingly being implemented to make this a complete success. Beacons are small objects that can be placed on the walls of stores. These devices use Bluetooth connectivity to communicate with customers through apps installed in their smartphones. Numerous retailers in the US have already started making the most of this technology. According to a study, 4.5 million active beacons are estimated to be set up by 2018.
“We are taking our cues from customers and beacons are a new technology that is helping us to do that,” pointed out Jim Sluzewski, SVP of external affairs and corporate communications of Macy’s, “As we work through the capabilities of beacons and find out what resonates with customers, that will give us the ability to be much more granular.”
#5. Real-Time Marketing on Social Media
Real-time marketing through social media can involve promoting your brand via events, answering your customers’ queries and so on. Social media platforms are rolling out event targeting features to equip brands with insights into upcoming events and audience behavior in the previous year concerning the same event. Such features can be used to create effective campaigns.
Real-time marketing is one of the best ways to build effective customer relationship and improved brand loyalty. These steps will help you make the most of this marketing strategy.
Image: Hand touch real-time marketing technology background