Communication in real-time grew out of… our desire to connect in many different ways but not necessarily face to face. Many of us still remember the times where there was no Internet or mobile phones. If we wanted to talk to a friend or grandma, we had to meet. And before that, make a call using a landline phone, and schedule an appointment.

Real-time Marketing – from a landline phone to WhatsApp

Today it is even harder to believe that landline phones were not commonly available – sometimes you had to go to someone on spec, hoping that this person is, for example, at home. Such a trip surely had many pros, but it took some effort – it was risky and time-consuming, especially if it involved a long journey.

Digital transformation has changed everything. Computers, then the Internet, and finally mobile devices – it all has become part of everyday life. We began to talk with each other at any time, no matter where we are; all we need is smartphones and an Internet connection. Communicators became a natural form of contact, slowly replacing phone calls and text messages, simply because they are much more convenient. We keep in touch with our close ones and friends with the use of Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram stories, and that is where we receive answers right away.

 

Real-time Marketing – all here and now

And what it has to do with Real-time marketing? Well, customers expect from companies such a communication (that is, a service) they already got used to in their social and family contacts: using communicators, here and now. The first industry that has noticed this dependency and adapted it to its needs was e-commerce. Online shops very quickly implemented the buy now service. With a few clicks, customers can buy products immediately. Considering the universality of this option and its availability in almost every e-commerce, we can only imagine how it affects an increase in sales.

In the process, we may observe how generational change impacts our behavior during shopping. Those who grow up in the times when the Internet became usual, and especially the mobile generation, have their expectations as customers. They never experienced times when you had to wait for the letter to come, for someone to call, or for something to be available to buy. For them, it is unthinkable to have to wait for shopping delivery, buying a product, or even to hear back from a company.

Representatives of this generation have entered the consumptive age group, and there will be more of them; soon, they will dominate as customers. It is worth considering this factor during planning marketing activities and implementing a marketing automation system.

 

Real-time Marketing – choosing the perfect moment

Exactly. So we already know, what is Real-time marketing, but how does it look like in practice? How can a marketer use the knowledge I have mentioned before?

If we have access to customers’ data, based on them, we can conclude at what moment in their life cycle, and more specifically, the shopping life cycle they are. We receive the so-called customer context. This is important because it allows bringing into force a thoroughly developed marketing automation strategy. We may also perform segmentation and content personalization to send communication not only at the right time but also to the right recipients.

 

Real-time Marketing and system’s efficiency

During planning marketing activities, attention should be paid to the efficiency of the marketing automation system, and more precisely, a database. We often write about it in our blog articles in the context of CRM systems. A database is a kind of container for information on customers. The marketing automation system has its own equivalent of such data containers, but it is much smaller. It stores only the information gathered by the MA system itself (closely related to customer communication: sent and opened emails, links clicked in messages, sent texts, and so on). It is important not to keep all the data we already have in CRM in the marketing system (and reasons for that are the subject for a separate article).

So, we already know that real-time is crucial in marketing. Then, maybe, it is worth transferring all the data between MA’s and other systems regularly? Unfortunately, there is no such possibility for the simple reason – the mentioned efficiency. Systems overloaded with data operate slower, are error-prone, and it is not easy to manage them. This means the more data we want to process, the more time we need for that, and then, Real-time Marketing… is off. Luckily, the truth is that in reality, not all business processes require data in real-time.

 

Real-time Marketing and process selection

Are you interested in how marketing automation providers dealt with this problem? The solution is in diversification, and precisely – in process selection and prioritization. In the case of the first one, we select processes that have to be literally automated by nature. It is the so-called transactional communication, meaning purchase confirmation, confirmation of payment, a link to change the password, and other examples of on-demand communications.

In contrast, I can give an example of communication that is still recommended, but the real-time condition is not necessary – a welcome email. If our customer signs up for our loyalty program, the next day, we can send them information about our company’s charity no matter what time did the customer register the day before. From a business point of view, it is not that relevant.

Summing up, a marketing automation solution has to enable communication in real-time. However, at the stage of modeling processes, it is worth considering which one of them requires immediacy and will bring us a business value at the end of the day.

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Author

  • Maria Nowakowska
  • Marketing Cloud Consultant
  • I am a fan of long bicycle trips (up to 180 km), Canada, Marketing Automation solutions, CRM, and loyalty programs.

     

    At Craftware, I am a Marketing Cloud consultant and I am responsible for implementing Marketing Automation solutions for our customers. I started my career working at a call center in a telecommunications company to end my adventure there as a coordinator of external companies. I wanted to enter the world of the so-called Internet, so then, I moved to the digital department of financial services to seamlessly move to marketing consulting. While working in consulting, I was introduced to marketing automation and it turned out that it’s my thing.

     

    At work, I like workshops with customers, translating strategies into functionalities, and advising how to increase the potential of currently used solutions.  My dream is to analyze and write code freely, so in my free time, I learn programming. Besides work and study, I spend my time practicing yoga, walking my dog ​​Bruno, and playing Factorio.

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