Advanced Real Time Marketing Insights

by Danyl Bosomworth

Advanced Real Time Marketing Insights

3 Strategic learnings for real time marketing

Value: ★★★

Recommended link: Forrester real-time analytics report – free download 


Commissioned by MediaMath, the latest research piece by Forrester is well worth the time it will take you to scan to understand this emerging modern marketing technique. I think most marketers understand the concept of real-time marketing but may struggle to see how that works across the WHOLE customer journey (most people associate real-time with Social media channels, mistake number one! More on that later). It is certainly something I am still learning about especially the practical side of it and excited by the prospect of working with more clients on helping them on the journey.

Looking at the data shared in the report suggests the value that brands can get from real-time marketing.

Real time marketing-analytics

So, the value is in improving customer experiences by identifying opportunities and problems although the categories in the graph are a little generic, not actionable enough.

My three key learnings

  1. A roadmap for using real-time marketing is crucial otherwise you will be quickly overwhelmed by data. It is a huge but exciting commitment as a brand
  2. Data is the key enabler, though how you utilise it is obviously more important
  3. Ultimate customer focus and a passion for creating remarkable experiences is not optional

Getting clear on what real-time marketing means is probably the first thing to agree. As defined by the website that knows everything about everything Wikipedia:

Real-time marketing is marketing performed on-the-fly to determine an appropriate or optimal approach to a particular customer at a particular time and place

On a broad level that means highly personalised experiences with every touchpoint of your brand, hence my comment earlier on it isn’t linked to Social Media, it covers all touch points. While that is an exciting agenda it immediately means cross divisional effort and backing from the top (CEO / MD) against a vision meaning you should start the conversations ASAP.

Key Learning 1: Spend time on your vision and road map, don’t jump in

My initial feelings when I had finished reading the whitepaper was firstly excited, secondly overwhelmed. I think for most brands and companies real-time marketing is a long journey, with lots of wins and excitement on the way. The document alludes at the end to the fact it can take 2 years to get data collection and technology in place and then another 2 years to get into using it appropriately. So a minimum of a 4 year vision. Our jobs as marketers is to show the vision but make it practical and useful here today!

Image from Forrester & MediaMath Report

Key Learning 2: Data, data & more data

The word data is mentioned 88 times in the 9 page document which highlights its importance. I think the use and collection quality of data vastly changes by industry but there are certainly some industries that have taken big steps forward that we can learn from. One of the more fascinating comments in the guide was how financial services are leading the way.

After my initial sense of surprise it actually makes sense. Financial services were and still are renowned for their ability to utilise data in unbelievable ways to interact with customers. They work hard on data collection and ensure it is utilised to generate sales, if only they had a sexier product to sell at the end :-). I think this quote from a finance services company in the document highlights the scale of data!

“We display a personalized offer and capture how the customer reacts. Then we use this feedback to fuel ranking the offers for the next day. Right now we run about 400 million calculations each night.”

Key Learning 3: Ultimate customer focus

The skills and roles needed in marketing teams is forever changing, but I think one common trait needed whether it’s a data scientist, a developer or marketing manager is a never-ending desire to create amazing customer experiences and an appreciation that it is never done or good enough, but always improving. While data is an empowering asset this passion and desire I would argue is more important and it MUST transcend through the business. The point of real-time marketing outside of the tools and data etc is to build relationships with people, this happens over time and by showing up consistently

A timely whitepaper… 2015 planning is just round the corner, it’s time to make this happen!

  • Understand what real-time marketing should mean for your company. This will mean lots of consumer journey mapping and understanding of technology
  • Consider how your first steps can be linked to data, whether how you collect and store or how it is utilised
  • Finally consider how you would take your company on the journey and highlight the commercial benefits

I hope you find the whitepaper as useful as I did from a strategic and picture painting persepctive, exciting times at the forefront of marketing!