In an increasingly hyper-connected world, real-time marketing has an air of inevitability about it. Consumers in increasing numbers expect personalized marketing messages, and digital marketers rush to comply.
This makes sense, considering that everyone wants marketing to be targeted, tailored, and specific for one's own needs. After all, the point is not to sell ice to Eskimos, but to sell ice to people who actually need ice.
Real-time marketing strikes while the iron is hot. It allows you to connect with customers at exactly the time they're most likely to respond and engage.
Social Media Lays the Foundation for Real-Time Marketing
Digital Marketing Magazine's "The Increasing Importance of Real-Time Marketing" defines real-time marketing in this way:
"Real-time marketing is the ability for brands to engage with their customers based on real-time information, such as their behavior and actions on a website, changes to their data, or even external news and breaking events."
Social media, with its immediacy, is the perfect delivery platform for real-time marketing.
Though your brand still needs fixed marketing campaigns, real-time marketing via social media channels adds a new dimension to your digital strategies and requires agility, flexibility, and attention to data analytics and trending customer behaviors.
Types of Real-Time Marketing
You likely already engage in one of the easiest forms of real-time marketing to adopt: triggered email.
Triggered emails are sent when a customer performs a pre-defined action, like filling out an online form or making a product inquiry.
Because the email is sent immediately, based on the action of the customer, it is an excellent example of real-time marketing.
Some other types of real-time marketing are:
- Sending customers notifications of location-based deals
- Live customer service responses via social media or chat
- Coverage of breaking social media events
- Live event promotion for brand-specific events
Advantages of Real-Time Marketing
What are the advantages of using real-time marketing for your brand?
Consider the example of location-based marketing. Jane Doe has downloaded your mobile app at some point in the past. Now, Jane is traveling and is nearing the location of one of your stores, though she may not even be thinking about shopping today.
However, as she nears your store's location, she receives a notification of several deals that are available in-store, locally, today only. Jane takes a moment to skim the notification, sees the great deals, and quickly squeezes in a short shopping trip to your nearest store.
Compare that to a print ad she may have seen last week for the same deal in your store. She probably didn't even remember.
Which experience is most likely to persuade Jane to walk through your doors? Real-time marketing strikes while the iron is hot.
Social media is the perfect medium for real-time marketing.
However, real-time marketing is about much more than just location-based push notifications. MarketingProf's "How Real-Time Marketing Changes the Game" notes:
"Brands today have a huge opportunity to use real-time marketing to enhance personalization and reach, especially in addressing the continually changing customer expectations. Companies should seize the day by making timely offers to increase loyalty (even to upsell) and to retain customers."
Managing Real-Time Marketing Challenges
As part of your overall digital marketing strategy, real-time campaigns can supercharge your marketing efforts by helping you to build and nurture lasting relationships with your customers.
Real-time marketing, at its best, is highly personalized, targeted, and tailored to your customer's need and interest at just the right moment.
Real-time marketing, then, requires precision and focus. It takes time and the ability to integrate your brand message into your content at multiple customer touchpoints at multiple times. To be most effective, it must also integrate seamlessly with your standing marketing campaigns, so that your brand message remains consistent and clear.
Working with a digital marketing agency with experience in real-time marketing is a great way to leverage this form of marketing effectively. Agencies spend all day, every day, working on client campaigns, in client social media accounts, and elsewhere, meaning they can often spot opportunities for real-time marketing that you may be missing.
For some advice about how to find an inbound agency that can help you with all your digital marketing needs, including real-time marketing, download our ebook: The Ultimate Guide to Hiring an Inbound Marketing Agency today.