Are We Getting “Real-Time” Marketing Right?

Sam Nolan
Chief Client Officer, RAPP UK

Real-time marketing has to be at the consumer’s pace, not the brand’s
People have been talking about real-time marketing for what seems like forever. But now that smarter technology has finally arrived to bring real-time marketing to life, are we getting it right? For marketers, real-time is an exciting step forward, as insights are now processed cheaply and quickly in the cloud, meaning we can react quickly to consumer behavior. But what does that mean for consumers?

The reality: just because we can deliver marketing messages in an instant doesn’t mean that we always should.

Consumers are engaging with brands in real time, all the time, without even knowing it. They “like” a post or share it with their friends; they click on an offer; open an email; interact with a retargeted ad — which is served based on what they’ve recently browsed or bought. To them, it’s just marketing — real-time is just not a phrase they use.

As marketers, we’re always looking to shorten the sales cycle. But sometimes the right experience for the consumer is no action from the brand. With the right technology platform, anyone can do real time, but it has to be served in the consumer’s real time.
It’s the same principle for newsrooming, especially as it’s conducted in the social channels where consumers play: there has to be a value exchange. Because consumers still interact with it in the same way; if it’s a relevant offer, they might redeem it; or if it’s funny, cute or surprising, they might comment on or share it — consumers are all constantly turning themselves into media channels on behalf of brands.

There are a growing number of ways to use real-time, but while we’re all thinking about which technology platform to build our CRM program on, or how risqué our editorial policy should be on social media, the crucial thing to remember is that the consumer must remain front and center to your strategy. What matters to them is what they get out of it.

Otherwise, brands risk contacting consumers too frequently or at the wrong time and ultimately turning them off, for good.

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