Blog What Does Real-Time Marketing Really Mean?

We’ve all seen the tweet from Oreo for the 2013 Super Bowl. Within minutes of the stadium being plunged into darkness due to a power cut, Oreo had capitalised by tweeting a message and accompanying image that was retweeted over 10,000 times in less than an hour. Their quick actions boosted their marketing cred, gaining them coverage in traditional and online media outlets.


There have been many other real-time social media success stories - but outside of social media, real-time marketing is still largely undefined. What does it actually mean for marketers today and how can it help?


What does real-time marketing mean?

Real-time marketing (RTM) is the ability to engage with your customers or fans instantly based on real-time information - like their actions and behavior, changes to your own data or external news or events.

Real-time marketing is instant

According to Econsultancy’s Real-Time Marketing Survey Report, there’s a narrow window for capitalising on real-time behaviour. 80% of businesses think real-time marketing happens within two minutes or less.

Real-time marketing is (mostly) automated

In many cases, humans are just too slow to react quickly at scale. Marketers need to use marketing tools that help them react with minimal delay.

Real-time marketing is targeted

It’s no longer enough to treat your customers as one homogenous mass with the same interests or motivations. Real-time marketing – in fact, your marketing in general - needs to be relevant and timely to every individual customer. 


Why is real-time marketing so important right now?

Real-time marketing could be the answer to one of today’s biggest problems – how do businesses reach and engage the always connected consumer?  Not only does marketing need to cut through the noise, it needs to connect with the right person at the right time, in the right place, with the right message.

Real-time marketing enables marketers to adapt their messages to a specific context, and the benefits go way beyond just improving brand perception. In fact, there are very real, measurable and positive impacts on revenue and other key metrics.

Econsultancy found that 84% of businesses see a better customer experience as a key benefit of real-time marketing. In turn, better customer experiences lead to increased sales (a key benefit of RTM for 72% of businesses) and loyalty (a key benefit of RTM for 47% of businesses).

Real-time marketing also presents a wider opportunity to rethink customer interactions, to be more personal and relevant, and to engage customers with highly targeted, relevant and timely messages that convert.


How can marketers use real-time marketing successfully?

Econsultancy’s survey found that whilst the majority (71%) of companies employ some element of real-time marketing in their digital and social marketing, 29% of marketers are yet to investigate how it can work for them.

To be successful, marketers need to think about five aspects: the trigger, the audience, the method and the outcome:

  • Triggers – what data, information or events present opportunities for real-time messages?

    • Examples: social media trends; weather forecasts; product stock updates
  • Audience – what customer groups, fans or followers can be engaged with certain messages?
    • Examples: customers who are waiting for a product to come back into stock; customers in specific locations or regions; customers who are searching for a specific keyword
  • Method – what’s the best way to communicate the message?
    • Examples: social media, email, SMS, web, PPC
  • Outcome – what do you want the message to do?
    • Examples: build brand awareness, drive revenue, generate engagement


Your experiences of real-time marketing

Have you used real-time marketing to drive sales or generate buzz? Or maybe you’ve been the recipient of some timely, personalized marketing that caught your interest? Let us know in the comments.

Topic Digital Marketing
Tags real time marketing