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Are these the three most common real-time marketing mistakes?

23rd Jun 2015
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As consumers flock towards mobile devices to do everything from reading the news to executing complex banking transactions, the demand on marketers to engage with them in real-time and create better experiences has never been greater.

Results from a  SDL study of more than 1,800 millennials (aged 18-36) reveals that today’s consumers (and soon to be buyers of your products and services for their companies!) no longer care about where they are or what device they are on when interacting with a brand. Consumers expect brands to travel with them by responding to and anticipating their needs.

This not only opens up new and exciting methods for brands to interact in real-time and develop relationships with consumers, but the demand for consistent and seamless interaction also introduces new marketing challenges. These consumers are creating and making available so much data that they expect brands to deliver compelling, relevant and highly personalised experiences. 

The business case is there, as almost 70% of consumers across the globe are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Here are the three, basic real-time marketing mistakes that many brands are making and how to solve them:

1. No ‘real’ strategy for real-time marketing

There’s no doubt that the proliferation of mobile devices has excited the marketing industry like few innovations before. The imagination of executives is running wild with ideas to engage and develop relationships with customers wherever they might be. However, too many firms are only implementing ideas and not a cohesive strategy. 

This is quite common in the airline industry where loyal fliers will subscribe to status updates and download mobile apps providing lots of valuable data that power valuable real-time use cases. However, the email and web experiences for these same customers are impersonal and often leverage old data despite having real-time user data. In a study conducted by the CMO Council, 56% of companies consider themselves to be customer-centric, but when the customers of these companies are asked about their experiences, only 12% agree. This suggests that companies believe they’re delivering value, but they’re not putting themselves in the shoes of the consumer and understanding just how disjointed all of their interactions actually appear to their customers. 

2. Disconnected data sources

Whenever a new channel is developed, marketers immediately start running the race to see how quickly they can get their brand on the channel regardless of process, which usually means a specialised tool. As we know that new channels are always being created, the explosion of unique tools, data sources, and the big data associated quickly becomes unmanageable. The problem is complicated and lots of companies simply leave it be, and that’s a huge issue for consumers! 

90% of consumers say that they will use multiple devices when making purchases. But if your business has numerous data silos and disconnected profiles for each data source, a consumer is going to have to start all over again whenever they move from one channel to the next. Businesses around the world lose over $80 billion dollars a year simply due to poor experiences as almost 89% of consumers will begin doing business with a competitor following a poor experience. 

The most effective real-time marketing is when a consumer knows that no matter when and where they interact with your brand, you’re using the data they’ve voluntarily provided. If you’re just starting on a single customer view (SCV) journey, make your first goal to match-up customer records from each source so you know the size of your customer base and can pull the right information from the correct data source when needed.

3. Internal process delays

From a real-time marketing perspective, executives will pay a lot of attention to the people and the technology, but often fail to think about process. Because real-time happens so fast, a lot of the processes that exist for traditional marketing simply don’t translate. The shelf life for some real-time use cases is measured in seconds and missing that window will render the insight or opportunity worthless. In fact, it’s very difficult to have a process when things need to happen in real-time! 

The answer is to look at technology as a way to help scale and execute real-time marketing strategies in lieu of a process. Marketers should consider tools that have the critical campaign management capabilities with a single customer view, reporting, and real-time execution channels all deeply integrated as one real-time marketing solution. With one solution, marketers can design journeys and optimise moments of engagement in real-time at scale and worry-free.

Leveraging the data available from an investment in customer insights enables the prediction of what channels and information will drive loyalty, revenue and retention. Even through the myriad of platforms consumers use to interact with a business, 60% of millennials surveyed by SDL expect a consistent experience from brands whether they interact online, in store or via phone. These statistics indicate how critical it is for marketers to deliver the best customer experience possible.

Today’s customer journey is completely driven by consumer behaviour and preferences making real-time marketing one of the most important digital and ecommerce requirements of any business. Fortunately, it’s much easier than many marketers think to implement a real-time strategy if you follow the right steps and stay disciplined. Avoid these three common mistakes and you’ll put your company out ahead of the competition!

Paige O’Neill is CMO of SDL.

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