How Fast Is Too Fast? Exploring the Limits of Real-Time Marketing

How Fast Is Too Fast? Exploring the Limits of Real-Time Marketing

The goal of every marketing campaign is to attract attention to a new product or service. Traditionally, marketers would spend a lengthy time perfecting a campaign for maximum impact.

But we live in a fast-paced world, where now every second counts. And it’s becoming harder to stand out from the crowd and engage with people’s attention span.

Real-time marketing has become a hot new trend to replace slower traditional strategies. It is quick and responsive and aims to engage with your customer base at a precise moment in time. 

But is it all it’s cracked up to be? To determine whether real-time marketing is right for you, let’s examine this strategy to see whether it can work for your next campaign.

What is real-time marketing? And how can it be used?

Real-time marketing involves using relevant data to deliver personalized messages to customers promptly. Unlike traditional marketing, it is not static. Instead, it constantly gathers insights about your customers’ needs and behaviors.

The benefit of this marketing is that you can pivot your messaging at any stage to meet customer needs. This, in turn, can increase their likelihood of buying from you.

Some examples of this in action include:

  • Netflix: The streaming platform uses real-time data to create customized homepages for viewers. This ensures they receive highly tailored recommendations that suit their interests.
  • Sephora: The cosmetic retailer uses real-time data to improve online and in-purchase shopping. These include a mobile app, personalized emails, and tracking engagement with sales representatives.
  • Burger King: In 2018, the fast-food chain used geolocation data to steer customers away from competitors. A push notification was sent to people within 600 feet of a McDonald’s, offering them a discount for Burger King.

Research from McKinsey found that companies that use personalization generate 40% more revenue than those that do not. There is also increased brand loyalty and the likelihood of repurchasing.

Although real-time marketing may seem versatile and adaptable, it does have limitations. This means it may not be suitable for every campaign, brand, or time of year. 

The limits of real-time marketing

Customer data, including personal information (age, gender, location), behaviors, and attitudes, is essential for effective real-time marketing.

However, using customer data brings a cohort of rules and restrictions. And it is here that fast marketing can hit a bump in the road.

Before choosing this strategy, consider the following:

  1. Invest in data collection

Relevant customer data doesn’t just appear. It must be collected, stored, and utilized effectively to provide real-time value. To do this, you will need a customer data platform (CDP).

This centralized database gathers information from other tools and customer touchpoints. Combining them can help create profiles that help understand your customers.

Of course, finding the best CDP will take time, research, and money to implement. And the type of software you choose will be integral to your results.

Some essential features of a great CDP include:

  • Segmentation: Creating dynamic profiles can help separate and target specific niches.
  • Personalization: Create a unique consumer experience and tailor messaging to their interests. This can include product recommendations and altering your tone.
  • Multi-channeling: Ingest data from various sources to use in marketing. These include email, messengers like WhatsApp, website activity, and social media.
  • Scalability: As your consumer base grows, your CDP should too. Choose software that allows you to handle increased data processing when necessary.
  1. Balance customer concerns

Customer data has become an essential part of everyday business. It allows brands to learn better ways of reaching new and existing customers. However, brands cannot ignore the growing privacy concerns of everyday people.

Survey data from Pew in 2023 found that 67% of customers admitted having “little to no understanding” of how companies use personal data. Furthermore, 70% had little to no trust in companies using artificial intelligence responsibly.

Trust issues arise when customers do not know how or why their data is collected. To counter this, marketers must tell customers how and why their information is used. This can help empower customers and alleviate any concerns. It includes creating clear and easy-to-read privacy policies and opt-out clauses. 

  1. Ensure you’re complying with privacy laws

Laws often have strict conditions on collecting, storing, and deleting customer information. Because real-time marketing is incredibly fast-paced, it’s important to remember your obligations.

Knowing what is expected of you can be difficult as privacy laws vary between countries. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a comprehensive law that many take as the standard to follow.

 Some of the major caveats included in this legislation include:

  • Consent: Ensure you get consent from customers to process their information. Provide opt-out clauses at every stage.
  • Security: Protect sensitive information against data breaches. This can be done by encrypting information, anonymization of private data, and more.
  • Procedures: Marketers should have records and documentation outlining how data is processed. This should also include the reasons behind the collection, how long it is kept, and how it is stored.
  • Customer rights: Customers have the right to access, rectify, or erase data collected.

Should real-time marketing be used? 

Real-time marketing can be a fantastic way to stay relevant to your customers. Using a variety of information, you can respond to their needs in an instant. But it’s important not to get too caught up in this fast-paced strategy.

As this article has shown, real-time marketing involves several considerations. The most important is, of course, adhering to data privacy laws and customer concerns.

Perhaps the best marketing is a blended approach. Use traditional marketing to build long-term brand recognition and your reputation. Then, use real-time marketing to segment your customers further and elevate their user experience.

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