With instant access to information across digital channels, consumers have more choice than ever. They are constantly interacting with brands, and if marketers can’t keep up, they are missing opportunities. Marketers are increasingly investing in real-time solutions to engage with multi-channel consumers in the moment. According to research by Wayin, 98% of marketers plan to increase their real-time marketing budgets in the next year and 59% report a positive return on their real-time marketing investments.
Perceived Benefits of Real-Time Marketing
According to research by Econsultancy, marketers and agencies perceive the top three benefits of real time marketing to be better customer experiences, improved conversion rates, and improved customer retention.
(Source – Econsultancy)
Challenges of Real-Time Marketing According to North American Marketing Executives
Marketers understand the need to invest in real-time marketing solutions, but also acknowledge the challenges it involves. The top three reported are:
- Personalizing messages based on consumer behavior
- Marketing effectiveness of response rates
- Improving customer retention
(Source - Adobe July, 2014 The Financial Brand)
The Shift from Real Time to RIGHT Time Marketing
Recently, real-time marketing has gotten quite a bit of attention, but the concept of 'marketing in the moment' is evolving into the idea of marketing at the RIGHT moment. Not every situation calls for an instant marketing message or offer. Remember, we are in the age where consumers are in control. They demand communications at a time when it is most suitable to their needs, through the channels they prefer.
To meet this demand for 'right time, right channel messaging,' marketers must continually collect data such as: where consumers have been, what they are doing, who they are, and which channels they use. By collecting and analyzing 1st party data, behavioral data, 3rd party demographics, firmographics, and specialty data, marketers can create highly informed offers, delivered through the most relevant channels and at the time when consumers are most likely to convert. Often a real-time response is indeed the best response, but by utilizing data insights and analytics to better inform these decisions, the best marketing outcome can be achieved. In essence, this is 'Right Time Marketing.'
DataMentors defines Right Time Marketing through the idea of the 4 R’s: The Right Person, The Right Channel, The Right Moment, and the Right Answer.
Target the Right Person
To maximize ROI, marketers must pinpoint and target consumers who are most apt to convert. The right message sent through the right channel to an undefined audience will only waste acquisition dollars. Many brands continue to rely solely on first-party data and superficially modeled prospect lists when deploying acquisition campaigns. Right Time Marketing takes this a step further to combine first-party data with rich third-party enhancement, behavioral data, and in-market purchase signals for finely tuned audience identification.
Marketers are realizing that data is the fuel of competitive advantage. In addition to internal data sets, marketers are placing more value on third party data sources to better understand their customers and prospects. According to a research study by Econsultancy, the top data sources according to the research include:
- Transaction history – 87%
- Customer information from a CRM – 80%
- Behavioral data from websites and campaigns – 74%
- Data about customers from trusted partners – 60%
- Behavioral data from third party sources – 52%
- Customer data from third party sources – 51%
- Demographic customer data from third party sources – 49%
Target at the Right Moment and through the Right Channel
The number one goal for marketers is to reach the right consumers through the right channels and at the moments they are most likely to be influenced. Consumers today shop across an array of digital channels, often moving from device to device. Even when they arrive at the store to make a purchase, many shoppers use their smartphone to price check and comparison check across other sites. This represents a huge window of opportunity for marketers to sway the decision up until the very moment of purchase.
(Source: Google/Ipsos, "Consumers in the Micro-Moment“ Study 2015)
(Source: Google/Ipsos, “Omni-Channel Retailing” Study 2014)
With advancements in technology and analytics and the influx of new sources of digital and mobile data, marketing data solution providers have developed innovative processes to match a consumer’s offline and online identities. This linkage enables marketers to track both offline and online consumer behaviors indicating purchase intent as well as deploy targeted messages for multi-channel engagement.
Example: Identify and Target In-Market Auto Shoppers across Channels
In this example, a car dealer can track both mobile and social car shopping activity. These insights can be linked back to a Household’s mobile device or social accounts. These data insights alone would bring a huge competitive advantage to dealers, but when enriched with third party specialty auto data, such as VINS, demographics, and contact data, the best offer can be presented, through the right channel, and at the time when consumers are actively in market.
The Right Answer
Data and the way it is utilized is clearly the backbone to driving right time engagement and acquisition. VB Insight surveyed over 3,000 marketers and looked at tools used on over 3 million websites and found that when (the right) data informs marketing strategies, the average return on investment (ROI) is an impressive 224%. Even small improvements have the potential to drive higher ROI. According to the research, if your business has a 4-phase customer acquisition funnel, and you improve each phase of the customer acquisition funnel by as little as 5%, the overall improvement is 22% at the bottom of the funnel.
These findings are further backed by a report released by Forbes Insights and Turn, 'Data Driven and Digitally Savvy: The Rise of the New Marketing Organization.' According to the report, organizations that are 'leaders' in data-driven marketing are three times more likely than 'laggards' to say they have achieved competitive advantage in customer engagement/loyalty (74% vs. 24%) and almost three times more likely to have increased revenues (55% vs. 20%).
By integrating the right data across multiple channels to understand a consumer’s behaviors in the moment, companies can find smarter ways to meet increasing customer expectations.