The use of real time data in marketing is growing in prominence in companies around the world. The move towards a more agile and reactive approach to marketing data has been made possible thanks to rapid developments in technologies like in-memory computing and platforms like Apache Spark, which has created a significant increase in collection and analysis speeds.
However, the new ability to collect and analyze data in real-time is only as useful as the velocity and volume of data being created, and the development of the IoT is going to have a huge impact on this. Cisco have predicted that by 2020 there will be 50 billion devices connected to the IoT, each creating data that could be analyzed by companies. To put this growth in perspective, the average household will create 10,176GB of data per year, compared to 2,080 today.
With this rise of instantly available data, it is possible to personalize marketing based on anything from physiological changes that indicate a change in mood or physical condition, to where somebody or something is located. The ability to automate and personalize will be a small part though, with huge swathes of data also allowing for instant changes in segmentation and targeting based on changes in circumstances. For instance, the needs of an expectant mother will be different to somebody who has a newborn child, but with current segmentation this change would take several months to register, making marketing messages significantly less effective.
It is not just something that we are going to be seeing in the future though, as to some extent we are seeing it already with things like social media and 'newsjacking'. It is essential that companies stay on top of their social media presence and real-time analytics gives companies the best chance of doing this, with the ability to scour entire networks for mentions of your company, your competitors or your products giving you an edge. If somebody has had a negative experience with your company you want to know about it instantly and get them back onside as soon as possible. This gives companies the opportunity to do this in real-time, decreasing that all important time between the initial complaint and your response. Many companies and individuals have seen the negative impact of this and according to Olga ter Voert from TNS NIPO, 70% of complainants on social media hope to receive a response, while just 38% receive one. Having the ability to identify and respond to these complaints is key to maintaining relationships and building brand awareness.
'Newsjacking' is also becoming increasingly popular and can be enhanced and accelerated through the use of real-time data. The idea behind the practice is to create marketing opportunities around what's happening in the news at that time. One of the most famous examples of this is the Oreo 'You can still dunk in the dark' campaign in response to the 34 minute power outage during the Super Bowl in 2013. It is something that can be done with increasing effectiveness today and companies could even create entire campaigns for a single customer segment based on a news event that interests them more than other segments. It also allows campaigns to be created based on divisive real-time events and custom campaigns to be created for them depending on results, like a sports match or election result, with those supporting winners receiving one campaign and losers receiving another.
Real-time data is currently having a huge impact on marketing and this is only going to continue in the future. At present we are very much at the beginning of the journey, but at this formative stage we need to make sure we are setting solid foundations on which to build this practice.