How can marketers tackle the challenges of real-time marketing? They need to be organized, quick and prepared for multiple outcomes, according to Brock Murray, COO of seoplus+, a digital marketing agency. “If a client doesn’t like an idea, don’t be hurt by it — have another one ready,” Murray said. “In other words, don’t just be on time, be a step ahead. Also, if there’s a communication problem between you and the client, comply with whichever method of communication the client prefers.”
We caught up with Murray and others who shared ways marketers can address the challenges associated with real-time marketing, which Gartner calls one of the transformational strategies of the martech ecosystem of the next decade.
Take Customer from ‘Ideation to Actualization’
Responsiveness from customers and constant overall communication is the key to being a successful real-time marketer, according to Murray. This ensures you and customers are on the same page throughout various stages — from ideation to actualization, he said.
“Whatever method of communication works best for the client that will allow for faster approval, which will transition to the company’s success, should be the only thing that matters,” Murray added. “… Over time, your goal should be to build trust with your customers, so you have some leeway and can react quickly without being micro-managed through the process. If you strongly believe you’re not putting the customer at risk of anything and that your decision will, in fact, benefit them, your customer should have your trust to move forward. However, that trust doesn’t come easy but can be earned by continuously going the extra mile for them and showing that you care.”
Deploy Rules-Based Approach for CX
To counter challenges with real-time marketing, marketers should employ a contextual, rules-based approach when using data to inform their CX strategies, according to Will Crocker, senior director of customer experience at Braze. “This includes,” he said, “triggering engagement campaigns that should feel timely and interactive for customers and be based upon data including customer preferences, behaviors and decisions, as well as product/brand context.”
For example, before sending a push notification about a flash sale to a customer who abandoned their shopping cart, a retailer’s system should verify that specific product’s availability and tailor the message accordingly.
Machine Learning Allows for Refined Approach
Until a few years ago, tracking customers’ digital behavior was done with the help of their past data, such as their browsing history, psychographic and demographic data and prior purchases, according to Jaykishan Panchal, SEO and content marketing manager at E2M Solutions. However, progress in cloud infrastructure, machine learning and data processing has empowered brands to determine consumer patterns in real-time.
“Machine learning technology, for instance, allows a more refined approach to purchase recommendations because you no longer need a customer’s entire history to engage with them,” Panchal said. “AI is capable of absorbing even the most elusive indicators from a user, use its powerful algorithms, and create a digital user experience in accordance with their current physical reality.”
Don’t Forget About Brand Training
Panchal advises to provide adequate training to your front-line staff so they’re aware of everything there is to know about pertinent content topics, your brand’s central message and your company’s best practices for responding to problems. “This information will help them create and publish content in a short span of time without going wrong,” Panchal said.
Activate Brand Ambassadors
To deal with problems like staying up-to-date on the latest news and events and a lack of staff resources, leverage brand ambassadors, whether they be employees, happy customers or influencers, according to Jonathan Chan, head of marketing at Insane Growth. “Unless you’re a multimillion-dollar brand that can afford to hire staff dedicated solely to constantly monitoring social media and the news, activating your brand ambassadors is a great way for brands to keep up-to-date and stay in the conversation.”
Setting this up isn’t easy, but it’s best to view it as an affiliate program of sorts, Chan added. Select people are invited to be a part of the brand ambassador program. They’re given incentives to speak on behalf of the brand, and that can include doing things like responding to comments, offering coupon codes at their own discretion, or just starting conversations about the brand’s latest initiative.
Creating the Right Marketing Sequences
Being too reactive can be solved by brands taking the time to create the right marketing sequences to ensure a consistent and seamless customer experience. “At its most basic level there’s your basic email marketing automation, where certain email sequences are triggered by specific actions,” Chan said. “To adopt a more multi-channel approach, this requires taking a deep dive into analytics and rigorously monitoring where customers are coming from and what actions they take next. Taking advantage of interactive content like chatbots is one of the best ways to do this in my opinion.”
Feature Image Credit: Northwest Retail