Marketing organizations are under extreme pressure to bolster marketing’s contribution and deliver a better return on investment. The concept of real-time marketing brings opportunities for an enhanced customer experience through dynamic, personalized content, served at the right place and the right time, regardless of channel. Moving to real-time marketing cannot happen in one big bang approach; it involves change management and training, data, and systems in place to make it a reality.
In order to be successful, marketers should look for pragmatic steps to success with real-time marketing. In a recent webinar with Forrester Research, we discussed four specific approaches to real-time marketing that provide a pathway to success: campaign management, dynamic outbound, dynamic inbound, and cross-channel interactions. I think of it as stretching, walking, jogging, and running. I also like to refer to it as George, Paul, Ringo, and John from the Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover, whichever you prefer.
Campaign management really forms the building blocks of customer engagement. You can leverage customer data for segmentation, design customer journey processes, execute high volumes of messages in multiple channels, measure results and optimize marketing initiatives through data analysis and testing. Another key aspect to campaign management is event-triggered messaging, which was discussed in a recent blog post and is a great way to get started with real-time marketing.
The Dynamic Outbound Approach
Now that you’ve stretched and warmed up with campaign management, one common approach is to leverage real-time marketing for 1-1 personalization in outbound channels like email. Going beyond the basic concepts of personalized name fields or links, this dynamic outbound approach involves the content, offers, images, and messaging of the email. The foundational concept of real-time marketing takes context from a customer or prospect and automatically delivers personalized content or offers to them.
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To make this happen, marketers can place personalization blocks (aka spaces) into an email as placeholders for the dynamic content. The content for the blocks are created in the system, stored in a catalogue, and then dynamically called at the appropriate time for each contact using business rules. This content is assembled at the point of email delivery, and in some futuristic cases, can even be changed after it hits the email inbox of a contact, depending on their actions.
Once the contact clicks on an offer or further engages with the brand, marketers can collect additional customer insights, which will drive changes in the content or offer behavior and provide opportunities for continuous improvement.
1-1 Personalized Content Can Be Automatically Inserted Into Emails
The benefits of the dynamic outbound approach to real-time marketing are quite significant. The process of creating segments and targets for an outbound campaign can quickly become complex and unmanageable.
By leveraging business rules for content eligibility and priority, marketers are able to reduce a lot of time and resources spent in creating the right targeting strategy. By creating more targeted and personalized offers and content in emails, marketers are able to generate more revenue, develop cross-sell, up-sell, and retention strategies, and better enhance the customer experience for each consumer that engages with the brand.