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How Are Companies Using Real-Time Marketing?

Automation most common for online display

Creating real-time responses to customer actions is still a relatively new practice. It requires an understanding of how real-time marketing works, investment in the proper tools and technology, and ideally, integration of the marketing program across all channels.

IBM surveyed more than 500 companies worldwide and called out especially the performance of leaders—a group IBM defined as those in the top 20% in terms of cross-channel integration and use of technology for customer outreach. Among this subset, IBM found that about two in five leaders were already putting out real-time offers this year to customers based on customer context, a relatively sophisticated process. But among the rest of those surveyed, sending out real-time offers based on context was a much less common practice—only 15% had done so in 2013.

Analytics overall are a big part of where the real-time marketing process begins, as companies seek to understand their customers and drive marketing activities based on the information they've collected. Segmentation was the most common statistical and predictive technique used to understand and drive customer activity, at 65% of leaders and 49% of the other respondents.

The key to real-time marketing is to then use data and analysis to deliver real-time messaging through automated technology, which can rapidly respond to customer actions by pushing out ads, marketing collateral and other content to the appropriate channels. Leaders and nonleaders most often used automation for online display formats.

It was also reasonably common for both groups to use automation on social media, with 70% of leaders doing so and 58% of nonleaders.

For online video, the disparity grew substantially. More than two-thirds of leaders had automated processes for this channel vs. only 44% of nonleaders. Video and mobile appear to be the next real-time marketing frontiers for many companies.


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