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Email Leads Real-Time Marketing Channels

Cross-channel real-time marketing is the goal

July 26, 2013

Marketers are beginning to focus on getting out real-time messages that respond to what consumers are doing “now.” According to an April 2013 survey from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), on behalf of Neolane, a real-time marketing technology provider, 77% of marketers in North America said real-time personalization was a high priority.

While there is still some question as to what marketers mean when they talk about “real-time marketing,” the survey found that definitions are crystallizing around one primary idea of “dynamic personalized content across channels.” Subscribed to by 43% of marketers, this response had a 30-percentage-point lead ahead of the next most popular definition.

Definition of Real-Time Marketing According to Marketers in North America, April 2013 (% of respondents)

For now, though, even if marketers are beginning to understand real-time marketing, it is still much easier to harness certain channels over others.

Email was the No. 1 channel where marketers sent out real-time personalized messages, used by 55% of respondents. The web channel was the next most popular for getting out real-time messages.

In the future, however, email will move—somewhat—to the back burner, as marketers focus on other real-time messaging channels. Cross-channel real-time messages, while sent out by only 29% of marketers at the time of survey, saw the most interest for future implementation, at 49%. Mobile devices will also become more important to real-time marketers, with 42% planning to invest going forward.

Current and Future Plans for Real-Time Personalization by the Companies of Marketers in North America, by Channel, April 2013 (% of respondents)

But investment in the technology that will make real-time marketing more automated and responsive is still somewhat limited, indicating that marketers may struggle to execute their real-time plans. More than four out of 10 marketers had deployed or were planning to deploy real-time marketing technology, while another 24% said they were evaluating the opportunity. Still, a solid one-third had no plans for real-time technology whatsoever.

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