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How Real-Time Data Can Change Your Marketing Strategy

December 12, 2017

Static and dynamic data are different. Static data refers to data collected at one specific point. You might think of it as a snapshot of a moment, frozen into a piece of information. For example, sales of a particular product or service might be down in the early hours of a day, but then skyrocket later in the evening. If you looked only at the static data for the morning period, you’d assume sales were suffering. You’d miss out on the bigger picture by focusing on one small, static piece of data.

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That bigger picture emerges only through looking at real-time data. With a modern data management platform, or DMP, you are constantly collecting, ingesting and analyzing data coming in from a variety of sources. Because of its dynamic nature, you can use real-time data in different ways than static data. For instance, an auto sales company could target shoppers currently in the market for a new vehicle with fresh, relevant data. If that same data were outdated, you can imagine why it wouldn’t be useful. Marketers need to be able to target customers at a particular moment.

In today’s digital world, everything happens at a fast pace. These small, static pieces of data aren’t always enough to keep up with the world around us. Thanks to analytical tools, it’s possible to update dynamic data in real time when there are changes or shifts in trends. The result is more efficient, more accurate information that can be used to make informed decisions.

Real-time data can target the appropriate demographics by honing in on their needs and preferences. It can also monitor performance and improve campaigns. For instance, if a campaign aimed at younger customers is faring poorly, the company can make adjustments to change the performance.

Real-time data can target the appropriate demographics by honing in on their needs and preferences. Click To Tweet

Real-time data should be the cornerstone of any digital marketing strategy. Let’s explore ways a company can leverage data, outside of what you might expect. But first, let’s start with a definition.

What Is Real-Time Data?

Real-time data refers to anything that creates useful insights a marketer can immediately process and deploy, based on data collected as they occur in the real world. If a customer purchases a product or abandons their shopping cart via an online storefront, a company rep will know immediately, in real time. You might adjust a promotional campaign, for instance, to better attract the type of audience you want.

Using real-time data leads to a quick, efficient and trackable marketing process, affording additional gains and performance improvements. Because it’s so effective, many marketers and brands choose to rely on real-time information to adjust their marketing strategies quickly and efficiently

How Tools Facilitate Deployment of Real-Time Data

The average DMP is an excellent example of how to collect data. Only some DMPs, like Lotame’s DMP, collect data in real-time. On the other hand, the average DMP sees a lag in the time an action is seen on a website and when it is collected and processed in the DMP for action by the marketer.

One of the biggest benefits of real-time data is that it is lucrative. With traditional static data, it takes so long to parse, process and share insights with decision-makers that the information may already be outdated by the time you finish compiling the report. Feed real-time data through automated systems and tools, pass it on to the appropriate parties and promptly leverage it, producing information that is useful and current.

Ways Marketers Can Use Real-Time Data

Now that you better understand the benefits of real-time data, let’s consider some ways in which it can be deployed by envisioning a specific scenario.

Say a company is releasing a new, unique product to its existing customer base. We’ll call the company Lewis & Clark Electronics, or L&C for short. L&C plans to launch a new marketing campaign alongside this new product release. The goal is to speak to existing and loyal customers, while also drawing in new audiences.

L&C wants its new customers to visit its website. What can it do to make a good impression so these customers stick around? The answer is to personalize their experience through the use of real-time, collected data. Who are the visitors? What do they like? What are they most likely to respond or engage with? L&C can keep an eye on a new customer’s activities to deliver targeted recommendations, resource and support suggestions, or even take action, like asking a new customer to subscribe to an email list.

1. Know Who Your Customers Are

Real-time data allows you to build an accurate representation and depiction of your audience, including static data, such as addresses, preferences, habits and more. Real-time data delves into the core of who the audience is. Remember, customers have nuances. They may dislike a certain product within a service category, for instance, while responding to something different within that category that speaks to another need.

Let’s say L&C manufactures popular wearable devices, such as smartwatches, fitness trackers and UV sensors. It knows what customers are buying, thanks to a variety of performance data. They also keep a close eye on the competition. In fact, a competitor recently launched a brand-new wearable to critical acclaim. But in our scenario, to its surprise, L&C finds the market unwelcoming for its product. Why?

How would they be able to discern the setbacks and problems their product is seeing? Without the kind of insights a DMP can provide, they won’t.

2. Finding the Right Data to Get Your Answers

The trick is to discover why the competition’s wearable devices perform better by knowing your customers. Even if you cannot acquire the necessary insights, you can go through second- or third-party data sources. Or, you can take a look at the performance and sentiment data related to the products you have released.

For the sake of this scenario, let’s say L&C’s wearable does not provide accurate health and fitness readings. It is a smartwatch, meant to sync remotely with smartphones. Their rival, on the other hand, delivered a fitness and health-oriented device to help transform customers’ lifestyle and habits. That’s exactly what the customers were looking for, and why L&C’s competition fared better in the same market. Real-time data allows our fictional company to realize this by reviewing anonymous audience data.

Furthermore, you can gather in-depth insights about your audience regarding age, gender, race and more. You can also learn their average budget or family income. Include all this information in future campaigns to improve performance and engagement.

3. Analyze the Conversion Funnel From a Different Angle

At the core of your business is your funnel, also called the customer experience or customer journey. There are different steps in this process, from onboarding to supporting loyal customers.

Real-time data allows you to analyze this funnel from different angles. When you create the experience or work on improving it, you look at it from the perspective of your business and brand. You might spend time getting to know your audience and trying to match up with their needs. You don’t often think about what they experience. Unfortunately, this is how many brands and organizations grow out of touch with their customer base.

In comparison, real-time data analysis allows you to follow your customers through the entire conversion process, and react accordingly at each touchpoint. Historical data analysis, on the other hand, shapes future interactions, which is also its flaw. By the time historical data comes in, and your team has a chance to analyze it and put it to use, the customer who was involved is long gone.

Real-time data analysis allows you to follow your customers through the entire conversion process, and react accordingly at each touchpoint. Click To Tweet

Real-time data is about the now, working with influential patterns and trends that are actionable on the spot. More importantly, you can deliver a personalized experience to customers in real time. It’s a different angle that involves getting down into the trenches of the experience with your customers and delivering relevant content at the opportune moment.

Customer feedback and surveys are among the best ways to see things from the perspective of your audience. You can see why a process doesn’t work as well as you thought it would. With real-time data systems, you can process and combine this information to deliver more influential data. You can see why customers don’t like a particular process, and what can be done to improve performance — both from an efficiency and customer-satisfaction standpoint.

4. Compare Platforms to See What Performs Best and Drives the Most Results

Marketing calls for you to divide your time among various platforms, technologies, channels and systems. On social media, for instance, you must focus on one or two major outlets, instead of trying to become an influencer on all of them and spreading yourself thin. When it comes to running advertisements and promotions, you have print ads, media and cable content, online banners and much more.

With so many opportunities, you may wonder which channels are most appropriate for your business. Real-time data makes this not only a viable solution, but a productive one, as well. You can monitor incoming data to see what platforms work best for a particular campaign and adjust accordingly.

Let’s say L&C sees a sudden increase in customer chatter about its new wearable on Twitter, though it had been buying more Facebook ads. L&C can shift its budget to Twitter ads based on this real-time data and pull back on Facebook, seeing an accompanying rise in Twitter traffic once the new ads start to run.

5. Provide a Unique Experience for Every Visitor

Personalization is crucial in today’s market. Why? Modern data systems are making it possible to deliver unique experiences to everyone. Once customers have tasted this level of personalization, they expect it whenever they visit a website. Seventy-five percent of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer or brand that:

  • Recognizes them by name
  • Knows their purchasing history, and recommends similar items

Guess what makes both of the above possible? Yes, it’s real-time data. Analytics tools and customer insight platforms allow you to collect, process and deploy this information.

Back at L&C, let’s say customers wander away from their online shopping carts without completing the transaction. How can L&C remedy this? It can assess past performance, customer insights and opinions to come up with better website options that speak to this audience based on personal information. Remember, one-size-fits-all marketing doesn’t work anymore. Customization based on real-time data is the key to marketing.

6. Promote Different Products and Services Based on Insights

Marketing must tailor content, products and services to the audience you wish to satisfy. Running a promotional campaign aimed at millennials, for instance, will have little to no impact on middle-aged demographics.

Real-time data allows you to promote different products and services based on the information flowing in. You can improve or optimize a service launch. You can cancel a campaign entirely if it fails to connect with the right audience. You can even come up with something unorthodox you might never have thought of otherwise. And all of it is powered by the kind of accessible, real-time data analytics platforms can reel in.

7. Run Tests in Real Time

Traditionally, a lot of customer and performance data flowed in, but you couldn’t do much with it until you had a certain amount. If you wanted to know if a product is doing well, for instance, you’d need to collect the performance data for that product over an extended period of time.

Now, you can run tests and receive results in real time, thanks to modern analytics, which open up so many new avenues for any brand or organization.

To coincide with the launch of a new product, for instance, L&C could rely on incoming real-time insights to tailor its marketing campaign. For the sake of this example, let’s say it wants to resonate with a younger generation or audience. It can analyze customer data for those purchasing said product on the fly, and make slight adjustments to the promotional campaign to target the right folks.

Most of its younger audience is reachable on mobile, but L&C has largely focused on desktop and social audiences. It can shift its promotional focus to mobile by delivering targeted ads through a mobile app or partner service.

Then, by monitoring real-time data, it can see how the strategy shift affects its sales and performance. If the target audience reacts, the move has been a success. L&C can optimize the campaign to bring in more new customers. If it’s a miss, it can revise its strategy and try again. There’s still hope, still opportunity.

8. Identify What Is Working and What Isn’t

Even the marketing experts are not perfect. There will be times when you and your team deploy a campaign or platform that fails. It happens even to the best of us. In addition to knowing your audience, you also have to be able to adapt to their shifting needs and desires.

A customer might sign on with your brand at a younger age, for instance, and move away as they get older and start a family. Through real-time data, you can identify these scenarios and issues, and use them to your advantage to shape your marketing efforts.

Something called predictive analytics allows you to make more accurate predictions for how a customer base or audience will react to a particular move.

L&C could assess what products sell well, which are not selling and why. They can then use this data to put greater marketing muscle behind poor-performing products, using techniques that were successful for its other wearables.

9. React and Respond to Issues Faster

Real-time data allows you to get a better understanding of what’s happening around you and within your audience, but it also comes in soon enough that you can make split-second decisions. If a product looks like it’s going to waste time, resources and money for little return, you can cancel it sooner than you would otherwise. Why? Because you can assess through real-time data the true performance of the product, why it’s not working and what went wrong.

Smart companies use this type of real-time data to respond to customer-service issues faster. Before a customer becomes irate and vents about a poor experience via social media, affecting your brand and product reputation, you can reach out to help solve the problem. For example, L&C might find one product is the focus of a YouTube rant that went viral. It can take steps to note the issues the customer was upset about, and reach out to address them.

Or, imagine the common scenario where a customer abandons their cart without completing the transaction. You could send that customer an email offering a coupon or exclusive discount, which might be enough to entice them to go through with the purchase.

Real-Time Data and Marketing Can Reshape Your Efforts to Connect With Potential Customers

Real-time data and real-time marketing are essential to thrive in today’s market. The benefits of real-time marketing and real-time data are too vast to be ignored. Customers demand the kind of customized, responsive experiences only real-time data can provide. This kind of data is constantly flowing and ever-accessible, allowing you to adjust and plan accordingly for present and future campaigns.

For your business, you can use real-time targeting to drive the performance and success of your products and services. More importantly, you can react to trends, customers and even the competition more openly, more efficiently and more accurately.

Want to learn more about the advantages of using real-time data in your marketing efforts? Contact Lotame for more information or to schedule a demo of our products.

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