How Real-Time Marketing Can Benefit Your Brand

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If 2021 had a marketing buzzphrase, it was certainly “customer engagement.”  While nearly all brands were zeroed in on how to best achieve the best customer experience possible throughout their entire ecosystem, many found themselves confused as to how to best achieve that top-notch CX, particularly in a crowded eCommerce world where competitors are continually fighting for space and social share.

True customer engagement is a combination of emotion and behavior; it is the interaction of how customers feel and what they actually do. And today’s consumers have high expectations for how brands cater to those emotions and behaviors. Customers today expect that brands are “armed and ready” at any given moment of the day to not only meet their needs but astound them with their integrated services and customer experience excellence. This type of “real-time” marketing effort is what it takes to create engaged customers, and an engaged customer develops positive sentiments toward the brands to which they feel a strong connection, which in turn creates customer loyalty and lifetime value.

Once a brand has achieved this level of symbiosis, they have created a bond that goes deeper than being “satisfied with your purchase.” In fact, Yahoo research indicates that “ Engaged customers created through repeated positive customer engagement are more likely to feel excitement, immediacy, and connection” towards a brand.

This clearly shows the enormous positive correlation between real-time content and online customer engagement.

In today’s increasingly mobile world, real-time engagement means brands need to improve their online customer engagement and omnichannel experience to attract and keep their target audience. Brands need to be prepared to meet online customers where and when they want to engage with live content and across multiple devices. 21st-century customers are informed and they want to be inspired. They research online and want to know where the products they buy come from, what their shampoo is made of, and if they are getting the best deal on their car insurance.

Developing meaningful, trust-based relationships with your customers online, listening to what they’re saying, and showing them that you care about what matters to them, can help your brand succeed. It is critical for brands to find ways to engage with their customers online in real-time. A Forrester report confirms this claim, as it found that about 44% of consumers view the ability to have a live person answer queries in real-time as one of the most important features a website can offer.

Coupled with this is the modern-day consumers’ expectation to have relevant, timely marketing messaging and offers that are customized to their specific circumstances. Gone are the days where general percentage off coupons were enough to keep customers attached and engaged in your product line. Keeping customer loyal now means personalized, tailored offers and exclusive coupons that demonstrate you are paying attention to their past history and potential purchases. For brands to create true loyalty, customers need to feel as if they are a “segmentation of one” in their customer experience. Tailored service and offers, presented exactly when they want it, is a now a must.

So how do you achieve the seemingly super-human feat? Read on for tips on how to prepare for and master real-time customer engagement.

Boost Marketing Efficiency with AI

When you think about it, engagement is actually what marketing is all about – increasing communication with potential customers, building trust and forming commitment. Using the tools of artificial intelligence (AI) and a comprehensive customer data platform like FiO’s Insight Marketing Platform (IMP), modern marketing is quickly becoming what marketers have always dreamed it could be: real-time one-to-one customer engagement.

The entire customer experience is now based on omnichannel and real-time strategy. For customer experience to become a part of your lifecycle marketing model, marketers must be prepared to evolve and start using new marketing technology that drives real-time customer engagement. The brands that will manage this marketing evolution will be the ones to increase their market share and gain a competitive advantage.

According to a recent Forrester study, including artificial intelligence and predictive analytics in your marketing could increase conversion by as much as 80%. And 64% of online shoppers indicate they are more likely to purchase a product that was suggested to them by a brand if they feel the brand selected it based on their personal data. To continually demonstrate you know what your customers need and want even before they do, you need to have an Insight Marketing Platform that utilizes vast amounts of data to create tailored predictive analytic models for each customer.

Using the technology of AI and machine learning is the new norm when it comes to online customer engagement. Any brand, wishing to succeed in today’s omnichannel world and engage with their online customers should already be investing in this technology.​ It is a powerful way to communicate your brand’s commitment to loyalty, and build relationships with your customers and prospects – all in real-time.

Real-Time Personalization Boosts Satisfaction Ratings

While there are numerous drivers behind accurately gauging customer satisfaction such as product quality and price, customer engagement is another increasingly important factor in scoring high satisfaction marks. Consumers have growing expectations and needs from the brands they frequently patronize. They are looking for companies that they feel have their personal best interest at heart rather than being just out to make a buck or two. There are real benefits in demonstrating you’re committed to helping them save time and money, and customers who believe this about your brand will be more satisfied and generally supportive of new company initiatives.

One of the most effective ways to demonstrate this focus is to present personalized product suggestions and customized offers in real-time.

According to Forrester, online customers are not too different from the ones visiting physical stores. They all have unique questions about products, shipping options, return policies and a host of other things that they need answers to before they feel comfortable buying from brands online. Just like in a physical store, brands need to invest in real-time online customer experience and engagement platforms in order to engage with online customers and keep them. The beauty of having an engagement tool like FiO’s Insight Marketing Platform is that it captures useful data, like first and zero-party data. This data allows you to discover what your audience wants and when they want it: information that shapes the online shopping process and influences their buying decision.

Real-Time Marketing Builds Trust

People think and behave differently when buying cheap vs pricey items, and the customer journey for big-ticket or high-value items is actually more similar to B2B sales than B2C. People follow a more complex information-gathering cycle, and they want to gain a 360-degree view of other alternatives.

High-value items have traditionally been bought face-to-face, after a relationship with the brand has been built. For online brands with big-ticket items to succeed, they need to be able to recreate a real store experience online and communicate the ‘human’ qualities of their company, helping online customers develop a good “gut feeling” about buying from them. Furthermore, with the right customer engagement platform like FiO’s Insight Marketing Platform, you can create messaging that reaches your potential customers much earlier in their purchase journey (discovery phase), gain complete control over the message used to create awareness and promote your new products and connect your brand to your audience in real-time.

Brands need to be able to recreate a real store experience online and communicate the ‘human’ qualities. Doing that means taking advantage of deep, comprehensive data on each of our customers, and customizing a purchasing journey that takes them through your brand ecosystem in the exact way they want it. Demonstration videos, social media interaction on direct messaging, drip campaigns, etc.; each customer is unique in the what journey of brand touchpoints will make them feel secure enough to make a big-ticket purchase online. With a tool like FiO’s IMP, you are able to access data that will tell you exactly how to craft that real-time path to result in a purchase.

Real-Time Marketing Differentiates Your Brand

Brands in a saturated market need to bring something new to the table, such as an innovative product or a personal touch that no one has experienced before; this is called differentiation. Most companies, though, don’t stand out. A great product? Sure, you have that. But so do your competitors. It can be difficult to stand out from the pack and convince potential online customers that they should pick you. For many, this will involve taking advantage of the opportunity that competitors have missed; improving their online customer audience engagement.

Certainly, everyone working in a marketing team knows the importance of controlling audience engagement. However, given the newness of this innovation, some professionals might not quite understand the significance of real-time audience tracking yet. Just a few years ago, marketing tools gave complete reports on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis about the brand’s audience.

Nowadays, tools like FiO’s Insight Marketing Platform enable you to observe in actual time what are the company’s mentions throughout the internet. Because of this, a few things become viable, like improving customer segmentation, finding ways to have more engagement, and gathering more data on customer online behavior.

Since more data is available, that means better content and offers can be created for each consumer and segmentation group. Moreover, live content is also a new thing in the market. Although you might think of videos when you hear this term, blog posts, chats, and even more can be a part of it too.

Experience dictates that consistency, frequency, and quality are what it takes to be successful in a digital marketing strategy. But now, that can be completed with real-time conversations that attract people’s attention and make them eager to have a conversation with your brand.