Real-time marketing: How to talk to customers in their exact moment of need


Since the dawn of the spreadsheet, we’ve been grouping customers into groups based on historical data like age, location, purchases, industry or interests, to create broadly targeted one-way marketing campaigns. Even now with customer relationship management (CRM) systems, customising <Firstname> is still often the only nod to personalisation. The rise of marketing automation, real-time data and artificial intelligence is rapidly transforming this process.

Rather than looking backwards, you can now change communications, responses and next steps in real time as the system learns more about the customer. The same way a salesperson will flip the pitch mid conversation. Consumer platforms like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple pioneered this data-driven approach – think personalised content, retargeting, unique offers, automated sales funnels, artificial intelligence – followed by large enterprises with big tech teams and bigger ad spends.

However, new automation software is putting real-time marketing well within reach of SMEs.

What is customer journey orchestration (CJO)?
At the risk of using another piece of jargon, CJO essentially means delivering a unique and personalised user experience that evolves in real time by learning and understanding customer needs based on specific triggers, actions and feedback. While we’re familiar with salesy tactics like popups and ads that follow you around, the real power of this technology is in having meaningful and personal conversations at scale.

“Creating an enterprise-wide common conversation that meets customers in their exact moment of need is core to a successful growth strategy… learning from signals and responding beyond expectations.”

—Liz Miller, Vice President and Principal Analyst of Constellation Research.”

Whether for sales, service, support or building loyalty, it’s all about having the right conversation with the right person at the right time on the right channel.

Information is power, but…
Information is only powerful when it’s relevant, accurate and continually updated. The core goal of CRM systems is to build a 360 degree view of your customers by consolidating the latest data and insights from across your business.

While that’s the essential first step, the next big opportunity is to unlock and enrich this data by adding automation and personalisation.

Odds are you already have a wealth of customer information that is underutilized. By consolidating data from across your business silos and systems, and potentially feeding in third party data, you can start talking to customers one-on-one in real time, and building personalised journeys that get smarter and more relevant with each interaction.

This can then be used across channels including web content, eCommerce, proposals, email communications, customer service, push notifications, mobile messaging, direct sales calls, upsells/cross sells, instore and loyalty programs. Depending on your existing systems, there are two ways to achieve this. You can migrate to an all-in-one marketing automation tool, or you can integrate data from a range of sources to create a master set of structured data using a customer data platform.

Customer journey orchestration is not an all or nothing proposition, it can be built up over time.

Food for thought
For example, at Nexon we worked with a membership-based organisation to map their internal loyalty program data with external data sets of demographics, interests and disposable income. We found two distinct groups with a 30% difference in average spend.

By accessing these rich insights, marketers are equipped to personalise marketing and time-based journeys to optimise the customer experience. Turning the dial just a few percentage points significantly shifts the revenue and loyalty over time.

If this all feels like a steep learning curve, you’re not alone. Gartner research reports that 63% of digital marketing leaders struggle with personalisation, and just 17% use artificial intelligence and machine learning across the marketing function.

While not every business aspires to a fully-automated sales and marketing engine, it is well worth exploring the options for streamlining communications using the power of dynamic content.

At Nexon we’ve seen personalisation strategies work for organisations ranging from Government departments and aged care through to engineering services and not-for-profits.

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