From a marketing standpoint, the answer to the “what is real time?” question is, in many ways, not complicated: it’s moving at the speed of your customer. But there, as they say, is the rub. Because if we accept this premise, we accept that real time can mean milliseconds, seconds, hours, minutes, or days – depending on the business use case for engaging with the customer.
An examination of real time from the perspective of both the customer and the business reveals how real time has evolved in just a few years to become the most important factor for marketers in terms of staying in cadence with a customer’s unique omnichannel journey and delivering a personalized CX that drives revenue.
Real Time for the Connected Consumer
Moving at the speed of the customer can manifest itself in any number of ways. It’s a retailer being ready with a promo code at checkout that accounts for and is relevant to the purchase. It’s sending a special offer rather than a nurture email based on recent website activity. Or it’s making a personalized recommendation on the website based not only on products the brand is trying to move, or that are popular, but instead based on that individuals’ preferences, behaviors, and activity up to that specific website visit.
In each of the above examples, the real-time element powers a personalized customer experience that is vital for driving revenue. Compare that with what most marketers thought of as advanced real-time personalization just a few years ago, which may have meant switching out a banner ad on a webpage based on what a customer may have purchased a week ago. The real time decision – switch the banner ad – is just one component of real time. The recency of the data the decision is based on is another, no less important component.
The always-on, always-addressable consumer demands more. Consider a recent SmarterHQ report, where 72 percent of consumers said that they will only engage with personalized messaging. The Harris Poll commissioned by Redpoint produced similar findings, with 37 percent of consumers saying they will flat-out not do business with a company that fails to offer personalization.
From the customer’s perspective, real-time personalization removes friction from the overall customer journey by eliminating the possibility of irrelevance. Ingesting customer data from every source in real-time to create a golden record – a single customer view that informs a brand everything there is to know about the customer – empowers a brand to deliver a timely, personalized offer, action, or recommendation across channels that is always in synch with the customer’s unique journey. A complete lack of lag time between when data is sourced and when it is made available to personalize the customer experience is the key for a brand to move at the speed of the customer – at whatever pace the customer chooses.
Consider, for example, a customer who abandons an online shopping cart, only to purchase one of the items in-store later the same day. A brand armed with real-time personalization capabilities will know not to include that product on a reminder email – and will instead have the insight to offer the perfect accessory item to incentivize fulfillment.
Delivering a seamless, real-time personalized customer experience is not without complexity, which is why consumers are critical of marketers’ ability to meet their expectations. In the Harris Poll, for instance, 73 percent of consumers believe that brands struggle to meet the expectation for a personalized customer experience across all touchpoints.
Much of the struggle stems from more of a tactical perspective on real time, which is the processing behind what ultimately becomes the customer-facing decision. Is the information the marketer bases a decision on also in real time? If it’s even seconds or minutes old, the marketer risks introducing friction into the customer journey – with the risk increasing the older the data is. If a customer visits a brand’s homepage, for instance, and clicks to go to another page – true real-time personalization will factor in the customer’s experience and activities on the homepage. If instead a marketer is serving up personalized offers based on customer activity from two days ago, there’s a chance it’s no longer relevant to the customer journey.
Real Time: Not Just for Show
Some brands are willing to take the risk, making the calculation that there will be a small percentage of offended customers. But it doesn’t make sense to apply any part of your valuable marketing resources to risk upsetting even one customer, when the alternative is a seamless, consistently positive customer experience that drives revenue.
Real-time data ingestion, real-time model scoring, and real-time rules-based decisioning with SLAs less than one-half second is what sets Redpoint Global apart in delivering an exceptional customer experience that drives revenue. With Redpoint, leading marketers lead markets by always providing relevant personalization at every stage of an omnichannel customer journey.
One Redpoint customer, an internet company, puts the half-second response time to good use. When an end customer has an issue, the golden record gives service reps access to all customer activity to less than a half second of the customer interaction, ensuring that the responding rep confronts the issue with the most relevant information.
Another Redpoint customer, a travel and hospitality firm, increased revenue over 150 percent over several properties and reduced marketing costs per interaction and number of touches by 40 percent – all by integrating 100 data sources of data into a comprehensive enterprise-wide golden record.
Real time means something different for the two customers mentioned above, but the common denominator is that they both provide a friction-free experience for the customer – in the customer’s preferred channel and in the customer’s preferred cadence. That is the essence of real time – business at the speed of your customer.