Marketers have always sought to reach their customers at just the right moment – and to do so before their competitors. With the advent of the Internet and real-time analytics, the timeframe for being relevant to your customers is shrinking. Big Data is now making marketing even faster, more responsive, and more personal than ever before. The massive amounts of information and computing power from the cloud, which is increasingly available and affordable, means that even small businesses can respond to markets in real-time, know their customers’ wants and needs (perhaps before they do), and predict and anticipate changes.
What is Real-Time Marketing?
Real-time marketing refers to being able to reach customers right at the moment they need or will respond to your message. It also means that you can talk to your customers in the context of the moment. Traditional marketing is pre-scheduled based on best-practises, seasonality or on the schedule of the brand. Real-time marketing is logically scheduled based on the behavior, persona and location of the target recipient. It's often personalized as well.
During the 2013 Super Bowl, when the power went out, Oreo pushed an ad out in a matter of minutes which said “You can still dunk in the dark.”
That is just one fun example. More powerfully, Target can use buying habits to detect life changes and offer relevant product discounts to customers, even to the point of being a bit scary (see article on Target knowing when customers are pregnant). Also, online retailers, like Amazon, have learned to anticipate when you might be running low on consumable products which triggers reminder offers.
To a smaller degree, heating and cooling companies who can use past history and weather data to predict demand can handle much more volume than companies who just wait for the phones to ring, because they prepare resources ahead of time. Restaurants can use buying patterns to predict what kind of food customers prefer at different times of the year. There is really no business which can’t benefit from using data to predict, anticipate, and market to their customers in real time.
The Race to One
Marketing has traditionally been about broad demographics and stereotypes. There are just so many people in the world, companies don’t feel like they can ever reach people on an individual level. For the most part, people have understood and put up with this “mass market” mentality. However, as Big Data continues to grow, people begin to expect to be treated as individuals.
It may seem counter-intuitive, “How can MORE data make individuals stand out?” In fact, that is what makes Big Data so powerful. Trends, habits, preferences, and individual behavior are easier to identify and understand when you have more data to draw from. With less data, we are all settling for the averages. With more data, we can start tailoring to the uniqueness of our individual patrons.
In competitive markets, businesses which can interact with customers on a more tailored one-on-one level will win out over those who can’t see beyond the “average customer.” We are in a race to one.
FREE eBook “Marketing at the Speed of Business”
To learn more about how Big Data is changing marketing, and see case studies about how retailers, producers, and healthcare companies are using that data to power their marketing in real-time, head over to Perscio and download our free whitepaper.