Customer requirements on digital communications are constantly increasing. Successful direct marketing needs to communicate exactly the right content to each individual customer according to his expectations and his position in the customer lifecycle in order to develop a maximum impact for retention and purchase behaviour. In order to implement these requirements, we need technology which automatically controls the lifecycle communication through response data analysed in real time. It needs to be context-sensitive, data privacy-compliant and distributed in all relevant channels. The keyword here is real time marketing automation.

Increasing Complexity, More Emancipated Customers

The digitalisation has made the world for companies significantly more complex and more dynamic. For customers, digitalisation means maximum transparency and availability in the market. The barriers to switching between different providers are low, the competitive pressure is increasing. Traditional differentiation attributes such as price are losing significance when the most economical provider is only a click – or a line on the comparison portal – away. Even in the digital dialogue, the customer doesn’t lose sight of the best practice. “But Amazon makes individualised product recommendations, too?” Customers are becoming more emancipated, more self-determined and express higher demands on companies. Companies therefore have no choice but to orientate themselves on the best practice and focus radically on customer orientation. The large number of options do not only have a liberating effect on the customers, the information and offer density can also make decisions difficult and stressful. Companies should bear this in mind and simplify the customer’s life through individualised communication, adapted to his requirements, wishes and interactions.
The complexity of the customer journey is also increasing. The times when customers could be lead from A to B via fixed touchpoints, is over. Customers today use a continually growing number of company-own and third party touchpoints for contact via numerous terminal devices and in a variety of contexts. Website, newsletter, communities, blogs, transaction emails, apps, mobile messenger, SMS, twitter, facebook, POS terminals, geo-location services, service hotlines are only a small selection. Customers do not differentiate between these touchpoints but expect that the company is “available” everywhere and the required information and (digital) service is immediate, convenient and available in the right quality. They also expect that the company comes across with a consistent image at all these touchpoints. A company that approaches a female customer with individualised offers on ladies’ shoes via the e-commerce app, but tries to sell her the latest men’s collection in the newsletter, is likely to lose this customer.
Which requirements must be met by companies in the digital dialogue in order to meet customer expectations? Companies need to

  • offer the right content in the required quality,
  • individualised for each customer,
  • respond in real time,
  • take into consideration every interaction of the user, analyse it and feed the results immediately back into the communication,
  • consider all relevant touchpoints,
  • consistently communicate at each of these touchpoints,
  • orientate ithemselves continuously on best practice.

Real Time Marketing Automation as the Key to Customers

The key to meet the market requirements lies in the correct use of real time marketing automation technology. Real time marketing automation must be able to display four key features:

  1. The automated running of granular communication measures, individually for each user, in real time, based on his response.
  2. The dynamic adaptation to the relevant context at the time of use: individual content e.g. based on location, weather, position in the customer lifecycle or terminal device properties.
  3. The integration of all relevant channels in a lifecycle, including – in addition to email – social media, WhatsApp or mobile push messages in geo-fencing contexts.
  4. The data protection-compliant collection, processing and storage of real-time response data.

Benefits of Real Time Marketing Automation

Until now, it sounded as if companies were driven to use real time marketing automation in order not to lose touch. This statement is generally correct, but only one part of the truth. Real time marketing automation is not only a “must” but due to a variety of benefits, it is also a “should”. Here are a few numbers confirming the benefits of (real time) marketing automation: