Businesses have started to see some impressive results from responsive, real-time marketing efforts, yet many are still struggling to implement them effectively, according to an independent survey published in the Real-Time Marketing Report by Monetate and Econsultancy. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

The survey of nearly 900 company and agency marketers across the globe, found that companies already delivering real-time marketing experiences realised a 26% lift in conversion rates. Other business benefits were found to include a better customer experience, reported by 84% of company respondents and 82% of agency respondents, improved customer retention (47% and 46%) and better brand perception (34% and 29%).

The survey also found that what has been defined as "real-time marketing" in the past is just one slice of what it has become. Due in large part to the proliferation of mobile devices, the new variables of real-time marketing go far beyond time itself to include weather, monetary and transactional data, location, behavioural data, segment and persona data, demographics, content viewed and device/browser data.

"Thanks to the mobile revolution, the amount of data now available to businesses has increased exponentially, and what we have previously known as 'real-time marketing' is rapidly evolving beyond social to include the full range of channels available to digital marketers,'" said John Healy, chief operating officer for Monetate. "Real-time marketing means not selling to customers, but serving customers - providing moments of convenience, surprise and delight that create a bond between a brand and a person, anytime, anywhere."

The survey findings mirrored those of Monetate's Q4 2013 Ecommerce Quarterly report. According to that publication, in 2012, only one in five online purchases were made on a mobile device (phone and tablet). In 2013, that number jumped to one in three - an increase of 50% in one year. Mobile has unquestionably changed the way businesses interact with customers and their ability to deliver relevant, dynamic experiences.

While the promise of real-time marketing has never been clearer to marketers, the implementation challenges continue to overwhelm businesses. According to the survey, technology and data are two of the biggest pain points for companies. Challenges reported included:

  • 75% of respondents said their organisation is somewhat ineffective, highly ineffective or has no capability to design customer experiences that take advantage of real-time responses;
  • 67% of respondents don't think their marketing technology is good enough to execute real-time marketing;
  • 55% of marketers rate their organisation as somewhat ineffective, highly ineffective or incapable of collecting customer information as it occurs;
  • Only 19% of company respondents and 16% of agency respondents currently combine customer data insights from disparate sources into one centralised database/data warehouse.

"Marketers must constantly learn about their customers every week, day, and minute, and then instantly act on that information," concluded David Brussin, CEO and co-founder of Monetate. "None of this is possible without tools that find and combine that data, and then make it instantly actionable."