Why Real-Time Matters to Brands

BrandPost By Tim Waddell
Nov 15, 2019
IT Leadership

Customer attention is a fleeting moment in time. As a brand you have seconds to capitalize on that moment, to engage them and spark an action.

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Credit: Adobe

Customer attention is a fleeting moment in time. As a brand you have seconds to capitalize on that moment, to engage them and spark an action.  Otherwise, they move on, shopping carts become abandoned, sales are lost, and rival brands become winners. Failure to respond to customer needs in the moment with a relevant message is often the difference between a profitable quarter and a down year.

Getting it right means responding to each unique customer in real-time, with offers, promotions, or prompts as unique as you are. With millions of people shopping online each day, it’s hard to overstate the challenge of real-time personalization at scale. And while the battle for attention and relevance is one facing all brands, there has never been a more exciting or important time to succeed.

Online holiday shopping is expected to grow to $143.7B this year, an increase of 14 percent, according to the 2019 Adobe Holiday Shopping Trends report. The year 2019 will also see the traditional holiday shopping period (Thanksgiving to Christmas) shortened by six days. Winning brands this holiday season will be those that are able to react instantly with custom experiences that are native to shoppers’ devices, and leverage all the various touch points available; past shopping behavior, recent site visits, interactions on social platforms, and more. And in order to deliver a relevant, customized experience, brands need a platform that provides them with a single unified view of each customer.

What’s data got to do with it?

More data, doesn’t always equate to more insight. Brands face a common set of challenges: fragmented data, inconsistent experiences and complicated governance, that must be resolved in order for truly real-time customer experience to become standard.

Obtaining a single view of the customer is more challenging, and more necessary than ever. CIO’s know that customer data lives in silos across the organization, with multiple owners, and governing structures, so it’s critical to select a secure and robust platform capable of leveraging crucial user data, while being flexible to interact with legacy systems. Meanwhile It’s critical for marketers to meet regional and organizational requirements for managing known and unknown customer data, but it’s difficult to achieve this when data sits in different systems and locations. And all of this must be invisible to the end user.

Everyone is talking about real-time, most are lying

While everyone’s talking about their real-time platforms, few live up to the hype. What can be found on the market today are laggy and disjointed solution bundles. Companies who sell these platforms as being “real-time” should know better. A bloated CRM system that requires third party implementation specialists is exactly that. Immediacy is becoming a requirement for any brand who wishes to succeed. The need to align the most relevant and effective content with a current customer profile is imperative.  A ten-second lag when opening an app or an outdated email advertisement can mean the difference between a loyal customer, and a lost sale. ] Now magnify this by thousands of daily interactions, and you know you can’t afford to be late as an IT professional.

Today intelligent decision-making is possible at a speed and scale never before possible. Brands depend on creativity and technology to delight their users, and meet evolving business objectives. As the world of marketing relies more and more heavily on instant customization, data that comes from our phones and computers, but also fitness trackers, web-enabled appliances, and even our pets, is being used to make the Internet a reflection of us as individuals. 

Having real-time, not 10-second delayed, data allows brands to compete in the battle for consumer attention, capitalize on immediate customer opportunities and ultimately improve efficiency.