Real-time marketing is currently one of the most prominent trends in digital, however many businesses are still only just starting to experiment with this tactic.

Our understanding of what constitutes real-time marketing is also unclear, as many people simply associate it with quick response times on Twitter.

Marketing is never a completely spontaneous activity. By its very nature, communication with target audiences requires a level of knowledge (stemming from data and insight) about what the audience wants and how the product or service offered meets their needs. 

This processing of knowledge to decide on how to engage with audiences cannot happen without planning. 

A key question therefore is how fast is ‘real time’?

In Econsultancy’s new Real-Time Marketing Survey Report, published in association with Monetate, more than four-fifths of all respondents (80% company, 82% agency) said that responses should occur in two minutes or less.

At the sharp end, 12% of company respondents said that real time was the ability to respond to consumer behaviours in less than a second. 

The ability to respond this quickly obviously requires marketing automation software, as human intervention wouldn’t be feasible in such a short timeframe.

How do you define real-time marketing?

The report is based on a survey of nearly 900 marketers and provides a snapshot of real-time marketing in 2014. The findings give a baseline for marketers to use when assessing their plans for this year and beyond.

Are you marketing in real-time?

Given the opportunities available and widespread business familiarity with various digital channels for communication, it is no surprise to see that more than two-thirds of companies (71%) surveyed for this research are engaging in real-time marketing of some description. 

However this also means that around a third (29%) of companies aren’t using real-time marketing, while there is also a question mark as to whether personal, non-automated responses by brands on social media are instantaneous enough to merit the description of ‘real-time’.

This data reflects that real-time marketing is still very much an embryonic area with opportunities to be seized for competitive advantage.

Do you or your clients currently employ any of the following?