Real-time marketing works.

Let me make an addition to that rather bold affirmation. Real-time marketing works for B2C companies. Really well.

But what of B2B companies? Is real-time just a pipe-dream? A strategy only successful if left to the trendier agile brands that have an ever-growing and content hungry audience of Twitter followers?

In our brand new B2B Real-Time Marketing Report, in association with Monetate, we reveal the current state of play for B2B real-time marketing, uncovering insights that perhaps challenge our preconceptions of the importance of real-time for B2B. 

For instance, the fact that 65% of B2B companies are carrying out some form of real-time marketing, and that 87% agree that ‘real-time marketing is essential as behaviour, device, place and time come together’.

In our full report you will find research highlighting how business buyers define their needs in an always-on world. As well as the benefits to real-time marketing and the challenges. 

How B2B companies define real-time and why it matters. What companies are doing today and budgeting for tomorrow, and priorities in real-time and the capabilities necessary to achieve them.

The report follows on from our previous survey, 2014’s Real Time Marketing Survey Report, where Econsultancy and Monetate surveyed nearly 900 B2C marketers. This time the focus has been narrowed to B2B marketers.

Here we’ll be taking a brief look at what a real-time marketing strategy means for B2B companies.

What is real-time?

As our lifestyles become increasingly ‘always-on’ through the multiple devices we use and the ease of connectivity continues to improve, the more we demand rapid and personalised responses from companies we engage with.

This has led to the rise of agile marketing. Marketing has had to become less planned and more reactive.

What real-time means for B2B

As opposed to the B2C market, the customer journey undertaken via B2B contains multiple decision makers with varying agendas, remits, and goals.

This leads to the common notion that any amount of agility or speed is immediately stymied by the sheer amount of processes it faces. Of course even B2C real-time marketing requires a certain amount of pre-planning.

Thankfully the view that B2B marketing is a slow-paced, multi-headed beast is gradually becoming redundant. As our report suggests ‘real-time reactivity may offer just as much value in the considered sale as in the short cycles of consumer marketing’.

Real-time marketing means offering the right content at the right time. B2B and B2C companies that have the right marketing processes in place will be able to offer up content and engagement at time that a customer considers ‘now’.

Another important consideration to remember is the fact that any B2B customer will already have experience with B2C vendors, and that their expectations may well be the same. It’s imperative that you match those expectations as best as you can.

The benefits of real-time

Our respondents were asked “what do you perceive as the main benefits of real-time marketing?”

Better customer experience is the clear winner here. Replying to customers as quickly as possible with relevant information also has the knock-on effects of improved customer retention, improved conversion and better brand perception.

Real time capabilities are not just limited to customer experience and engagement, other sales related aspects will benefit too.

Conversion is often much further along the timeline when it comes to B2B, therefore secondary metrics like downloads or registrations are often measured. When asked about the impact of real-time on conversion rates, 26% of B2B respondents reported an uplift, a percentage exactly the same as B2C companies.

For more insight download the full B2B Real-time Marketing Report.