SmartFocus: deeper into real time personalisation

The Computer Weekly Open Source Insider blog recently ran a story on real time personalisation here… and it’s a topic that appears to have provoked more interest in the subject.

Chief science officer at real-time digital marketing platform SmartFocus is Dr Janet Bastiman. Arguing a worthy and additional tangential angle on this same topic, Bastiman writes as follows…

Real-time reality

While the ability to allow real-time features to be incorporated into their in-app marketing may be news for the open source community using Xamarin, the ability to send real-time interactions has been possible for digital marketers for years.

The main reason is that customers are engaging with brands across an increasing number of touch points – websites, social media, in-store, mobile and tablets. At each touch point, customers expect a customised and personalised experience optimised specifically for them.

Engaging today’s customer is less about selling a product or service and increasingly about cultivating meaningful relationships. The days are long gone when companies didn’t need to personalise and they could still be successful. Real-time marketing in conjunction with connected personalisation enables a company to personalise every marketing message for a customer. So the email they receive, the website products they get recommended or the in-app message that pings on their phones should all be tailored to them and their preferences.

With customers now expecting this joined up thinking, we are seeing technology that enables this approach growing, as more companies seek ways to make all their marketing messages highly personalised and homogenised.

There is no doubt that new levels of flexibility and convenience to improve their experience are great for the customer, but their increased expectation continues to be a challenge for brands, whose marketing departments must manipulate enormous amounts of data to try to understand how to effectively engage everyone.

The influence of mobile technology here cannot be understated and we are fast seeing a move from ‘mobile first’ to ‘mobile only’ marketing strategies. Mobile has helped the connected consumer find, engage and execute the content they want, at the time they want it and in their current location. This means adoption has improved as content is more personal to the user, ultimately increasing purchasing decisions.

Growing demand

We see leading brands now delivering personalised discounts and vouchers to their user’s smartphones while they are in-store, and cinema chains are sending personal notifications to movie-goers once they have left the cinema. Out of date promotions or marketing communications for products no longer in stock can be disastrous when marketers are promoting their brand, so in an age where consumers are constantly connected, the demand for real-time personalised marketing technology has grown.

There is technology out there that can control what a brand’s customers see based on all previous interactions – not just what was known about them when their marketing campaign was set up or sent. Current technology enables brand communications to update when the end user opens them.

Expired offers can be replaced with a different message or a new offer. Products out of stock (or low in stock) can be replaced with other relevant recommendations based on that customer’s profile. All in the brief time it takes the images to load, giving the customer a completely personalised experience.

The best real time marketing technology enables marketers to create these real-time interactions without any coding knowledge, in a simple drag and drop environment. So, there isn’t any reason that anyone should receive emails with out of date offers or products they’ve already purchased. The leading tech also feeds in real-time data to ensure each of your customers gets relevant products and offers, whether they are a first-time visitor, a regular purchaser or your biggest spender. Because, after all, personalisation is more than just inserting your customer’s name at the top of the email…

Dr Janet Bastiman is chief science officer at SmartFocus – the firm is focused on messaging and communications to help brands reach connected consumers through web, mobile, email or social channels with its ‘Message Cloud’ rich data intelligence solution.

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