paint on a palette, with some colors being blended
PHOTO: Mike Petrucci

Marketing best practices have shifted over the last few years to a focus on trigger-driven marketing, centered around the use of real-time data. This has led to a fallacy that marketers should only use real-time data, and ditch batch data. Here’s why this approach is far from ideal.

A Marketing Data Disconnect

A 2019 Gartner survey identified event-triggered multichannel marketing as one of the top techniques marketers thought would have an impact over the next five years. However, the truth is most marketing organizations still struggle to extract value from event-trigger-based strategies.

Unfortunately this happened  because as marketers attempted to make their event-driven dreams a reality, vendors focused on providing real-time data solutions. Vendors worshiped the values of real-time data as a cure all. If you are contextually relevant, customers will react favorably to your campaigns.

However, customers aren’t as simple as “an abandoned cart with female activewear in it.” Customers are complex, have a history with brands, and expect to be recognized by the brands they interact with. Marketers discovered, the hard way, that event-driven marketing does not equal real-time, data-based marketing.

To meet customer expectations and fulfill marketer demands, technologies need to adapt a hybrid approach.

Customer data is similar to the human brain, and as you may know, the human brain has two categories. Professor Daniel Kahneman of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School called them System 1 and System 2, but I prefer author Mark Manson’s “feeling brain” and “thinking brain.” While the thinking brain is slow but conscientious, accurate and impartial, the feeling brain is impulsive, irrational and inaccurate and arrives at conclusions quickly.

In CRM marketing, the thinking brain is the result of the transformation, processing and unification of your historical customer data, while the feeling brain is the triggers set to react to real-time data streams. If you only rely on the latter, you are bound to be inaccurate. But if you combine and strike a balance between both, your marketing dreams might just come true.

Related Article: The Data-Driven Organization Is an Endangered Species

Putting the Event-Data Plus Real-Time Data Approach to the Test

One of the most classic triggered campaigns in the ecommerce world is the post purchase email. Marketers use the purchase event to send customers immediate follow up emails. Sometimes, these include offers for complimentary products, other times a list of how to maximize the product’s usage. But how can marketers know who to send what offer?

One way is by leveraging a basket value model in conjunction with the trigger. Combining these two data points, the historical basket value with the real-time trigger, can help marketers segment their customers into multiple tiers, or group different clusters together into tiers. For example, low, medium and high.

Having customers clustered into tiers can then help marketers plan hyper-relevant triggered campaigns for each one. For example, providing promotional and complimentary product information to the low tier and more informative campaigns to the higher tier. By appending the data from the latest purchase to the historical data already available, marketers can ensure customers fall into the correct campaign each time.

Basket Value Tier

Sample Campaign Message

High Tier

 

5 reasons customers love product X.

 

Mid Tier

 

10% off your next purchase.

Low Tier

 

Get 15% off when you buy one of these products that is popular with customers who buy product X.

basket value tier
Effectively rolling out a contextually relevant, event-driven marketing plan with personalized offers requires a smooth integration of both the thinking and feeling brains. Combining real-time customer activity with historical data is the only way marketers can ensure they take each customer’s complexity into account before sending any campaign. And maybe next time those customers are surveyed, the gap between their expectations and reality has closed.