While kids may dream of being super heroes, we marketers dream of reproducing the infamous Oreo hijack of Super Bowl 2013 with its "Power out? No problem" tweet that got nearly 14,000 retweets soon after. 

But real time marketing is about a lot more than having a team of marketers just waiting for the right moment to unleash a viral campaign. It may be a trifle boring to admit, but it seems the scouts were right — it's more about preparation than execution.

Real time marketing has personalization at its core. The latest​ Evergage​ study found that 86 percent of respondents reported a lift from their personalization initiatives, and half saw a lift of more than 10 percent. So it’s no surprise that it’s on all of our "to improve" lists.

The good news is that you don’t have to be a marketing superhero to be successful with real time marketing. What you do need though are the right tools and the skills to use them.

1. Get Personal

Personalization has moved beyond basic functions like adding names and locations, and now needs to deliver individualized relevant experiences for customers, based not just on their histories but also on what they’ve been doing in the last few minutes. 

Real­ time web personalization is responsible for ​increasing visitor engagement by 73 percent​, and e­-commerce revenue by one third. You can choose whether you want to personalize by location, content viewed or time on the site. Decide what’s the most important for your brand.

2. Get the Right Listening Tools

Since none of us have the supersonic listening skills of Superman, we need to get a little bit of help from some listening solutions, from Twitter-­based tools like Radian6 and Sysomos to more sophisticated data intelligence solutions like Bottlenose. 

This can give you the necessary insights into what’s happening right now, especially during those crucial Superbowl moments.

3. Cheat: Prepare in Advance

We’d all like to have the money to have a team of savvy marketers just waiting for the right moment to unleash some timely responses to wardrobe malfunctions or electricity blackouts. 

The truth is we don’t have the resources. 

But that doesn’t stop you from guessing ahead. Cheat a bit. ​Prepare your content ​in advance. You don’t know whether the home team is going to win or not, but you can prepare material based on different goals and results. That makes it faster for you to add a bit of context in real time.

4. Get the Data Now

You need the ability to know where your customer is, what she looked at just a few minutes ago and how long she looked at it. 

Learning Opportunities

This is a quantum leap from ​using historical purchase and customer profiles​, but remember to combine both types of data to offer your customer relevant offers and experiences. ​Econsultancy research ​has shown that only 18 percent of client-side marketers rated their ability to collect data on individual visitors strong.

5. Use Beacons to Reach Your Customers 

Beacons can play a big part in your real ­time marketing campaigns. Not only can they help gather customer information, but they also enable you to push out location-­sensitive information. That’s what ​American Eagle Outfitters did when it sent customers push notifications in Shopkick’s app ​to get rewards for using its fitting rooms.

The result? Customers who got the offer were twice as likely to try on clothing.

6. Right Here, Right Now - On Every Channel

You need to reach customers wherever they are. Not just the location, but also the channel. 

But that doesn’t mean you should neglect one channel for another. 

Chances are your customer is looking at your interactive billboard at the same time as your mobile site. Every channel needs to deliver the same message. ​Netflix has understood this very well, ​giving customers a reason to share their data, because the pay­back is worth it. 

It might seem obvious, but if you want to get the most out of real time marketing, you can’t confine yourself to targeting people on computers. While ​three out of four marketers​ use personalization on their websites, only 29 percent use it on web applications and a measly 16 percent use it for mobile apps. Just imagine all the opportunities they are missing!

To get the most out of real time marketing, you need to be able to use the same content across different channels, while also being able to get real ­time insights with integrations to CRM and data tools. With the right preparation, and a powerful platform that combines your insights and actions, you may just achieve the results that others only dream of.

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Title image "Super Heroes" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  Olaf 

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