22nd March, 2014
Real time research points to one thing: the always online digital world we exist in. From the constant streams of information flowing into our hands stem the realisation that research data is being produced unremittingly and as such, researchers, especially those in marketing, should be reacting to these minute ripples in the research ocean.
One example: Kate Middleton leaves hospital, carrying the Royal baby, wearing a polka dot dress. EBay reports that for three days following this event searches for polka dot dresses jumped by 22%. Similarly, when the Great British Bake Off series launched again this summer, there were over 380,000 searches for baking tins amongst male users. For researchers, seizing moments like these and capitalising rely upon noticing new, specialised markets that can appear and disintegrate just a quickly.
As a form of inbound marketing (rather than catch-all-one deal for all provisions), real time marketing can allow market researchers to provide momentary compelling introductory offers, Point of Sale (POS) deals or sweeteners to keep their audience shopping that work by establishing an interaction dynamic between vendor/researcher and client. This style of marketing is already established but as Marketing Resource Management improves, mobile technology is certainly the norm and vendors themselves are more willing to accept models of customer data profiles (due to the surge in consumer data available to researchers through various means. In the past these have been known to be somewhat unreliable) meaning researchers can provide specialised contact points for individual customers. It is clear however, that as mobile is the norm the number of potential interaction points with consumers is consistently increasing vendors should continue to be wary about bombarding mobiles with messages which in itself detracts from overall added value.
Real time marketing does not have to relate to POS deals. By utilising real time marketing data, collated with traditional marketing sources retailers are taking the opportunity to streamline and enhance their general offerings to their core clients as well as assessing products that could further enrich their loyalty schemes. The offerings of real time marketing are not strictly numbers, either. The changing nature of research sees enhanced offerings from the qualitative analysis sector which, in turn, offers business another opportunity to understand their customer trends and insights and react accordingly. And in some cases it boils down to simple observations: social media and customer feedback inboxes can be overflowing before trivial matters are solved in scenarios where the trend, the keywords, the singular notions of customers could be spotted in real time and provisions made. The advent of companies dedicated purely to ascertaining the immediate consumer feedback in their interaction where we see companies such as Sumo-Insight and Lumi Mobile leading the way. Their movement in the real time insight market will undoubtedly reveal exacting perspectives to their users to enable rapid market capitalisation and maintain consumer brand trust for the future.
But whilst seeking to profit from real time decision making in research and marketing it is useful to keep the end goal in mind: add value to the product. And whilst it may well be easy to make instant modifications to product offerings and loyalty schemes, if customer satisfaction (or worst, trust) is lost, it can be difficult to regain.