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What Real-Time Content Looks Like In 2022


This article is the second in our Pillars Powering Cross-Channel Personalization series — a six-part series on uniting all marketing channels for truly connected customer journeys.

Sending the right marketing message at the wrong time is a waste of your effort as a marketer, and so is sending the wrong message at the right time. Not only is it a waste of your marketing resources, but it can also be a huge turnoff to the customers you’re trying to engage, making that Unsubscribe button look tempting.

For a brand to grow, marketing must hit the target with relevant content delivered in real time.

Read on to discover what real-time content marketing currently looks like and where it needs to go if marketers want to drive real revenue for their business.

Where Marketers Are Falling Short

“Right message at the right time.” It’s such a common concept that most marketers can recite it in their sleep. And because it’s every marketer’s goal, you’d think that most brands are delivering on it, right? 

In reality, few marketers succeed at orchestrating campaigns with real-time content that’s truly engaging.

93% of consumers report receiving marketing communications that are not relevant to them, and 44% of consumers are willing to switch to brands who better personalize marketing communication. (Infogroup via eMarketer)

Imagine you receive an email from one of your favorite athletic apparel companies. Inside is a personalized offer for the perfect pair of sneakers — your exact size, preferred fit, and completely in sync with your style. In fact, they’re so perfect… that you already bought those shoes when you were visiting that website a few months ago. 

What a let down, right? 

How Marketers Can Engage Customers with Real-Time Content

Although delivering the right message to the right person is critical, it’s the “right time” part that really locks in the win. That’s why one of the biggest difference-makers for taking your brand’s personalization from basic to potent comes down to relevance plus timing. Personalized communications that happen in real time and are relevant to the customer (either based on their behavior, preferences, or otherwise) make a greater impact

When customers are engaging with your brand, regardless of channel, seek out ways to engage them in real time. For example, if you have an app, you can provide users with personalized communications via in-app messages or push notifications that correlate with actions they take while using your app. These live reactions can include a specific offer (such as a free trial period), request for feedback, or instructions that will help them get more value from the app. 

The same goes for customers browsing or taking actions on your website. In-the-moment 1:1 communications should be contextual, based on what that specific user is doing, and relevant, based on that user’s individual data. This is what creates that personal feeling, one that will actually captivate your customer, leading to a more satisfying experience.

3 Real Stories from Top Marketers 

What does real-time content look like in the real world? 

It looks like automated customer segmentation, AI-driven recommendations, optimized sending times, and much more. To put it simply, real-time content looks like using the right customer engagement platform to deliver 1:1 personalized marketing. 

Check out these three stories from marketers at leading brands who are killing it with real-time content: 

“If someone’s looking at a product at any of your touchpoints or communicating with your teams, [you want] the ability to transact in the moment. And if you can’t transact in the moment, you then hope that, at a later point, the customer can jump on a convenient channel for you as the retailer — not necessarily [one that’s] convenient for that customer — and then hope that they transact [and] remember [to] stay connected to the brand and the product. So contextual commerce really breaks down those barriers and facilitates a transaction there and then.”

Shane Lenton Cue@2x

Shane Lenton

Chief Innovation Officer, CUE

Watch the short video story from CUE. 

“You need to make sure your product is relevant first. […] But also, [when] driving awareness or driving consideration, look at your customer segments. Look at what channels are most effective for those segments and make sure that you’re talking to those segments in the most relevant way in the channels where they’re going to be present.”


Catriona Woodward

Head of Digital Marketing, Pizza Hut

Read more about Pizza Hut’s success.

“We’ve seen some great results using the Send Time Optimization feature within Emarsys. And that’s kind of seen our open rates increase sort of about 5 to 10%. And it means we can speak to everybody from the people buying on their commute to work through to the late-night shoppers who are shopping in the middle of the night. And we can really target those customers at the time that they’re interested in talking to us.”

David Witts Puma

David Witts

CRM Manager, PUMA

Read more about PUMA’s success. 

Final Thoughts: It’s NOT the Thought That Counts 

It’s not the thought that counts. 

When it comes to marketing messages, your customers aren’t happy to hear from you just for the sake of hearing from you. They want to hear from your brand only when they’re interested, and even then, the content must focus on what they’re interested in hearing about. 

To deliver the right content in real time, marketers need a customer engagement platform that enables them to understand their customers at a deeper level. They need to bring data together, analyze that data, and apply it to campaigns to make everyday marketing into 1:1 personalized brand experiences.

When you’re timely and relevant, your customers learn to trust your brand, which means greater retention and greater revenue.

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Special thanks to our friends at Emarsys for their insights on this topic.
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