One of the nice things about the ambiguous "real-time marketing" term is that it can be applied to so many things. At this point, I think the term's definition is ultimately in the eye of the beholder. Any new application of real-time marketing is simply added on to the existing definitions - it's a classic snowball effect.
Earlier this month, analytics company Acxiom hosted Engage, an invite-only B2B Big Data Marketing event in New York City. During the event Acxiom introduced new offerings; but what interested me the most was the case study of how those new technologies were introduced. According to Matti Leshem, CEO of Protagonist, the "brand energy" firm that partnered with Acxiom to lead the event, Engage received "overwhelmingly positive" reviews. So how did they explain Big Data and its applications and get such good reviews? Real-time marketing, of course.
The event was held at the Guggenheim, a carefully picked venue according to Leshem. He said that the concept of the Guggenheim itself changed how people viewed art and the purpose of the event was to change how people viewed Big Data. The event was intended to be "transformative" through the speakers (such as ex-U.S. President Bill Clinton) and to give a comprehensive explanation of new tools.
While the purpose of the event was B2B Big Data Marketing, real-time seeped its way into the discussions (as often seems the case nowadays). Leshem believes that real-time finds its way into discussions because it's already a foregone conclusion that that's how technology needs to be used. "Everyone is focusing on the real-time aspects of [the technology], but I think that's a given," he said. "This is real one-to-one marketing, at scale."
There were three completely live demonstrations of technology at the show. All three of the demos had some function of real-time associated with them, but Leshem noted that one demo in particular showed how to use Big Data to pinpoint a desired customer in real-time. Leshem said the presentations were designed to be in a storytelling format to both inspire and entertain the audience. This, he believes, is one of the main reasons the audience was so receptive.
Really, with an ex-U.S. President, the Guggenheim, and new technologies, the whole event was a real-time marketing spectacle. So here is the lesson that can be added to the growing snowball definition of "real-time marketing": Live is better than theoretical. That seems relatively obvious, but people are scared of live because it can be considered high risk, high reward. However, if every real-time technology in the world worked as well as they do in theory, the "Race to The Bottom" joke wouldn't exist.