Why Real-time Data is so Crucial

The automated nature of modern marketing software makes scalable personalisation (and, by extension, relevance) an achievable milestone. Data is the driver of that capability, which means the software is only as powerful as the information that feeds it. In this world of the ‘always on’ customer, timing is everything. Reaching people at pivotal points in their buying process is the key to influencing their purchase decision. The buying process is getting progressively shorter, so organisations need to prioritise more immediate forms of data access if they expect to meet these timing standards.

The buying cycle is full of moments of truth— decision points you can’t afford to miss. Imagine if you could reach someone at exactly the right moment in such a personalised way that you could influence a decision in your favour. That is the ultimate goal.

Hindering this is the unfortunate truth that most data is not real-time. There is a notable, serious delay between the real-time gathering of data by your marketing software and a marketer’s ability to use that data. The delay is caused by the need for complicated IT data pulls with specific information that characterises exactly those individuals you want to reach. Each additional data point (which, ironically, are the keys to relevance) will cost you time. This delay renders the real-time nature of your valuable marketing software useless, and it does so at the expense of your marketing effectiveness.

To combat this, it’s important that marketers aim to gather real-time data and this starts with the software being used. There are 3 main ways to get data: the first involves an IT data pull. This is essentially a custom query that seeks out all the information you request, but it’s the slowest method available and the more detailed your query, the longer this will take. The second method is misleading in that it is often touted as a real-time solution, even though it isn’t one, but it is quicker. This involves custom development of an information bridge from whatever software tools you’re using to you. There are several problems with this method beyond the fact that it still isn’t obtaining real-time data; these include the expense for custom development or a premade solution integration, and how quickly it can become obsolete as software updates and new technologies arise. Lastly, there is the only true real-time solution: IBM’s Universal Behaviour Exchange. This is essentially an underlying software structure connecting all the Marketing Cloud tools together, allowing for seamless and immediate shared data amongst everything.

Access to true real-time data is a key differentiator for modern marketers. The quicker you can access your data the more relevant your messaging and automated triggers can be, because data is the driver of everything your marketing software is capable of.

Ready to explore other challenges related to database access? Learn about when real-time data is not real-time (and how this is killing your revenue).

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