What’s Holding Back More Effective B2B Real-Time Marketing?

August 18, 2014

EconsultancyMonetate-Barriers-Effective-B2B-Real-Time-Marketing-Aug2014Close to two-thirds of B2B marketers employ some type of real-time marketing, details Econsultancy [download page] in a new report produced in association with Monetate. Adoption levels should only rise, as 86% of survey respondents agree to some extent that “real-time marketing is essential as behavior, device, place and time come together,” and many perceive customer experience benefits to the practice. Yet respondents identify numerous challenges to more effective real-time marketing.

For the time being, about one-quarter of respondents believe that the rate of their real-time marketing efforts are fast enough to get the best business results for the foreseeable future, while another 44% believe the rate is fast enough for now, but not a long term solution.

What speed are B2B marketers aiming for? Given 4 options for how to define real-time, a plurality 35% indicated that it is the ability to respond to customer needs/behaviors in the same online session (within a minute or two), with this a more popular response than the ability to respond within the next day/24 hours (29%), within a few seconds (14%), or in less than a second (11%).

In order to become more effective at real-time marketing, B2B marketers must overcome several hurdles. Respondents were most likely to see company culture (31%) as a barrier to effective real-time marketing, with a significant portion also pointing to the lack of a unified customer database (25%). Indeed, only 3 in 10 currently combine customer data insights from disparate sources into one centralized database/data warehouse.

While poor marketing technology (21%) emerges as a middling challenge in relation to the top barriers, other survey results suggest that respondents aren’t enamored by their tech solutions. Just 44% strongly agreed (9%) or agreed (35%) that their marketing technology is good enough to execute on real-time marketing. By comparison, almost twice that proportion agreed that their customer data is actionable.

Respondents are also more confident in their real-time customer data collection than they are in their ability to strategically conceive and execute on real-time marketing plans, harking back to challenges with company culture. For example, 47% describe their organization’s ability to collect customer information as it occurs as effective to some degree, but only 38% concur with respect to their effectiveness in conceiving business strategy and tactics to take advantage of real-time capabilities. Even fewer express confidence in their organizations’ effectiveness when it comes to designing and implementing customer experiences that take advantage of real-time responses.

With customer experience being the top-cited benefit of real-time marketing for B2B companies, the study indicates that a culture shift is in order so as to take better advantage of real-time marketing’s potential. For now, only 6% of respondents claim to have very effectively integrated technology, data and marketing skills to take advantage of real-time and see significant results.

About the Data: The report is the result of the second of two studies examining the role of real-time marketing conducted by Econsultancy in partnership with Monetate. The original report was based on a survey of almost 900 client-side marketers and agency respondents. This B2B-focused report used an identical survey for a new B2B audience, garnering 164 B2B responses, which were blended with 100 B2B responses from the original to arrive at 264 total responses.

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