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Marketers Struggling With Real-Time Personalization

by Ayaz Nanji  |  
July 29, 2013

Most marketers say they struggle to personalize content in real-time, even though 77% say real-time marketing is highly important to their organization, according to a recent report by Neolane and The Direct Marketing Association.

Overall, marketers surveyed rate personalizing messages based on consumer behavior as their top challenge (60%), followed by marketing effectiveness/response rates (57%), improving customer retention (43%), harnessing Big Data (41%), and driving revenue via cross-sell/up-sell (38%).

Below, additional key findings from the Real-Time Marketing Insights Study, which was based on a survey 235 North American marketers.

What Is Real-Time Marketing?

  • 43% of survey respondents define real-time marketing as providing "dynamic personalized content across channels."
  • 13% define it as "dynamic personalized content in outbound channels."
  • 12% define it as "developing quick response to mainstream event."

Highest Rated Real-Time Marketing Channels

  • Email is the highest rated real-time marketing channel: 80% of respondents find it very important.
  • The next highest rated real-time channel is the Web (69% of marketers find it highly important), followed by mobile devices (53%), point of sale (49%), call centers (49%), and social channels (45%).
  • 75% of marketers rate dynamic, personalized content across channels as highly important, and 95% find it moderately to highly important.

Plans for Real-Time Personalization

  • 29% of marketers currently practice cross-channel real-time marketing, and an additional 49% are planning to do so in the future.
  • More than half (55%) of marketers already practice real-time email marketing, and 32% have plans to do so in the future.

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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Tamar Mon Jul 29, 2013 via web

    Hi Ayaz, I loved your article, especially the list of concerns about real-time marketing. The three biggest concerns are easily overcome - our customers are easily able to set up campaigns in real-time using our technology that integrates into any CMS with zero IT. They also have access to information in real-time - the prospect's lcoation, organization, and digital behavior, without violating personal privacy issues. Great article, thanks for educating the masses. Tamar, Insightera.

  • by Ayaz Nanji Mon Jul 29, 2013 via web

    Thanks for the comment Tamar!

  • by Crystal Mon Jul 29, 2013 via web

    Great post Ayaz!

    Really happy to see these stats - especially those regarding real-time relevancy and personalization. We just recently started using a platform by the team at to add real-time behavior-based personalization to our website and are amazed by the increase in our conversion and retention rates.

    If Marketers aren't embracing personalization - they need to. And with platforms like Evergage, it doesn't have to be difficult. In fact, it's actually quite seamless.

  • by Gracious Store Mon Jul 29, 2013 via web

    What does it mean or imply when marketers have varied opinion or definition of real time marketing?

  • by Jean Borgman Tue Aug 26, 2014 via web

    Gracious, Here's a great post that should answer your question: what it means when marketers have varied definition of real-time marketing?

    "Real-time marketing isn't what you think it is" uses Google trends to examine how the term came about, how there came to be varied definitions, what the current understanding is, and how to reap the benefits of it. It's an interesting read!

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