realtimeWhether phone, instant messenger (IM), email, Facebook or fax, we all have our preferred communication channels and these preferences are different from person to person: With business partners preferably via email, with friends via Skype, with parents via telephone and with classmates through Facebook. Based on the situation and the party you are dealing with, you choose almost intuitively the right medium. But what if a technology could make such a decision ad-hoc as well and independently? The magic word is "Real-time Decisioning”.

As always, it is in this case as well about maintaining the customer contacts over the entire life cycle to achieve maximum relevance. To accomplish that, it is critical to send the right and most relevant message to the customer at the right moment during the purchase phase, which implies that marketers need to know their customers' needs exactly.

State-of-the-Art Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation systems are an essential tool here, since they include a powerful database and a useful campaign management that measures the reactions of prospects and customers on all communication channels in order to analyze and better understand their needs.

This creates a closed loop, such as, for instance, offering certain content via email, which automatically measures the following response to the email, as well as the online behavior, and even collects more data via web forms. With this automated workflow, the customer profile successively adds on information and the targeted approach improves, which as a consequence leads to an increase in the conversion rate.

This method is already very efficient, but the process is based on pre-defined rules and on historic decisions that were made long before the communication by the customer was initiated. So, coming back to the initial question: What would it really mean, if a technology could make the decision for the right content and the right channel independently and ad-hoc during the communication?

Decisions in real-time to increase the value

In the future, real-time decisioning (RTD) will come into play more often, since with RTD these processes will for the first time be dynamically controlled and in real time. In fact, RTD is complementing the marketing automation system quite well, by accurately analyzing the needs of each individual contact.

The technology links together all available information (product database, CRM system, purchase history in the web shop, web tracking, etc.) and combines historical and current information about a contact into a holistic profile. It automatically learns with every interaction and thus constantly refines its basis for decisions. Due to modern, powerful databases and business logic, these decisions are now possible in real time.

In short, the system "knows" the needs of the user at the moment of contact and selects highly relevant content on this basis, as well as the right channel and the right address for further communication, without error. This profile-oriented decision guarantees the highest relevance for the contact and ensures that he/she feels understood and appreciated, almost intuitively.

On this basis of trust, excellent sales opportunities are certainly opening up in every phase of the buying process.

By Daniela La Marca