real time

Take Action in Real-Time – Understand Your Audiences

Understanding your audience is a vital part of any marketing strategy. You have to know who is interested in your products or services to target them effectively. However, new marketing strategies allow you to take action in real-time and draw your audience in more effectively.

What Is Real-Time Marketing?

Real-time marketing, or RTM, is how brands engage with their audience using data and information about their real-time actions. These actions can include how long they spend on a specific page of their website or if they add something to their basket but do not purchase.

Using current news and events to tailor their strategy to their consumers, RTM is a more flexible marketing approach. Rather than being carefully crafted for hours, RTM takes only minutes and can be implemented across social media or websites. Types of RTM strategies include:

  • Location-based deals or emails depending on where a consumer is in the country or world
  • Referencing current news or events in your posts, emails, or social media
  • Engaging social media management

An example of RTM is when fast-fashion giant ASOS published a tweet about their misprinted bags. Here, the word ‘online’ was misspelt as ‘onilne’. Instead of discarding the bags and hiding them from their audience, they played up to the mistake, calling it ‘limited edition’, turning it into a significant amount of free publicity.

Like many other forms of marketing, RTM can boost the profile of brands. Injecting humour into posts can grab the attention of your consumers and make them chuckle whilst showing off some of your unique brand voice and personality at the same time.

It should be noted that RTM is not just limited to social media. Strategies can be implemented to personalise your website and emails to a customer. Here, real-time analytics and technology are required to automate the process of RTM.

For instance, if you want to show content to someone on your website that changes depending on the products or pages they are looking at, you’ll need to take advantage of tools such as Google Optimize that will enable you to automate the process.

Know Your Audience

A key component of running an effective RTM campaign is to understand who your audience is. Invest in social listening, note what your target audience is saying on social media, and review your comments and mentions across all social platforms. Upon doing so, consider how you can respond to connect with your audience.

Understanding your audience sounds intimidating. However, it doesn’t have to be. There are many ways that you can understand your consumer, including:

  • Analysing your competitors – Find a brand or company that has a similar audience to you. What is their brand voice? What marketing strategies do they use? Conversely, what do they not use? You can begin to pick out what works for them and incorporate some tactics into your own strategies.
  • Conduct surveys – Asking your audience is the most direct way to gather information on them. Create some surveys and post them to your social channels or website and encourage consumers to participate. From here, you can then analyse the insights.
  • Undertaking market research – Market research can help you understand your audience on a deeper level. Using tools, social media, and surveys, as mentioned above, can help you to develop a strong understanding of who your audience is and what they are looking for.
  • Creating a buyer persona – This is almost like a fictional representation of who you want your buyer to be. Backed up by data from your surveys and market research, you can then tailor your buyer persona to who you want to market to.

Once you have developed a firm understanding of your audience, you can create an RTM strategy to target them. If your audience is relatively young, utilising social media may be an appropriate way to go – engage with their Tweets and comments and show them that you’re listening.

Take Notice

It is essential to review any current events when you are running an RTM strategy. Check the calendar and review any important days that are coming up. How can you tailor your marketing to them?

In addition to the above, read the news. What are the hot topics? What are people talking about? Even if it doesn’t directly link to your industry, you may be able to discuss it in a social media post or caption.

A prime example of this happened in 2017 when Balenciaga released a new bag that bore an uncanny resemblance to everybody’s favourite big blue IKEA bag. Although IKEA is not related to fashion or luxury handbags, they jumped on the similarity and made a witty return that brought them directly into the public eye.

It’s also vital to take notice of what your customers are saying and doing. Listen to what your customers are saying on social media, in emails, and even in complaints. This can give you new ideas for RTM strategies to get your customers involved and show you where you can improve next time.


RTM is a fast-paced strategy that can engage your customers effectively and capture their attention. A 2014 study showed that RTM can boost conversion rates by up to 26%, and in the age of social media, it is an incredibly beneficial strategy to consider.

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