Amazon, Walgreens, eBay, and Netflix—you know these companies. And if you’ve done business with them, or visited their websites, they know you, too. Not everything, of course—that would be creepy.  But they probably know more than you think; they probably placed you in a category or two; and they probably know you watch spy thrillers on the weekends and order four pairs of shoes for your kids to try on, but that you usually keep just one. Even though it seems invasive on the surface, you’re probably just fine with it. Why? Because they take that knowledge and enhance your experience using real-time marketing—at the right time.

The following marketing executives all know how to use real-time data to solve problems, offer support, and make recommendations based on your needs and interests. They have helped their companies establish customer loyalty by engaging in the proper context and allowing customers to feel control over the message, which leads to an emotional attachment with the brand and at the very core—a Return on Relationship.

Example #1 – Neil Lindsay, VP of Marketing at Amazon

If you’ve shopped Amazon, you know how hard it is to purchase just one item. That’s because Amazon is second to none at suggesting other items based on real-time, market-driven, user-specific data.

At the 2012 ad:tech conference, Lindsay explained Amazon’s preference toward investing in product development and the customer experience—leaning heavily on real-time customer data to enhance both—so Amazon can continue to rely on word of mouth instead of more traditional marketing methods.

Example #2 – Graham Atkinson, Chief Marketing Officer at Walgreens

Walgreens may not strike you as a highly innovative company, but a company doesn’t stick around for 112 years without innovation. Walgreens invented the milkshake, pioneered self-service shopping, and established the drive-through pharmacy.

While Walgreens has lagged behind other national retailers on the e-commerce front, it has recently made major inroads. The key is to “keep technology simple,” says Atkinson. And simple is exactly how Walgreens achieved rapid adoption of its mobile app. The app allows customers to reorder prescriptions by simply scanning the bottle, which also eliminates human errors. Refill-by-scan now accounts for more than half of all prescriptions ordered through Walgreens’ mobile app. Customers also use the app to access prescription history, browse, shop, check in-store availability, and order photo prints directly from their phones.

Example #3 – Richelle Parham, Chief Marketing Officer at eBay

The relaunch of eBay’s homepage introduced us to “the Feed,” a data-driven revamp that highlights a few of eBay’s nearly 350 million items based on the user’s browsing and purchasing history. Consumers can also “follow” categories of items based on their interests.

“In designing the Feed, we mapped out the customer’s journey toward a purchase, from the moment he’s aware of a product to how he researches it and then decides to buy it,” said Parham. “We found the number one thing customers care about is curation. We also learned that big, rich photos really matter. That’s why the Feed is all about creating a visual environment of the things you love.”

Example #4 – Kelly Bennett, Chief Marketing Officer at Netflix

Netflix data usage is responsible for a full third of North America’s total data consumption. Maybe if Netflix hadn’t created such an intuitive algorithm, its customers wouldn’t be streaming all day. Netflix takes customer actions and uses them to make recommendations in real time, which provides a tailored user experience.

Knowing what customers want also helps Bennett strategize and promote original content. The overwhelming success of House of Cards and the relaunch of Arrested Development are proof that Netflix knows what its customer base wants.

These executives all know one thing that their customers obviously value: good real-time marketing doesn’t feel like marketing, but feels like a favor enhancing the relationship.

Getting real-time marketing right drives engagement and builds relationships…both of which drive loyalty, and loyalty correlates directly to increased sales. Learn more on the latest in real-time and right-time marketing in this webinar and whitepaper from TIBCO Loyalty Lab.

Originally posted by LoyaltyLab Blog June 25, 2013

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