Real Time Marketing

Philips recipe for communication to drive engagement and loyalty.

Adam Palczewski, Ecommerce & Digital Marketing at Philips – September 25, 2017

Keeping up with customer communications

‘The right message, to the right audience, in the right place, at the right time.’

It’s a mantra used by marketers for decades, and even today – after two decades of digital disruption changing our customers’ expectations – it remains valid.

Only now, it applies on a per-customer level. And nowadays, you also need to add two additional elements to the mix – the right channel and the right technology.

Once, personalisation was a helpful way to boost engagement. Now, it’s a must. Sending your customers the right messages, at the right time is just a basic part of modern marketing. But that means marketers now face endless data streams from various channels to sieve and feed back into meaningful exchanges.

To help us make sense of it all, at Philips we’ve been hiring data scientists, mathematicians and statisticians to support our marketing team, to look at the data and see those quirks in behaviour that help us identify the best way to engage with our customers.


What sets customer-obsessed brands apart?

It’s vital to profile your prospects, acknowledge what channels they use, and – importantly – how and when it’s appropriate to approach them.

For example, at Philips we recognise that 65% of millennial audience shops online using a mobile device, so when we launch a product to that audience, we market it on popular mobile channels such as Snapchat and Facebook for the best engagement. If we were to do the same for our baby boomer audience, it wouldn’t work so well.

It’s no less true for your existing customers – and there you have the added detail of their engagement and transactional history. It’s about making the best use of that information you already have, looking for patterns and tells in their behaviour, and sending timely messages when it matters most.

The data is out there, and people are often happy to give it away if it means receiving a personalised experience in exchange. It’s the key to lifelong customer loyalty in an age of fleeting interest and unprecedented choice.

Adopting a real-time, adaptive mindset

Marketing has arguably changed more in the last two years than the previous fifty. Until recently, brands  would launch a broadly targeted campaign (perhaps a 30-second TV ad), let it run its course, and then learn from the results. Today, the key is to ‘launch, learn and adapt’ as you go.

Put simply, ‘real time marketing’ is vital.

For the best results, your messaging needs to evolve in real-time – reacting to every customer engagement, regardless of time, channel or location. Today’s start-ups get this, and they’re succeeding because they’ve listened, engaged, and adapted to their customers’ behaviour since day one.

But for larger, established brands like ours, this approach means fostering a real-time, adaptive mindset among stakeholders throughout the organisation. That isn’t going to happen overnight. At Phillips, we have the benefit of having strong role models and senior buy-ins – and we learn from trips, workshops and partnerships with key Silicon Valley disruptors such as Amazon, Google and Facebook .

By partnering with tech giants such as these, we can see first-hand how our customer-obsessed partners think, and apply it to our own leadership. And by working closely with the most innovative companies, it’s easier to see where future disruptions may arise, allowing us to disrupt our own business before a competitor gives us a surprise.

Building mutual respect

As any successful brand will tell you – it’s better to have one customer buy from you 100 times than it is to have 100 customers buy from you once. And brand loyalty is won by developing a sense of mutual respect with your customer.

That means meeting your customer’s expectations. And today, if your customer has shared their data with you, their expectation is that you’ll use it to deliver a unique, personalised experience.  

Philips has grown into a global leader in healthcare technology precisely because we have a long-standing commitment to improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation. So naturally, we want to use data and AI in real time, in a way that matters to our customers and delivers superior value.

Our new connected toothbrush (Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected) is a great example of how we deliver on that promise and improve the customer experience. Unique connected toothbrush sensors send brushing data to the Sonicare app via Bluetooth®, providing personalised coaching and feedback to help them achieve a complete clean.

We can also use that data to tell the user when their toothbrush head should be replaced and potentially offer them a discount. It’s a case of looking at the bigger picture, and finding ways to deliver useful information beyond just selling a product.

Communicating with clients in real time is difficult but important as it makes the interaction more personal and more unique, and when done right this builds loyalty and trust. If you want lifelong brand advocates, it’s your responsibility to not just use but to also respect customer data, apply it appropriately and deliver the valuable experiences that benefit them, in the right place, at the right time.

See how technology brands like Philips are building customer loyalty in OpenMarket’s Empathetic Interactions ebook.

Author – Adam Palczewski, Ecommerce & Digital Marketing at Philips.

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