Real-time personalization: is it just the latest in a long line of industry buzzwords? Or, is it an accepted best practice that can propel your omnichannel customer experiences forward? Like many other aspects of digital marketing, there’s a lot of speculation and misunderstanding surrounding this advanced strategy.

So, what’s the truth when it comes to real-time personalization? How do individually tailored interactions fueled by first-party data at the moment of engagement impact your bottom-line results?

In short, real-time personalization that combines the unique shopper profile data and preferences you’ve collected with live elements like countdown timers, dynamic messaging and imagery, embedded video, click-to-reveal offers, and more outperform static, ‘one-size-fits-all’ experiences every time.

Still, a few dangerous myths refuse to leave marketing conversations. Which is especially problematic given that there’s never been a more important time to build relevant, empathetic, and meaningful long-term customer relationships. So, let’s quit wasting time and start busting the industry’s 4 biggest myths to give you the info you need to know.

1. Real-time personalization isn’t worth the investment

As enterprise marketing efforts mature and customer expectations continue to evolve, traditional personalization tactics are falling out of favor because they’re not delivering the results they once did. That customized [FIRSTNAME] token in your email subject line just doesn’t deliver the punch it used to. Plus, many of these measures rely on third-party data and cookies that will be as extinct as the dinosaurs by the end of 2022.

Unfortunately — as is the case when any new strategy or technology is implemented — marketers fear an expensive, time-consuming rollout. And this fear of the unknown as budgets stretch thinner and thinner is adding fuel to the fire that gives this falsehood traction in too many of today’s boardrooms.

In reality, research supports real-time personalization’s power to drive more shopper activity by using your first-party data to more effectively deliver value and unforgettable cross-channel experiences tailored to every customer’s unique tastes. And it doesn’t take as much time or work as you might think to make a reality, either. In fact, brands utilizing real-time personalization can see 17% more revenue than those still stuck on the basics every year.

Before 2005, marketers knew only anecdotally that personalized messages outperformed batch-and-blast emails. Then, a pioneering study by David Daniels and Jupiter Research changed the marketing game forever.

Because the two discovered that dynamic content with the ability to adapt to changing clickstream behaviors drives higher engagement rates, clicks, and conversions than static, non-personalized alternatives. Not to mention produced nine times more revenue than the average mass message, too.

And that was back when most digital marketers had a fraction of the data they work with now as well as no way to analyze and put it into action quickly. Today, it’s a totally different story. Adding real-time personalization into your omnichannel messages can be as simple as a few extra clicks in the same place you already build your digital marketing campaigns. Enabling you to maximize the ROI generated by your first-party data-driven outreach.

2. Everyone thinks it’s creepy

You’ve undoubtedly experienced an uncannily accurate ad online or received an eerily timely message from a company you weren’t expecting to hear from. And — depending on where you work — may have even built a few yourself.

Yes, people can get (understandably) unnerved when they see messages personalized with up-to-the-minute data that they didn’t expect your brand to have. Or, if they don’t trust how your marketing team will use their data. 

Still, shoppers of all ages (and especially younger shoppers) prefer personalized experiences that use the data they submit to deliver more valuable interactions in return. They’ll happily share personal information if you make the engagement easy, fun, and focused on how it benefits them — and shun anyone that doesn’t get it right.

That’s why it’s so important to acquire and treat first-party data in an ethical, respectful manner. And why real-time personalization marketing is the most effective way to deliver the customer experience your loyal shoppers expect after submitting their individual interests, preferences, and more. 

Personalized insights connected to a purposeful message with clear value to the individual reader is the furthest thing from creepy. Combined with the ability to adapt to moment-of-engagement changes, this best practice delivers a rewarding interaction for everybody involved.

3. You need a lot of first-party data to get started

Nope. With as little as one first-party data point such as when a subscriber joins your email newsletter list you can power everything from a welcome email to an embedded live survey to an automatically triggered campaign purely with the insights you’ve collected over the course of your customer relationships.

Or, you can pull real-time data from your email client and act on that if their personal data profile is lacking information like device used, real-time inventory levels, and time of day creates a relevant, one-to-one connection even without customer data on-hand.  Or, it takes the impact of the info you do have to an entirely new level.

After all, the more data you have, the more you can personalize. And the more you personalize, the more likely you are to see upwards of $20 in ROI for every dollar spent.

4. Real-time personalization is too difficult to deploy

Every day, bad emails make money. But, as the Relevancy Group’s results above show, interactive content enhanced by real-time personalization and strategically placed personal info has the potential to make a lot more. Especially if it’s as easy as a drag-and-drop builder and a few clicks to implement.

That being said, we won’t lie to you because this post’s purpose is to do precisely the opposite. Setting up an effective, real-time personalization strategy across your digital channels is a little more complicated than putting together a broadcast campaign. You have to identify any first-party data insights needed, figure out how to capture them, set up automated rules for using it, and create omnichannel messages that put it to use.

Look for a real-time personalization partner that not only knows how to do the advanced work, but has already done much of it for you and doesn’t need hours of IT work to integrate with your database and email sending platform.

Even better, find one that gives you the best of both experiences. Our native Liveclicker integration puts the power of real-time personalization into your Marigold Engage by Sailthru customer data profiles by adding the library of dynamic, moment-of-engagement elements that makes our sister brand famous directly into your cross-channel templates and campaigns.