An exciting marketing capability is gaining momentum that engages customers "in the moment" based on real time events through marketing offer optimization. This goes well beyond the traditional approaches of personalization by leveraging optimization and predictive analytic techniques rather than static rules. As a customer interacts with a merchant (e.g., enters a store, visits a website), the merchant intelligently engages with the customer with real time offers and communication to significant improve conversion of a sales opportunity.
When marketers and technology professionals are exploring how to implement to real time offers, there is often confusion on what role CRM plays. CRM is not sufficient to deliver real time offers. Rather, CRM is an important partner to real time offers with each process helping the other.
The ability to execute real time offers requires a combination of complex capabilities including data virtualization, eventing, decision frameworks and decision integration into business operations (e.g., website, mobile app, trigger email). The process is highlighted in the figure below and more details can be found at How to Execute Real Time Decisions.
Role of CRM in Real Time Offers
As you can see from the process flow above, CRM plays two important roles with real time offers.
1) CRM provides an important source of information into the virtualized data store used for real time offers. Data elements like customer profile, transaction history and contact history coupled with the "event" data can be powerful inputs into the decision frameworks (e.g., optimization, rules engine, complex event processing).
2) Real time customer engagement creates new data elements. Each customer "event" with the associated "decision" and ultimately the customer response to the "decision" (e.g., did he or she review, discard or convert the offer) provide tremendous insight into the customer about what his or her interests are and what is motivating.
This data should be stored in CRM to enhance any other business process that consumes CRM data. For example, the target list generation for email marketing campaigns can be greatly informed by the real time offer interaction history. Of course as outlined in 1), this data should be passed along back into the virtualized data store to help improve the next real time offer decision. This essentially creates a virtual cycle of improvement with marketing effectiveness.
CRM does not deliver real time offers nor is real time offers a replacement for CRM. You can have one without the other but having both work together seamlessly can create tremendous value and synergy.