Brands aren't being as effective as they think they are with real-time marketing strategies, a study reveals.

You want real-time marketing. You believe real-time web marketing is the key to driving business results. With all of the technology and data at your fingertips, you should be able to harness actionable data and execute corresponding studies nearly immediately. On the contrary, a study conducted by Razorfish and Adobe suggests companies are not nearly as fast or analytics-savvy as they perceive.

Of 685 C-level professionals in business, technology and marketing, 58 percent think they’re proficient at segmenting target audiences and creating tailored experiences for those demographics. In reality, just 13 percent are providing segmented experiences and even less do it in real-time. Not even 5 percent of those surveyed can manage interactions in an “always-on manner,” which the study defines as “data-driven, content-led experiences delivered across devices in real time.

Just 13 percent of businesses are providing segmented experiences and even less do it in real-time. 

In fact, fewer than one in five have the necessary architecture in place to execute these kinds of strategies in the first place. Companies won’t be able to identify repeat visitors as they cross channels and greet them with targeted content when they return if they don’t have the right technology and content creation processes.

Be ambitious, but do the work

With more data at our fingertips than ever, it’s reasonable to get ambitious about our ability to anticipate and respond to customers. But, that doesn’t mean every business with a website and an SEO specialist is positioned to become a real-time marketing master. You need to put in the resources (and human-power) required the reap the benefits.

For now, a lot of brands are seeing powerful results with social listening. What sounds like a fancy term of reading Tweets and Facebook posts is actually a concept that forces marketers to keep their ear to the social door, following relevant hashtags and paying attention to industry discussions. They can then draw on information gathered from these discussions to craft pieces that seamlessly carry the conversation forward, write headlines that directly address stakeholders’ concerns and answer prospects’ questions without missing a beat.

A social listening approach may not be as sexy as the real-time approach you envisioned, but it could be the most reliable way to bridge the gap that currently separates goals and results for most companies.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.