What is Right Time Marketing?

Right time marketing is an approach to digital engagement built around automated, personalised campaigns delivered at the optimal moment, with the goal of maximising conversion rates and improving the customer experience.

What is the optimal moment? This depends on the context of the campaign and most importantly, the typical behaviour of the recipient. Right time marketing requires a comprehensive understanding of your audience and a tech stack, or engagement platform, that allows you to orchestrate multichannel campaigns at scale, and which are tailored to each recipient.

Is Right Time Marketing the same as Real Time Marketing?

No, not quite. These are two distinct concepts, albeit with plenty of overlap.

Real time marketing is essentially a form of right time marketing where the perfect moment to send the message is judged to be immediately, typically in response to a customer’s on-site or in-app activity.

You absolutely can’t talk about right time marketing without mentioning it, however.

Here are three examples of real-time interactions.

An example of right time marketing

The first campaign is something that an online sportsbook or casino company would typically run, encouraging players to add more chips and nudging them to the payments section of the app. It’s delivered while the player is active, as soon as their account balance drops to a specified level. And rather than sending this message in an email or even via SMS, they’ve chosen an in-app message which is instantly received and viewed. And crucially, it means that the customer doesn’t need to navigate away from the app to read it.

Using real time engagement to improve the customer experience

In the second example, a bank has automated an in-app message to help customers solve any potential log in or online banking issues they may be having. This is only sent once the customer has had several failed attempts to log in, guiding them towards the likely cause and best solution.

Right time marketing in the publishing industry

And thirdly, we see a breaking news alert sent from a publisher via web push. Timeliness is everything here, for both the brand and the reader. You’ll also see from the image that a campaign like this very often has an element of segmentation related to the recipient’s interests. As we’ve said, the timing of a campaign must go hand in hand with relevance.

In each instance, it’s fair to say that the message is being sent at the right time, which just happens to be straight away. There’s no scheduled send time, and there’s no set end-date for the campaigns. It’s triggered only when it’s appropriate and relevant to the customer, and runs for as long as necessary or until it’s turned off.

Two core elements of Right Time Marketing

It all comes back to data. The deeper an understanding you have of your customers, the more accurately you can predict what the right time is!

Best time to send

Send time optimisation is a form of machine learning that analyses your customer’s historical engagement, across various channels, to identify the window of time they are most likely to interact with the campaigns you send them.

And ideally, this window should continue getting smaller and smaller over time.

Send time optimisation in action for right time marketing

When using a next-gen marketing automation platform, this functionality allows you to create and execute campaigns with staggered send time based on what’s best-suited to each recipient.

In terms of use cases, this is particularly valuable for recurring campaigns e.g. newsletters and monthly promotional offers. These are not urgent, the customer doesn’t need to act on them immediately so real-time delivery is not essential. Instead, we want the customer to receive them at a time that usually suits them.

Preferred channel

In a similar vein, it’s possible to determine which outbound engagement channel each customer prefers, whether that’s email, SMS or push notification.

Of course, in practical terms, this functionality does depend on having at least two possible channels that the customer has opted in for.

Right time marketing for eCommerce brands

Note: This is one word of caution important to mention; you need plenty of campaign data in order to really get full value from machine learning. You aren’t necessarily going to be able to go from zero to a hundred overnight, it takes time to build up a solid foundation of evidence to make predictions for each customer.

But when you get there, it’s absolutely worth it!

Why “event-marketing” is not Right or Real Time Marketing

You’ve probably heard about the tweet that Oreo sent during Super Bowl 2013. The tweet had a tongue-in-cheek reference to the power outage mid-game, and people loved it. It had thousands of likes and retweets, and even won awards.

Event Marketing is not right time marketing

It seems like every time an article is written about real or right time marketing, this impromptu campaign is mentioned.

And yes, I’m aware that I’m now doing the same. But only to take issue with that fact!

This tweet is good marketing, sure, but it’s actually not a great example of right time marketing.  

Campaigns like this are one-offs, not repeatable. They are opportunistic, not automatable.  It’s more “event-marketing”, reacting to micro moments in time. There’s definitely a place for it but you can’t build a strategy around them.

And they aren’t personalised to the recipient.

To us, right time marketing is very different, and actually far more effective. Our goal is to help brands create ongoing campaigns based on predictable and recurring events throughout the customer life cycle. It’s about having automated campaigns in place to capitalise on opportunities when they arise, and connecting with customers at the time most likely to lead to a positive outcome.

This is how we’ve been able to help one of our enterprise clients, Dublin Airport Authority, achieve personalised email engagement rates of approximately 30%, with a click-through of 6%. You can read that full case study here.

And why not download our Engagement Benchmarks Guide to see how your brand compares to the industry average?