Marketing is usually described as what you say (and how you say it) to convince somebody that your product or service is worth buying.

But real-time marketing is something else again. And ad agencies, digital marketers, and PR firms are scrambling to get in on the act, because, apparently, it pays off big time.

So, what is it? Real-time marketing is the act of determining what a potential buyer wants right this minute – and pitching it – now! It can range from smartphone coupons to online popup ads and more, all tailored to meeting customers’ immediate needs.

A survey by real-time marketing solutions company Evergage found that 76 percent of marketers described it as “personalized content or creative in response to customer interactions.” And some 88 percent of those surveyed noted it is an important component of their 2014 marketing programs.

Why? It works. The Evergage study found that “among the marketers that measure the ROI of their real-time marketing, a quarter sees returns of more than 50 percent and nearly as many sees 75 percent ROI.”

It’s all about monitoring those customer interactions, and not necessarily through social media.

According to a post in iMedia Connection, Evergage CMO Arthur Sweetser notes: “Real-time marketing has grown beyond social media.”

Interestingly, the late twentieth-century business guru Peter Drucker may well have been talking about real-time marketing when he said, The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well [that] the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

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