Real-time planning: Track the data on the dashboard

Neil Charles

Real-time planning is a tactical tool that, through analysis of customer behavioural data, enables the short-term refinement of communications strategy, explains Neil Charles of Mediacom.

Real-time planning is one of those marketing terms that has a danger of meaning different things to different people, so I'd like to start off with a brief definition. For me, real-time planning means adapting marketing schedules on the fly, in reaction to new data about how customers behave.

The challenge that this type of adaptable marketing presents is to process new data and then react quickly enough, to take advantage of opportunities as they are identified. However, too often, marketers expect data on its own to be enough and that deep insights will reveal themselves if only we can bring different data sources together. Analysts have known for a long time that this is rarely the case, but large quantities of consumer data are seductive. Surely we could build a more efficient, more flexible media schedule if we had more up- to-date tracking of consumer behaviour?