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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistWed, Sep 17, 2014 4 min read

The Role Of ‘Real-Time’ In The Digital Business Marketplace

80716192The digital business marketplace is constantly being shifted, molded and tweaked with ferocity; dealing with an ever-increasing pace of change is one of the biggest challenges businesses face.

Markets change. Technologies explode. And customer expectations follow suit: They become loftier, more rigid and more difficult to attain – but you've got to keep up. You need a way to unite all your business insights and initiatives in real-time. What's real-time look like?

Defining "Real-Time"

Unfortunately, there is no concrete definition for real-time, and it means different things for different digital business professionals. Fortunately, a concrete definition is not as important as understanding its concepts. It's knowing these subtle differences in definition that help key decision-makers find better solutions to their problems. Let's look at a few of the ways digital business professionals see “real-time.”

1. As A Function Of Responsiveness

Latency has an impact on "real-time." Latency is a term to describe the time it takes for a website or app to respond to user interaction. Of course, the faster, the better – if customers click on a link and it takes more than a few milliseconds to load, they're gone.

2. As A Tool For Information

For many digital businesses, updated information is the most important use of "real-time." In an ever-changing environment, information has an incredibly short shelf-life. If you're working with obsolete data, your decisions are outdated before they're even implemented. Smart business insights rely on up-to-date information.

3. As A Human Component

Humans see "real-time" through a different lens. Think about an online video game. When you're in the heat of battle or just about to level up, you won't stand for lag time – especially if you're playing with a group of friends. Any digital medium must understand that it's competing with face-to-face conversations; in order to thrive, these interactions must be flawless and fast.

Real-Time Opportunities

All the various concepts and definitions of "real-time" don't diminish (or even complicate) its importance. On the contrary, understanding all the different takes on the applications of "real-time" is what makes businesses able to recognize and seize lucrative opportunities in an environment that's evolving at blistering speeds. Because of the abundant definitions of real-time, digital businesses have a chance to use their (and their customers') definitions as opportunities to develop new, better ways to solve customers' problems.

The lesson for digital marketing is this: Digital technologies are essential for customer interaction, but all the effort it takes to develop these tools is done behind the scenes.

End-users and consumers necessarily see the final product, but you need to dedicate real effort into delivering real-time results with no lags or bugs. As with most technologies, customers only notice a feature when it's broken or missing…and at that point, they'll move on to someone who's got it right.

For optimizing your business, you need real-time insights and metrics to identify areas where you're thriving and spots that need improvement. Without real-time data, you're simply unable to seize the opportunities presented in your market – because you won't even see them.

Start Today Tip: Sit down and develop your own definition of "real-time," taking into account what you and your customers expect from something that claims to be real-time. Are you using real-time to make internal business decisions, or are you focusing on developing technologies that deliver a real-time experience for your users? What are your goals from accessing real-time information? Once you develop a loose definition, set goals and explore different opportunities that get you closer to achieving those goals.

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.