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Why The Time is Ripe for Predictive Marketing

The Rise of Predictive Marketing

Predictive marketing works by taking all the data in the world – from both internal (e.g., CRM, marketing automation, etc.) and external (e.g., blogs, websites, government sites, social media channels, etc.) sources and applying modern data science to questions such as:

Who is going to be my next customer? How do I convert them? How can I find more of these ideal customers?

It’s more than staring into a crystal ball or reaching out to a clairvoyant. Predictive analytics and machine learning are what makes it possible.. Though it may feel foreign to marketers, predictive analytics is recognized as the wave of the future when it comes to uncovering fresh insights into the prospect and customer base. After all, by taking advantage of the democratization of data science and applying new technology tools to the wealth of data at their disposal, marketers can now discover new buyer insights. In turn they can better predict how prospective buyers and existing customers will respond to messages, offers, and interactions using a groundbreaking method called predictive lead scoring.

It’s no wonder that predictive analytics is emerging as central to the modern marketing organization. By leveraging data science to make sense of all the data in their midst, leading B2B marketers are marketing and selling more intelligently.

Picking Up Where Marketing Automation Leaves Off

Perhaps you’re thinking, “I’m already marketing efficiently by using marketing automation.” It’s true that marketing automation software can streamline the marketing process from end to end. It can also track the historic behavior of prospects.

However, from a performance standpoint, the best that marketing automation can do is provide a view into what happened in the past. For example, it can show how prospects responded to various marketing channels, or which campaigns performed better than others. From that point however, you need to figure out how to improve results going forward.

Modern marketers recognize the need to build on top of the marketing automation foundation, to find a way to be more predictive and prescriptive. In other words, they are seeking ways to identify the likelihood of future events and determine the best course of action based on that information. And at a time when marketing is being measured more directly against top-line revenues, it’s critical to predict what prospects are likely to do next. Imagine being able to predict:

Which companies may be the best targets What marketing activity is most likely to yield the best results How much new revenue could potentially be generated

By moving from hindsight to foresight, marketers can do just that. With predictive marketing, all this is possible.

The Time is Ripe for Predictive Marketing

Why is predictive marketing a must-have? For one, 25% of all Fortune 500 companies and 76% of the largest SaaS providers are using marketing automation, and overall adoption rates are above 50% for SMBs and 70%+ in larger organizations. Many of the marketers that embraced the promise of marketing automation have pushed the software to its limits. They’ve refined their campaigns and messaging based on the information they’ve been able to collect via the system. They’ve improved efficiencies but are now looking for ways to actually optimize their performance.

At the same time, as more B2B organizations seek to win over entire buying committees involved in purchase decisions, they are moving from pure contact-level to strategic account-level marketing. Marketing automation was developed around the concept of a contact database and for that reason, most of these systems are less adept at addressing entire accounts versus individuals. Yet marketers cannot afford to ignore the wealth of buying signals that surround all those involved in a purchase decision.

Hand in hand with this, previously only the most sophisticated companies had the data and data scientists to make use of predictive analytics. In the past, if marketers wanted to make marketing more predictive, they were forced to rely on a team of highly trained data scientists using complex analytic platforms to build data-science models from scratch. Since these data teams were often a shared resource across the organization, marketers often waited weeks or months to have their requests fulfilled and crossed their fingers hoping their business need was clearly understood. Now, however, the power of predictive analytics is accessible to any company.  By using all the data in the world, you can optimize your revenue funnel to simultaneously improve conversion rates, increase revenue and improve lead velocity. Predictive marketing amplifies your measurable marketing initiatives and provides an added level of performance transparency not achievable in the past.

A new generation of predictive marketing applications are harnessing the power of machine learning to democratize their use by actual business users rather than PhDs.

Best-in-class marketing teams are following the lead of Internet giants like Amazon.com to build predictive models that combine profile and behavioral indicators with thousands of signals from the Web, social media, news and dozens of other sources. In essence, they’re tapping into all the criteria that indicate a lead is a likely buyer. By using all the data in the world, every marketer – including you – can optimize their revenue funnel to simultaneously improve conversion rates, increase revenue and improve lead velocity.

And adding a more agile predictive approach to marketing is critical as marketing teams look to get closer to prospects through a much richer set of buying triggers.

   Image Credit(s):                Steven Mculloch                    

Written by

Amanda Maksymiw
April 16, 2014

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