For a great many marketers out there, the aspect of predictive analytics is the future. However, before we delve into that point, let’s look at the proper definition of predictive analytics. Basically, it is the process of giving brands the capability to automate certain market responses in any specific customer scenario across the board.
As a process, it not only requires a complete overhaul of most companies attitude towards technology as a whole, but there is also the aspect of constant testing and learning on the go.
Nowadays, there is little doubt of the fact that predictive marketing is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. How else do you plan to foresee customer buying decision in the near future? Although let’s be honest, most marketers out there are really not sure about where exactly to start with the process.
On the topic of Big Data, there is little doubt of the fact that it has established itself in innumerable marketing departments across the globe. This is mainly because of the fact that it enables the organizations to assess the interaction level of all of the customers at an extremely intimate and minute level.
At this rate, you can be absolutely certain of the fact that most marketers out there are utilizing it to predict both the past and future trends. As far as predictive analytics is concerned, there is more than enough proof of the fact that a large majority of companies all across the board as slowly planning to and have even begun investing in the aspect of predictive analytics.
A Forbes Insight report shows that having surveyed a good 306 execs from companies that generated $20 million or more in annual revenue, 86% of the companies had personally witnessed a successful increase on investment. This is after having utilized certain key predictive marketing initiatives for two years.
Why are predictive analytics so important?
To most businessmen out there who are not that familiar with the aspect itself, answering this question is extremely important. After all, why is the aspect of predictive analytics so important? For this, we need to take a good look at the last decade and how marketers have seemingly shifted from an outbound focus to a dual focus of both outbound as well as inbound.
This is mainly due to a literal explosion of data, thanks to the wide proliferation of various digital channels, an upsurge in the use of mobiles as well as the overall rise of eCommerce and social media. For all those of you thinking that this indicates the end of tough days for most marketers, please do bear in mind that there are many additional challenges to be dealt with.
The challenges are dealing with an unprecedentedly huge volume of both structured and unstructured data as well as a plethora of design marketing initiatives that are dependent on other aspects. These other aspects such as triggers and events are not within the control of any marketer.
How to create a predictive analytics model ?
The first step up the ladder of success is to focus on taking a thoroughly structured approach towards creating a detailed predictive analytics model. There are a few proper ways to go about doing this:-
- Firstly, make sure that you thoroughly define your goals: For this, you need to ask yourself the main question “What exactly are you trying to solve?”. Then only can you thoroughly get down to defining your goals.
- Quantifying the overall success of the task: Make sure that you identify the sources of data, clean up the data and map it across different plans.
- Building initial predictive models and testing them out: Testing the models out is essential if you are to find out whether they are working properly and providing accurate information.
- Lastly, make sure that all of the steps are actionable, accurate as well as insightful: You need to understand the basic fact of the matter, being that predictive analytics is a science by itself. This automatically means that there will be a fair amount of recalibrating to do from your end.
The main benefits of predictive analytics
The main benefits of a predictive analytics model is something that everyone needs to keep in mind:-
1. The targeted profiling of customers:
Predictive analytics does indeed help in mapping out the different journeys and identities of various customers across the board. This, in turn, gives marketers a much better understanding of how customers are likely to respond to a particular marketing activity.
2. The optimization of customer intelligence:
We can plan our marketing initiatives much better if we have a basic and more intimate understanding of our customer base in general. This can be achieved by pairing predictive analytics with customer data.
3. The ability to create marketing campaigns that are impactful and measurable:
On the whole, predictive analytics mainly look for micro patterns in data. Hence, personalized campaigns can be much more impactful as well as measurable.
4. The optimization of loyalty:
Let’s face it - the time one invests in acquiring a new customer is much higher than simply retaining the existing ones. Once you identify those customers that display a certain attrition risk, you will be able to interact with them and take the proper measures to prevent the loss of customers.
5. The identification of various growth opportunities as well as new trends:
In this particular aspect, there is little doubt of the fact that predictive analytics is extremely helpful. Additionally, if one happens to have a better idea of the pain points of the industry, industries can tweak their particular service/product to suit the requirements of their customers.
6. High-quality lead generation:
Predictive analytics also enables the marketers to gauge the propensity of the customers to buy, with a much greater level of accuracy. This will enable the marketing team of the company to provide high quality leads to the sales team.
How to use predictive analytics for your next digital marketing campaign?
Having spoken about the benefits of predictive analytics, let’s take a look at the next step - how to implement it into your digital marketing strategy in the best possible way:-
1. The improvement of your customers segmentation analysis:
The process of segregating people based on needs can now be applied in extremely innovative ways. This can be done by compiling more demographic data or even channeling most of your focus on psychographic data to gain a better insight into the motivations and interests of your customers.
2. Creating more precisely targeted customer personas:
With customer personas, you need to ask yourself an extremely important question - In order to yield the highest conversion rates, how, where and when should I target some of the most profitable segments? Knowing the answer will lead you to score better leads as well as get a better customer experience on the whole.
3. Smoothening your market automation process:
This is a sure-shot way to help you convert new leads into customers. This can only be done once you demonstrate that you understand them and their needs. In this regard, you really need to have a special attention for detail.
4. Reducing churn:
Consider this - It ends up costing a good five times more to acquire a new customer than retaining an existing one. Hence your focus needs to be reducing churn. In this regard, the specific trends of churn-risk customers and various marketing campaigns can be used to target the cause of those risks.
Predictive analytics in the future:
It is difficult to say with absolute certainty, but one can talk about the state of predictive analytics in the present. Nowadays, we not only have self-learning technology, but also the ability to focus on a one-to-one interaction with our customers from any part of the world. Surely one cannot say that things were this easy a couple of years ago.
On that note, all the aforementioned aspects combined with the fact that technology can process a humongous amount of data in this day and age, are all set to create a game-changing future. Surely it will not be too much of a stretch to imagine that most aspects will be automated in the future due to the ever-growing potential of technology.
At this point in times, it’s fair to say that marketers on the whole are at a tipping point with regard to understanding just how much traditional database marketing and analytics have changed over the past few years. People are beginning to realize just how much data can be processed by technology as well.
However, one of the main drawbacks is that we are still limited to thinking about the future keeping the current marketing capabilities in mind. In a good two to three decades, what the nature of jobs and marketing will be is anyone’s guess.
However, one thing is for sure. The companies that don’t end up using predictive analysis will find it very difficult or almost impossible to efficiently compete with other companies that do.
Additionally, there is also the fact that one of the most biggest challenges with regard to employing predictive analysis in marketing, will be honing the ability to test out various actions and subsequently analyse their implications on both revenue and sales. In the future, this is exactly where the concept of cognitive computing or machine learning come into the fray.
Sahil is the CEO and Founder of Rankwatch - a platform, which helps companies and brands stay ahead with their SEO efforts in the ever growing internet landscape. Sahil likes making creative products that can help in the automation of mundane tasks and he can spend endless nights implementing new technologies and ideas. You can connect with him and the Rankwatch team on Facebook or Twitter.