Predictive Marketing is here to stay. There are several marketing influencers today that truly can impact the image of your brand and the connection with the consumer. Some are explored here as they present the 6 ways that predictive marketing can transform your brand. Most are common sense, but in reality so few even recognize the impact of this basic thoughts and strategies. However, be aware to commit to predictive marketing requires that you totally commit. To own a tennis racket and not play doesn’t make sense nor does investing in technology that you don’t fully implement. Check it out and learn what Predictive Marketing can do for your company, and brand.
Six Ways Predictive Marketing Can Transform Your Brand
by Pete Sena
Predictive marketing is typically discussed in the context of how it can drive brand or business value.
- Big data reveals what your customers are actually looking for, which is more accurate than what they say they’re looking for in surveys.
- Smart companies are creating integrated, agile cross-functional teams that work together, using data from, and for, all departments.
- Too many companies start with how they’ll do predictive marketing, and skip over why they want to in the first place.
I’d like to go a step beyond that possibility and posit that the real potential of predictive marketing is even greater. It can help transform your brand itself. Everything from product development and customer experience to the way departments work together can be impacted for the better once you dive into the data lake. Companies of all sizes can see the positive impact of measuring data and acting on the insights.
Here are six ways you can leap in and transform your company. Come on in–the water’s fine.
1. Deliver a better brand experience through personalization: Platforms are emerging that give B2B and B2C marketers important insights into what their customers want and need. If you’re paying attention, you can use this data to connect with your customers by providing exactly what they’re looking for.
Marketing cloud platforms can help brands personalize their merchandising strategies. These new services allow you to track customer identities across platforms and channels, watch for buying signals, deliver the right message, and tighten up the sales cycle. With our retail brand clients at Digital Surgeons, we use persona-driven cohorts to understand how a customer is moving through the retail experience, both digitally and in physical retail. When we apply what we learn, Web sites can be built to provide a smoother experience personalized to drive sales or conversion.
Brands can also leverage marketing automation platforms that enable IP segmentation and custom lead scoring to nurture leads specific to where they are in the funnel. They help produce highly targeted email campaigns, track response rates and downloads, and attract genuinely engaged prospects to your sales teams. Some of my colleagues are even using these technologies to dynamically create ads purely with past behavioral patterns and natural language processing.
2. Transform traditional pricing models: Responsive pricing has been around for years with hotels and airlines. As savvy consumers, we all know a hotel room will be 30% less on Tuesday than on Friday, and that if you want to fly home to see the folks, you’ll save hundreds of dollars if you wait until after the holidays.
Now, as powerful pricing analytics software becomes available, elastic pricing models are starting to pop up in other industries. Algorithm-driven pricing will give every brand manager willing to fork over the cash the power of a trading-desk-style machine than can adjust prices not just for the market, but the context. Rain detected in an area and demand for umbrellas up? No problem. Price elasticity can be controlled real-time automatically with your add-on of choice.
U.K. home improvement company B&Q, for example, uses digital product tags to test variable pricing in its Castarama stores in France, changing prices in real time based on product demand and store traffic. And car service company Uber uses “surge pricing” to maximize margins during peak travel times.
Large retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Target are pioneers at creating and leveraging algorithms and user behavior to adjust prices on the fly for thousands of products every few minutes. But with new enterprise SaaS startups coming online, smaller brands will also be able to set pricing across channels, collect data, and provide on-demand elastic fulfillment.
3. Connect your brand to the consumer’s context: Understanding your customers’ context gives you a better shot at understanding what they want–and selling it to them. That’s why a good restaurant server might ask diners if they are celebrating a special event or visiting from out of town. Data analytics makes it possible to gather that context and give a personalized sales experience to customers you’ll never speak to in person.
The Weather Company partners with companies to offer insights based on 75 years of collecting data about the weather, such as when there’s likely to be a surge on air conditioner sales. Unilever (a former client of ours) leveraged weather data to target advertising for hair-smoothing products to women in humid areas and volumizing products to women in drier ZIP codes.
Today, we can know a customer’s location, whether they’re on a mobile device, and even whether they’re walking or standing still. All of these tidbits can help you infer intent, which is the ultimate insight into context and, combined, let you offer a tailor-made experience. Smart brands are using new marketing tools that bridge offline and online data so they can personalize across multiple channels.
4. Develop smarter products … and smarter product development: Innovation on anything, I believe, takes a four-point approach: capital, strategy, execution, and design. After all, vision without execution is merely hallucination.
Sometimes the fastest route to market is by tapping into data on how customers use existing products. And big data reveals what your customers are actually looking for, which is more accurate than what they say they’re looking for in surveys. Those insights can prompt brainstorming for new services and complementary revenue streams.
With some of Digital Surgeons’ food clients, for example, we’re using customer data and macro/micro cultural trends to source new flavor ideas. With technology brands, we use data to brainstorm feature improvements to their applications and user experience.
Marketing and advertising have all too often been about just throwing something at the wall until we see what sticks, but that model is a relic. Instead of analyzing data after something launches, we have the ability to comb data while it launches. Now we can make real-time decisions and pivot to take advantage of new insights–not just with marketing campaigns, but with product development and content creation as well.
5. Create smarter content: The way to connect with customers is to find an insight and speak to that person. That’s true of billboards, and it’s true of social media. Now big data allows you to apply the concept of price elasticity to your content marketing efforts and stop wasting time creating pieces that aren’t aligned with your business goals. New content marketing automation tools track customer journeys and identify which pieces of content they interacted with before committing to a purchase, giving you a better idea of the value of each lead magnet, blog post, or tweet.
Instead of just papering the world with content and crossing your fingers, content scoring lets you make smarter decisions about where to focus your efforts and how to replicate past successes. It also gives a window into what your customers are really interested in and what problems they’re trying to solve.
6. Break down your silos by investing in collaboration: Harvard professor and ethnographer Linda Hill studies the most innovative and creative companies, asking how they can innovate at scale or how they can embed creativity into the mind-set of their teams. I highly recommend her TED Talk on the subject of “collective genius.”
If you’re reading between the lines, you might start to notice a common thread: When predictive marketing and big data are used to their full potential, it involves more than just the marketing team–and definitely more than just the data scientists on your team. If your company is dedicated to implementing insights from big data, you’ll see department silos being broken down left and right, and you’ll unleash the collective genius of your organization.
For predictive marketing to be its most effective, your marketing team needs to work closely with product development, business development, sales, research, customer service, and engineering to share insights and make quick decisions. These days, smart companies are creating integrated, agile cross-functional teams that work together, using data from, and for, all departments.
The Story Of The Ferrari And The Garage: How Not To Do Predictive Marketing
Too many companies start with how they’ll do predictive marketing, and skip over why they want to in the first place. That leads to splurging on pricey analytics platforms and spending countless hours sorting data only to come up with insights that aren’t inherently connected with the true needs of the business.
Or they’ll buy a platform but skimp on the training they need to use it effectively. It’s like I say to my clients all the time: Let’s not buy the Ferrari and leave it in the garage. Often the cost of an analytics platform is marginal when compared to the cost of deploying it so you can derive useful insight from it.
Like any potentially transformative tool, predictive marketing won’t do anything for your company if you’re going about it the wrong way. But if you dive in wholeheartedly, with a solid understanding of your company’s goals and the platform, the benefits will be immense.