If marketers could read the minds of their target audience, it would make their jobs much easier. Unfortunately, we are yet to find anyone who has the skill of telepathy, but what some people are skilled at, with the help of machine learning, is predictive marketing.
What is predictive marketing and sales?
Predictive marketing is where marketers leverage data to identify trends that can help them predict the behaviour of potential customers, curve sales trends and marketing outcomes. Rather than taking a shot in the dark, this technique allows marketers to build strategies that are based on real analytics, so they know what is likely to succeed and what methods have a higher probability of failure. So when marketers are approaching campaigns like email marketing, they’re armed with the best insights as well as the best email marketing softwares to ensure that their campaign gets results.
This technique is also known as predictive analytics or forecasting and it works by using historic and current data to predict future patterns. So this isn’t really anything new, marketers have been able to leverage data in this way in the past. However, modern day techniques involve the use of software like artificial intelligence, making this a flexible technique for marketers and different types of businesses. What was once the playing field for giants like eBay and Amazon is now attainable and easy to implement. Businesses might adopt this predictive marketing to offer their target audience a personalised approach and source more profitable leads.
But predictive marketing does not come without its challenges, the biggest of them being the danger of creating silos of data and conversely, too varying a range of insights which can either give marketers too much information or not enough. The challenge is to find a sweet spot.
The good news is that it’s not impossible, over time your datasets will develop, giving you more effective insights. There actually a range of ways you can use these predictive analytics to bolster your sales and predicting customer behaviour is just one of them.
Ways you can use predictive analytics to boost your sales and marketing strategies
Build on your current leads and accounts
When you have vast quantities of data ready to go, using predictive analytics can be useful for your team in prioritising and qualifying leads and accounts. It does this by allowing you to create priority lists of those who are more likely to act upon targeted marketing, determine up-selling and cross-selling prospects all by creating more personalised messages. Applying these tactics to your current sales accounts reduce costs in the long run and offer the potential to build stronger customer relationships.
Getting it right the first time
No matter where a customer is on their journey through your sales funnel if ensuring that your customers don’t leave the funnel is your aim then timing is everything. Not only do you need to try and catch your customer at a point when they are ready to part with their cash but the content needs to attract the customer to make a purchase. Personalisation is one of the key methods of attracting a customer who is ready to buy your products or services and predictive marketing can assist you with this with the right data. This data might come from your priority leads, in other words, people who tick all the boxes for making a purchase. Marketers will also use this in conjunction with churn prevention software (e.g. RapidMiner) can help identify customers that are at risk of taking their business elsewhere. Once they are identified, you can target them with timely content that encourages them to stick with your company and stay in the funnel.
Launching new products and services
It doesn’t matter how well your business is doing, launching something new is always tricky. Not only have you put lots of work into your new product but you don’t know how your audience is going to respond and nobody wants to launch a non-starter. Businesses use predictive analytics to take the speculation out of launching a new product or service from the get go. Before you’ve even developed your new product, you can use your customer data to evaluate how they would respond to a new product and whether there is a market for it.
Improve current strategies and implement new ones
The opportunity to improve your current processes is one that should not be overlooked. Creating more effective strategies produces more successful outcomes and over time saves money. This is an example of how predictive marketing can work with your long-term KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Whether you have bulks of data or just setting out, as time goes on the quality of the data you leverage will improve, providing you with more succinct insights that will enable you to deliver better strategies without all of the guesswork.