Exploring The Cutting-Edge: Predictive Marketing Analytics
Columnist Mary Wallace explains how predictive analytics can be used to reach out to the right buyers at the right moment based on the big-data power of predictive lead scoring
Predictive analytics is not new. At least the concept has been around for years. Marketers have historically tried to use past performances to steer the direction of new programs and predict the results. Sometimes marketers were right, and sometimes they weren’t.
Enter marketing automation and the ability to score leads based on digital body language. Leads that were active within company emails and websites were scored high and sent to sales. Sales could now focus on those prospective buyers that were active…and therefore interested in buying.
The ability to focus the sales effort was improved again with predictive analytics that helped uncover the right pattern of traits and profiles of customers or prospects most likely to buy or those that have the greatest revenue potential. In a nut shell, the predictive analytics engine could look at a wide variety of data and systemically predict the composition of the best leads.
The Data Explosion
With the advent of big data, marketers can leverage even more diverse data and crunch to optimize marketing focus and spend. The data available to be used includes company data from marketing automation platforms as well as intent data from across the web.
Think TCP/IP log files, form submissions, email activity outside of the environment your marketing organization controls, and even publicly available databases that show growth trends and buying patterns. But big data is more complex and you’ll need data scientists to study it. Kind of like insurance agencies need actuaries to analyze health trends.
In a conversation with Alison Murdock, VP of Marketing at predictive intelligence tool 6sense, she told me:
[blockquote]Unlike predictive lead scoring, which uses heuristics and static attributes to rank score existing leads, predictive intelligence taps into behavioral data from CRM and marketing automation and the much larger B2B web to identify buyers who are actually in market to buy specific products or solutions.[/blockquote]
Putting Insights Into Action
Having great insights only has value if the insights leads to a positive result.
Here are 6 great advantages that predictive intelligence can deliver to your marketing organization:
- Get The Right Leads To Sales. Predictive intelligence is providing double digit increases in sales conversions by leveraging the digital footprints buyers leave as they do research. In a B2B context, Murdock says it’s possible to tap into the signals of the decision-makers and predict with more than 85% accuracy who is going to buy (both accounts and contacts), when they are going to buy, and what they are going to buy. One 6sense client realized a 450x increase in conversions from marketing-qualified leads to sales-qualified leads (MQL-to-SQL conversions).
- Optimize Buyer Personas. The more that is known about buyers the more the message and communication can be tailored to meeting pain points and activating them. By coupling what is already known about buyers with predictive analytics, the right patterns or traits can be uncovered.
- Better Segment Your Data. Because you have more and disparate information on your leads, you can see them from multiple angles. This allows more sophisticated segmentation which then results in a laser focus on the right leads with the right message. As a result, campaigns are more successful, and budget and resources are focused on who in the market will buy.
- Nurture With More Personalized Messages. “When marketers are more strategic and personalized with their outreach, the result is significant boosts in MQL-to-SQL conversions, close-rates, and ultimately, revenues,” Brian Kardon of Lattice Engines told me.
- Focus Your Marketing Spend. Knowing where your buyers are allows you to target your budget to get the optimal results. With predictive intelligence you can determine which events to participate in, which content syndication providers to use, and even how to improve your direct mail results. One client of Lattice Engines experienced a 20% reduction in cost to produce the same number of leads by using the information provided through predictive intelligence.
- Shape Future Products & Solutions. Leveraging pain points and industry trends new product can be created and existing products can be modified to better meet the buyer’s needs.
Predictive intelligence can empower marketers to be better at what they are already doing and to focus where the buyers are. Getting started doesn’t require a sophisticated environment. What is needed is baseline data from your marketing and sales organization. And many of today’s tools integrate easily within the existing marketing stack.
The more disenfranchised data that is available and can be assimilated into the analytics process the better the marketing results. And that could include up to 85% accuracy in determining who is going to buy.
Marketing attribution and predictive analytics: A snapshot
What it is. Marketing attribution and predictive analytics platforms are software that employ sophisticated statistical modeling and machine learning to evaluate the impact of each marketing touch a buyer encounters along a purchase journey across all channels, with the goal of helping marketers allocate future spending. Platforms with predictive analytics capabilities also use data, statistical algorithms and machine learning to predict future outcomes based on historical data and scenario building.
Why it’s hot today. Many marketers know roughly half their media spend is wasted, but few are aware of which half that is. And with tight budgets due to the economic uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are seeking to rid themselves of waste.
Attribution challenges. Buyers are using more channels and devices in their purchase journeys than ever before. The lack of attributive modeling and analytics makes it even more difficult to help them along the way.
Marketers continuing to use traditional channels find this challenge magnified. The advent of digital privacy regulations has also led to the disappearance of third-party cookies, one of marketers’ most useful data sources.
Marketing attribution and predictive analytics platforms can help marketers tackle these challenges. They give professionals more information about their buyers and help them get a better handle on the issue of budget waste.