I’m a marketer, you’re a marketer. Between us we have more things to do than the stars in the universe, ain’t that right? Things that need to be measured. Things that need to be managed. And things that need to be forecasted accurately to try to optimize results, lower costs, and increase return. So how are we supposed to be able to do all this within our human capacity?
Two words: Actionable Predictions.
Now, if your familiarity with analytics is like mine with video games (none), I highly recommend reading this post that briefly explains the different stages of analytics and touches briefly about actionable predictions.
For those that have read that post or are familiar with prescriptive analytics and actionable predictions, then let’s go right ahead shall we?
Remember those stars? Those stars represent we have to accomplish in order to bring in excellent business results and, well, keep our jobs. Things like maintaining high customer loyalty and retention, increasing campaign performance, and improving sales forecasting. All these things require massive amounts of thought, data, and analytics. This is timely and resource consuming. A lot of A/B testing is required here and even more human intervention and assumptions. Lots of money is at stake here while us marketers are often running blind.
Actionable predictions help us see the light and prescribe us what we need to do to get there. They are derived from prescriptive analytics, which piggybacks on descriptive analytics (what happened) and predictive analytics (what will happen) to discover the best possible outcomes we can achieve for a specific business use case and prescribe the correct course of actions to get there.
So how can we, as marketers, leverage actionable predictions to help us exceed targets and wow our bosses?
Customer Loyalty and Retention
We all know it and we’ve all heard it: “Acquiring new customers costs five times as much as retaining current customers.” This means that keeping your customers happy and satisfied is really, really important. And whether you call it customer retention in a SaaS world or customer loyalty in the retail world or customer satisfaction in the hospitality industry, it doesn’t matter- IT ALL MEANS THE SAME THING. You need to not only give your customers what they want, you need to know what they want before they know they even want it, especially when they are on the verge of leaving.
Now, I actually sneaked in two major points there:
- Knowing what your customers want before they know it
- Predicting which customers are at risk of leaving your company
With actionable predictions you can actually take care of both of these in an automated manner. First, actionable predictions help you understand which type of content, promotions, or messaging you should be sending each of your customers. It’s like taking the segmentation us marketers are used to and pumping it up with an insane amount of steroids. No longer will we rely on just demographics, we’ll know what makes each customer tick. And we’ll know what to send them to help increase repeat purchases or return to our website. How? Because actionable predictions take our human assumptions out and replace them with automated recommendations that resonate much more with our customers.
Secondly is the issue with churn, or customers leaving. With actionable predictions, you are able to identify at-risk customers in order to get a head start on proactively mitigating the circumstances. Now imagine combining the two. Being able to identify customers who are about to leave days or weeks in advance and begin to automatically send them the most relevant and enticing content, promotions, messages, or offerings designed for them. Your retention and loyalty will increase, NO DOUBT.
Increasing Campaign Performance
I come from the adtech space. I understand the ins and outs of everything to do with marketing campaigns, marketing intelligence, and campaign performance. And the first thing I can tell you is that not all campaign management platforms are optimizing your marketing campaigns effectiveness like you probably think. In fact, I mentioned before in our Predictive Analytics 101 for Smart Marketers:
What we don’t take into consideration is that generating more and more campaigns, without trying to increase their effectiveness, can actually be much more detrimental to our reputation and brand recognition than not doing anything at all.
With actionable predictions you can understand what steps you need to take to create optimal results. This example was taken from the intro to actionable predictions blog: Prescriptive analytics can identify that a new trend, let’s say pink beanies, is starting on the West Coast (shoutout to Bay Area!). So it might provide actionable predictions to our marketer that recommend they start developing marketing campaigns promoting these pink beanies. In fact, they might even need to stock up in inventory as well!
Improving Sales Forecasting
Which leaves me to my final use case of the evening. This is a field that is still heavily reliant on a mix of human assumptions, opinions, and spreadsheets. So obviously you have some problems ranging from inconsistencies, lack of scalability, an enormous amount of time and resources, and of course, by the fact that the data becomes irrelevant and out-of-date by the time the sales forecast is actually completed.
With actionable predictions, you can overcome all these challenges and more. Imagine being able to use prescriptive analytics to capture the relationships between so many factors and assigning a score or risk factor to each lead. With actionable predictions you would know which leads to target for the highest chance of success and what tactics you should use when approaching them. This increases the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales team instantly, as they have a much better understanding and control of what will close and what won’t. In turn, there are shorter selling cycles and an increase in sales while lowering the CAC and other sales and marketing costs. Time IS money, they say.
Personally, I wish I had actionable predictions for every aspect of my life. It would free up so much brain power I wasted on making decisions and actually redirect my energy into things that matter. Well, technically that’s what actionable predictions are enabling all us marketers to do now in our jobs. Plus the added bonus of ensuring the recommendations or actions we get are what will bring us the best results possible.
If you’re interested in learning more about actionable predictions, book a demo with our sales team today!