Artificial intelligence has been the buzzword of the last couple years. It is a concept that has made its appearance in almost every facet of life. To harness the advantages of artificial intelligence in business, companies first need to embrace predictive marketing.
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The technique allows businesses to understand each of their customers and prospects on an individual level. This enables marketers to personalize experiences accordingly — for instance, by using lead scoring to deliver content that matches prospects’ needs and interests. It also enables businesses to increase conversions, in some cases even speeding up the journey through the sales funnel, while reducing costs.
When much, if not all, of this process is carried out by technology akin to artificial intelligence, marketers can focus their efforts on tasks only they can handle. There are several ways predictive marketing can work with Artificial Intelligence Marketing (AIM) to make this happen.
Read: Using and Understanding Big Data to Optimize Your Online Strategy
1. Accurate Data
Inaccuracies in data cannot help but lead to poor decisions. To make matters worse, even highly accurate data has a short shelf life. Everything, from developing content that has the desired impact on prospects to creating campaigns that lead to returns, requires high-quality, actionable data.
Predictive marketing, especially math marketing, involves gathering large amounts of data from a variety of sources. It is impossible for marketers to manage this wealth of data on their own. However, AIM only uses the relevant data to assist businesses in making smarter decisions.
A key place to use accurate data is in lead scoring. Traditional lead scoring involved identifying qualifying factors in a lead to decide whether the lead was worth pursuing. To come to a decision, the marketer would give the lead a score representing how valuable such a customer would be to the organization. The score would be adapted as the company received more information about the lead.
Predictive lead scoring, in contrast, relies on an algorithm. It is based on criteria including the information leads submit in the original web form, behavior, demographics, and social data. Rather than the marketer deciding on which properties should make up the formula, the algorithm works by looking at what leads have in common with customers.
This predictive method of lead scoring allows marketers to identify patterns automatically and find more accurate pattern correlations. Plus, a consistent formula removes the possibility of human error and bias when determining the score.
2. Valuable Insights
Predictive marketing enables you to view data in new ways, leading to insights you may miss if you rely on traditional marketing techniques. By feeding these insights straight to your AIM strategy, you can implement opportunities for the following:
The concept of promotions may sound simple, but it is actually quite difficult to introduce a promotion at the right time to the right people. AIM uses predictive marketing data to determine how to customize a promotion for a particular customer segment. It then sends this promotion just to prospects who meet certain criteria, choosing a time when they are most likely to respond.
Even optimizing inventory is related to predictive marketing. Analytics can help a business know in advance the likelihood of an increase or decrease in sales of any given product, enabling the company to adjust inventory accordingly. By stocking up on just products that will sell, businesses avoid wasted resources. Furthermore, AIM even allows the company to automate the ordering of items.
Predicting sales is just as useful for service-based companies. The ability to predict trends allows businesses to plan for future events in numerous ways. For instance, analytics can reveal a possible drop in overall sales, prompting the company to take action to promote customer loyalty. It can also help you prepare for changes in hiring, allocation of staff, threats from competition, and more.
3. Full Channel Integration
It is no longer enough to reach your audience in just one place — prospects expect to find you across a range of channels. To maintain a consistent approach, you need to fully integrate data and insights across all channels.
With full channel integration, you also gain a better understanding of your customers and prospects. By combining all the information you have gathered about a user, you can apply this knowledge to more than just the channel where you acquired it.
Predictive intelligence makes all this possible by holding customer data in a single place. This provides you with actionable insights to use on any channel. Plus, you can utilize the information in automated efforts. For instance, you may first interact with a lead on social media but later obtain this prospect’s email address. You could then use AIM to send a targeted newsletter at the optimal time to encourage a conversion.
4. Intelligence Nurturing
Read 10 Best Lead Nurturing Strategies to Increase Sales Revenue
One aspect of predictive marketing is predictive intelligence. When used in conjunction with lead scoring, predictive intelligence reveals which pieces of content will be the most effective for nurturing which prospects. Provided you have enough data, you can determine the tone, style, and type of content prospects are most likely to respond to. Rather than managing the process manually, AIM takes care of everything, including delivery of the content to the prospect.
This capability also plays a role even earlier in the content marketing process — it can guide marketers to reveal effective content. After all, it would be useless if predictive analytics were explaining what makes ideal content only for you to find that such content does not exist. By using predictive analytics in the earliest planning stages, however, marketers can use data to draw up an editorial calendar. This eliminates wasted time and effort on content you will have little use for.
Finally, predictive analytics show what content has been successful — it shows what pieces of content led to high engagement, had value for prospects, and produced conversions. This guides your future efforts, allowing you to constantly improve your content and avoid making the same mistakes. It is difficult to achieve this by examining the content yourself, as many factors are likely to go unnoticed that would be noted by software.
5. Lower Cost of Customer Acquisition with Higher ROI
To improve the profitability of your business, you need to either reduce costs or increase ROI. Predictive marketing allows you to do both, therefore maximizing profits.
The main way to reduce costs is to lower the expense of customer acquisition, which you can achieve a few different ways:
- Response modeling. Predictive marketing ensures that you only target who are those likely to convert. This eliminates costly efforts spent on prospects who will never become customers and relocates resources to qualified leads. You will see better results while targeting fewer people.
- Risk modeling. Just as important as targeting only those who will become customers is targeting those who will become valuable customers. The amount you spend to turn a lead into a customer should be considerably less than the expected lifetime value of the customer.
- Lift modeling. Some prospects will convert without any effort on your part, meaning it is a waste of resources to target these people. With predictive analytics, you can locate these prospects and avoid the unnecessary expense of nurturing them.
It is also important to remember that it is less expensive to keep a customer than to obtain a new one. Predictive marketing also allows you to partake in churn modeling, which allows you to target customers who are likely to stay loyal. Furthermore, much like you need to avoid spending on prospects who will convert without any action from you, predictive analytics show you which customers are likely to stay on their own, helping you to limit spending on them.
Once determined which category a prospect or customer falls into, AIM follows through with the necessary action. You will also be able to continue monitoring the actions of prospects to ensure they remain in the same category. If there is any change, AIM will automatically adapt the strategy.
Predictive marketing impacts ROI in several ways. Most significantly, it allows you to run targeted campaigns, improve risk assessment, and reduce operating costs. However, it also allows you to better judge where you will be in the future, allowing you to act now to maintain your competitive advantage. AIM uses this information to make decisions and put strategies into action.
AIM: Now and In the Future
Without predictive marketing, it would be impossible to take advantage of the potential of AIM. Although we are still far from using AIM to run campaigns, artificial intelligence is able to handle some tasks faster and better than marketers. Content targeting and lead scoring are still far from perfect, but they are always improving as new software rolls out.
Next generation technology will only make it easier and quicker to handle these tasks, but this is good news for marketers — you will need to carry out fewer mundane tasks. AIM may be the key to giving marketers the gift of time and the chance to be creative without sacrificing accuracy.