What is Predictive Marketing and How Does It Work?

How much would it be worth to you if you could easily identify new potential customers and target them with relevant marketing content? How about having the ability to anticipate the needs of your current customers and have the solution to their problem WHEN they first encounter their problem?

With predictive analytics, business can stop looking so much into the rear view mirror and start looking at what lies ahead. Historical data can tell you what’s already happened; predictive analytics will help you target future possible outcomes.

It used to be that the best businesses and marketers could do would be to create a perfect customer persona and find the right marketing channels to reach them. Not any more.

Predictive marketing uses big data, statistical algorithms, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to find the best prospects and the best ways to reach them. Predictive marketing can not only help you find your best prospects, it can also help you anticipate the needs of your current customers.

Because of the computational power of computers, crunching big numbers to create big data takes no time at all. And because human beings are creatures of habit, business owners and marketers can use data to be more efficient and effective in marketing. The more data, provided that it’s good data, the better your predictions will be.

This can be as simple as knowing the best time to send an email. If you knew that one email subscriber always checks their email in the morning at a particular time, you would know when to send them an email. If you’ve tested various email times, you’d know what time gets the most opens from your email list.

Predictive marketing can be as complicated as predicting the best time to highlight a particular product or service. That might be a time of year, a time of the month, or a particular day of the week. Where can you go to find the information you need to profit from predictive analytics?

Google Analytics and Facebook Insights are two places to start. Google analytics can help you convert more of your existing traffic. How? By helping you map out your entire sales process from lead generation to post sales follow up. Click here to learn more about Google’s Funnel Visualization Reports.

Facebook Insights can help you know what content to promote, and how to create a library of your highest performing content to improve your social media return on investment. As FB says, Facebook Insights is “The only analytics tool built on insights from Facebook’s 2 billion person community.” If Facebook is part of your marketing mix, you absolutely need to be using their analytics.

Facebook calls their approach “people-first analytics.” As they say, “The goal of advertising has always been the same: reach the right person, at the right place, at the right time, with the right message—to drive real business results.” The FB approach measures behavior across devices, browsers, and platforms to provide advanced analytics.

Facebook promises “With better insight into where people are, and an understanding of the channel or a platform’s media performance, we can reach the right people wherever they may be to capture the most potential impact. “

Other places to find excellent data for predictive marketing are AdWords Keyword Planner and Google Trends. For example, you might notice on Google Trends that there is a topic in your niche whose search volume is increasing. Write about that topic!

The data is out there; your mission, should you choose it, is to find the data and make use of it for your business. The essential element of predictive marketing is good data. Bad data will corrupt your entire process, so make sure that any data that you use is accurate by only using data from great sources, like the ones mentioned above.

How Do You Do Predictive Marketing?

  1. Take your historical data and theorize what is likely to happen next. Predictive analytics can help you anticipate customer behavior and plan your marketing accordingly.
  2. Use predictive analytics to determine your marketing mix. Historical data will give you an idea of what has worked for you in the past. Use that data to predict how to adjust your marketing mix to its optimum effectiveness.
  3. Use predictive analytics to create forecasts to guide your marketing. An example of this is using search data to plan your marketing based on when interest is trending up for a product or service that you sell. Search data can show you when in the year interest is at its highest peak. It can also tell you the lulls that may be a time either to increase your marketing, or back off and wait for a better time.
  4. Use predictive marketing to plan your editorial calendar for your blog. Do you know which topics are of most interest and when to run them? Predictive analysis can help you figure this out.

The following graphic from Global Tribe Academy gives some excellent information on how to use predictive analytics throughout the sales process.

I invite your comments and questions and your likes and shares.

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