Marketers Say Predicting Customer Behavior is More Valuable than Winning Lottery Numbers
Here’s how marketing automation can give marketers predictive superpowers
By Jason VandeBoom, Founder and CEO, ActiveCampaign
For marketers, being able to accurately predict how and when to best reach customers to drive the most sales would be a dream come true. In fact, according to a recent ActiveCampaign poll, more marketers say they’d rather be able to predict customer behavior than forecast the winning lottery numbers.
But unfortunately for most, both can be a gamble. We spend exorbitant amounts of money, time, and effort to get it right with customers only part of the time. And not only is it difficult and inefficient for us, but it’s also less than ideal for customers. How many times have you personally received a discount offer from a brand or for a product you’ve just purchased days or even hours before?
If only there was a way to predict when customers are most likely to buy, the best time to send messages, and over what channel to drive the best result for both buyer and seller. What if we could treat every customer as if they’re the most important one, whether we have 10 customers or 10 million.
There is with customer experience automation (CXA), marketers can learn what entices customers to buy and with that knowledge, optimize campaigns and deliver a better customer experience. While it can’t help with those winning lottery numbers (sorry), leveraging smart technology does allow marketers to work more efficiently by more consistently and accurately predicting customer behavior to boost sales success. Here’s how:
1) Send messages at the right time. Coming in at the top of marketers’ wish lists, more than two-thirds say predicting when to send messages is their biggest desire. While there’s a ton of research and speculation about the best send times, it’s all generalized based on what’s most effective for the majority of people. With machine learning, you can get specific and send at the right time for each customer at scale.
The technique tracks ideal engagement times for each contact and builds a data model based on the time they’re most likely to open and engage. It then uses this data to recommend the optimal send time. As people engage with your content, the system gets smarter and the send times more targeted. This predictive sending takes the guesswork out of communication and allows you to gain valuable insight into your audience to help you reach them at the right time.
2) Predict purchase intent. Figuring out when customers are ready to buy is a top priority for marketers, with nearly 48% wishing they had this superpower.
The truth is, not every deal is going to close, and knowing the odds gives your sales team a huge advantage, allowing them to focus on the deals they’re most likely to win.
Determining win probability not only lowers the cost of customer acquisition and keeps sales from spinning their wheels with customers who will never buy, but it also lets the sales team know when to “interrupt” automated nurture campaigns to jump in with a personal touch.
Predicting win probability starts with determining what makes a deal more likely to close for your business. The automated system considers hundreds of factors like whether prospects click a link, open or ignore emails, connect on social media, schedule a demo or webinar, etc., and marketers can weigh each factor based on what matters most for their pipeline. When a prospect reaches the likely-to-win threshold, the system hands them off to sales at the right time. That means sales can focus on only the hottest prospects and don’t waste time on cold leads.
3) Choose the best channels. With somewhere between 50-100 marketing channels to choose from, it’s no wonder over 40% of marketers wish they could just pick the right one. But just like the best send time, the best channel can be highly personalized and vary from one customer to another. It’s impossible to pick the right one for each person manually, but machine learning can help. First, choose your channels based on these two factors:
• What are you best at and where do you have a competitive advantage? Do you love creating video content but hate podcasting? Is making super creative TikTok videos your thing? Go with what you know and love, and don’t force yourself into something that will feel like torture because it’ll reflect in your content.
• Where is your audience hanging out online? To reach the right audience, you have to figure out where they are, what they watch and read, who they follow, and what they listen to. Are they one of the 1 billion active Instagram users? Or are they Twitter junkies? Do some research to find out where they are and go there.
The best channels for your business lie at the intersection of these two points. Once you’ve narrowed down the selection, marketing automation can help you distribute content over the right channel at the right time to reach the right audience.
Predicting audience behavior has been the Holy Grail for marketers since the dawn of modern marketing. While using generalized trends combined with gut instinct and intrinsic knowledge of your audience can get you close, it can never provide the precision, speed and consistency required. In today’s fast-paced, highly competitive world, deploying machine learning-driven marketing automation tools gives marketers the superpower they need to drive the best prospects through the funnel faster and close more deals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason VandeBoom, Founder and CEO of ActiveCampaign
Jason VandeBoom is the Founder and CEO of ActiveCampaign. Founded in 2003, ActiveCampaign accelerates every company’s growth with the only automation platform designed for ideal customer experiences. Today, ActiveCampaign is the market leader in intelligence-driven customer experience automation with over 150,000 customers in more than 170 countries leveraging the platform to grow their businesses.