Marketers have historically been challenged to act as the brand’s clairvoyant — asked to read their crystal balls and predict what buyers will respond to next season, next quarter, or next year. Armed with some historical data and limited analytical tools, marketers delved into predicting the future, obviously with limited success.
Massively Predictive Analytics
Today, big data marketing analytics puts the future right into our hands. A branch of data analytics called predictive analytics is uncannily accurate, predicting not only what buyers, in general, will respond to as time progresses, but what specific buyers will do at a specific time. But isn’t this, well, sort of creepy?
While buyers often see intrusion into their online browsing and shopping as intrusive, what predictive analytics is capable of doing is so well-tailored and personalized that they find it more of a customer service than an invasion of their privacy. Amazon (as is so often the case) blazed the trail with predictive analytics in the form of what they’ve dubbed “Anticipatory” shipping. In other words, they use predictive analytics to guess what the customer wants before they actually order it, and go ahead and ship it to them. They even filed for a patent on it.
What Amazon does, of course, is on the consumer level. But big data marketing with predictive analytics is just as capable and powerful in the B2B universe.
Radical Customer Segmentation
This takes the concept of customer segmentation to an entirely new level. You’re no longer dealing in generalized customer segments — based on things like industry trends, seasonal conditions, and the lifecycle of your products — but you’re getting into specifics about what this buyer wants right now, based on their own behavioral queues.
To illustrate the point, let’s over-simplify the situation. Say you market human resources software. Buyer A works in the HR department of a company that’s seen a 48 percent growth in their number of employees over the past year. They’ve been using a competitor’s product, which is cloud based and is generally marketed to small businesses with 250 or fewer employees and gross revenues of less than $5 million.
Buyer A’s company was just listed in one of the finance blogs as having surpassed $8 million in revenue for the year. Even before Buyer A starts browsing online for “HR software”, shouldn’t she be on your radar? That’s what big data marketing and predictive analytics can do — tell you who’s looking for your products or services before they even start shopping.
It’s Not Creepy, It’s Customer Service
With all the talk about intruding on the customer’s privacy, isn’t this kind of creepy? If you do it correctly, the customer will view big data marketing as a form of customer service, not an invasion of their privacy. For example, if you desperately need a new supplier of office supplies or cloud vendor to work with, wouldn’t you appreciate it if one just showed up with what you needed? It’s kind of like delivering batteries on Christmas morning to the mom who forgot to get C-cells for her son’s new lightsaber. You aren’t the creep, you’re her savior.