There are few sure bets in marketing. An email campaign may fall flat if few customers open the message. Traffic to a web property may not grow as expected. That’s why, for modern marketers, predictive intelligence may be as close to forecasting the future as they’ve ever gotten before.

For those new to the concept, predictive intelligence is a way to take data about customer behavior—from downloading a white paper or clicking on a display ad to conducting an e-commerce transaction—and using it as a platform for determine what they might do next.

Small and medium-sized businesses in Canada may assume predictive intelligence is primarily aimed at larger firms, but there are at least three strong reasons why almost any organization could benefit from a deeper understanding of its value.

You Can’t Count On The Predictions of Human Beings

In a recent webinar on predictive intelligence, analyst Kerry Cummingham from market research firm Sirius Decisions described our brains as “pattern matching machines,” but only when applied to the right data. For example, the human brain can distinguish between a snake and a stick because we see the pattern of a snake slithering on the ground. We also get insights from pattern-matching, as when early humans realized rubbing two sticks together would produce flame. There are limitations, however.

“We sometimes see patterns where they don’t exist,” he explained, adding that the emotions generated by pattern matching may cloud their accuracy. “We get a chemical kick from finding things out.”

Marketers may try to look for patterns when customers take some kind of action with digital content, for instance, but predictive intelligence technology is more neutral, can gather more data and is more likely to find the patterns that mean the most.

Competitors May Invest In Predictive Intelligence First

According to Forrester research, 40 per cent of B2B organizations have implemented predictive technology in some way and 24 per cent more will do so in the next year. That said, the few that go all-in will likely dominate their target market.

“Unfortunately, most B2B marketers aren't ready to put the full power of predictive analytics into play,” Forrester analyst Laura Ramos said in a recent Webinar. “Most will sit on the sidelines or tinker with the technology until vendors and use cases sort themselves out. We believe the time for waiting is over. Turning customer data into insight can have a positive impact on your business and significantly upgrade marketing's standing as the steward of lifelong customer experiences, but only if you get started now.”

Predictive Leads To Personalization

The goal of many marketers is to offer a one-to-one experience between their brand and their customers. That’s not realistic without predictive intelligence, argues Blue Wolf, a consulting firm specializing in Salesforce products and services.

“Sales teams are already deriving value from intelligent tools; marketing is the next frontier,” a Blue Wolf blogger wrote. “To deliver relevant communications, companies need personalization strategies that scale. Automation is indispensable, making use of intelligent algorithms to predict and recommend the next best product, action, or content — without any action from marketers.”

A renowned computer scientist named Alan Kay once said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” In that sense, predictive intelligence offers marketers a golden opportunity to reinvent their chances of future success.

Predictive Intelligence represents a tremendous opportunity to drive 1-to-1 personalization and scale marketing efforts. Contact Salesforce (insert link to contact us page) to learn more about delivering exceptional experiences your customers or check out (US driver below not sure if you can locate it to localize) Forrester’s take on predictive intelligence in Refresh Your Approach to Marketing: How Real-Time Automation Elevates Personalization.

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Contact us today, or check out Forrester’s take on Predictive Intelligence in Refresh Your Approach to Marketing: How Real-Time Automation Elevates Personalization.