May 2, 2011

Adjust to Your Horse

As marketers we work to understand our prospects, customers, sales lifecycle, customer lifecycle, product lifecycle and brand awareness. In the best cases, this keeps us in sync with the offers, advertising and social media we develop to share with customers. Predictive analytics helps us anticipate their responses.   But even after all that preparation, we still don’t know what customers are going to do.

I love to pepper my blog posts with personal stories to help shed some light on business echoing life.  In this case, my daughter has a natural talent with the horses. She trains every week to learn and grow. Even with all her training, she is still riding a living animal with a mind of its own. So regardless of her training, she always has to be ready to change at a moment’s notice to adjust to her horse. To fine tune her performance, she has excellent tools at her disposal; a specialized saddle, the right bit in the horse’s mouth, spurs and reins to help “talk” to and guide her horse. She uses the right tools at the right moment to send the right message. It’s not different for marketers.

All the animals in this equation – including ourselves our customers and the horse – are complex continuously adapting systems.  The environment surrounding them is also in flux – market conditions, products, supply chains, economies.  The tools that most marketers use are static: meaning, predictive analytics are a snap shot in time, they are not dynamic.   We need to have access to better information at the right time in order to make the best decisions, extend the best offers, deliver the right engagement.  To allow horse and rider, or marketer and vehicle to behave sympathetically.

At the 2011 Aprimo Marketing Summit, I had attended a review of the Teradata Interaction Advisor.  This session should have been a keynote speech because the underlying message was about detecting and reacting to adjust to constantly changes surrounding marketing. IA’s main purposes:

  • Delivering highly relevant, uniquely personalized recommendations in real time; both when the customer is online, on a phone call or at a point of sale.
  • Infusing information from the Teradata Warehouse with real-time interactions, enabling the business to engage the customer while “live” in session.
  • Instantly Integrate with Teradata’s active enterprise intelligence, to deliver personal profiles and history with a complete view of the relationship, and a strong link to the most relevant customer experiences.
  • Providing real-time, self-learning decisioning, with historical behavior and trending analytics.

How would all this work in a real world situation. The picture below provides this in a nut-shell:

  1. Create your offers: balance transfer, platinum card, free checking, overdraft protection, free bill pay, free credit report.
  2. Business Rules Determine Eligibility: use your segmentation and contact optimization rules to determine your target group. This is the data you already have and value. Chances are you would not send these offers to your commercial clients.
  3. Dynamic Prediction: based on live data and the data you currently have, the score will determine what offers your audience member is most likely to take.
  4. Arbitration Ranks Offers: once again your live data and rules come into play. Based on this data the most likely offer that the audience member will accept is presented.

No matter what tool you use what I hope this does is getting you thinking about whom you present offers too. If your budget at this time does not allow for Teradata IA, it should be highly considered for you marketing roadmap.  For today, you should consider a deeper look at your segmentations and contact optimization rules. Use the tools you currently have in order to have a real conversation with your audience members and not “batch and blast” your offers and HOPE that someone accepts one. Adjust to your audience members, find their needs, present the offer to meet that need and you will have a loyal customer.