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Study: 83% Of B2B Companies Say Predictive Tools Having Big Impact

A study conducted by Forrester Research highlights that predictive analytics users are twice as likely to perform well in key business metrics compared to those who use traditional analytics. Specifically, 83% of B2B companies leveraging predictive analytics see "considerable or very high" business impact — noting a higher likelihood to exceed marketing goals, have a higher market share and see annual revenue growth steadily increase.

The New Rules of Predictive Analytics: CMO Edition

angela zener radiusThe promise of B2B data is unbridled. Thanks to first- and third-party data sources, marketing teams know more about their prospects and leads than ever before. Predictive analytics tools introduce even more data capabilities for today’s marketing leaders. With the right tools, marketers can discover untapped market opportunities, target audiences with greater precision and predict which prospects will become the best customers.

Marketers have embraced the opportunity, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of business decision-makers implementing or upgrading predictive analytics solutions today or planning to do so in the next 12 months, according to a new report from Forrester’s Laura Ramos. While predictive models offer capabilities to transform insight into action, Forrester cautions CMOs against overly complex solutions.

“Selecting the right solution means you must weigh the relative sophistication of your automation processes and team experience against the level of big data capability you are ready to absorb,” writes Ramos, lead Forrester analyst and author of the report.

As a deluge of new solutions, with varying levels of data capabilities and resource requirements, are now making their way into CMOs’ inboxes, it can be challenging for non-technical marketers to pinpoint the tools and technologies that are best for their organizations. Here are three simple rules to guide the exploration of solutions that exist, regardless of familiarity with data science or statistical expertise.

Rule #1: Don’t Let Complexity Become A Deterrent

For marketers without advanced statistics backgrounds, data science will always be complex and perhaps daunting. While predictive solutions provide the answers to many big data woes, machine learning algorithms come with many complexities and moving parts. To predict real world scenarios, models often incorporate hundreds of variables, a multitude of algorithms, and dozens of first- and third-party data sources.

Given the complexity inherent in big data solutions and required resources to generate usable outputs, how does one exert positive influence over such advanced deep learning and processing? With unlimited computing possibilities, what objectives and capabilities should be executed on first? And most immediate to the topic at hand: what tools should marketers select to enable the outcomes they need?

Ramos encourages marketers to take a step back and master the basics. First focus on solutions that can enhance core, repeatable growth strategies before introducing new, far-stretched capabilities that have the potential to drain resources. She cautions that “despite growing enthusiasm for predictive analytics, technological advancements are outpacing the business' ability to put it to work.” The important thing is not to get overwhelmed or overreach and instead to remain focused on the greater plan and business goals.

Recommendation: Seek out partners who have productized and developed superior front-end processes for what marketers are doing already: customer analytics, market segmentation, campaign planning and sales enablement. Solutions should amplify current marketing efforts and enable the goals that marketers have already established for their organizations.

Rule #2: Think Beyond Lead Optimizations

As Ramos points out, marketers are looking for an edge that can return big results. However, existing solutions — even if combined with vast data sources and other tools — can't deliver the speed and insight required by marketers to achieve explosive growth. The report shows that many other predictive analytics use cases are often only focused on optimizing lead conversions. Often inward or backward looking, these solutions deliver incremental growth at best, and are most susceptible to campaign inertia.

Unfettered by the confines of existing solutions, predictive models better support decision-making and have the potential to vastly improve on both cost and revenue. Even subtle adjustments can multiply reach and profits. Radius, for example, enables companies to discover new customers and markets with predictable and actionable success — insights that enable vastly greater outcomes than simply reiterating on past marketing efforts.

Recommendation: Keep high level goals front of mind when assessing solutions for next-stage growth. Framing the analysis solely in the context of current solutions or marginal upgrades limits the outcomes that can be achieved. Ramos calls this mindset “short-sighted,” saying, “The real value of predictive marketing occurs when marketers apply it across the entire customer life cycle.” The biggest business impact will happen when marketers learn how to use data analytics to simultaneously target markets efficiently, streamline pipeline conversion, retain customers, grow lifetime account value and turn loyal customers into advocates.

Rule #3: Always Outsmart The Algorithm

Predictive analytics are a means to an end — mechanisms to help grow the business and achieve marketing goals. For that reason, marketers need to first assess what success looks like for marketing initiatives in order to programmatically bring about the desired outcomes.

While it isn’t necessary to have full-fledged hypotheses for exploratory campaigns, marketers should have a clear understanding of the questions they’re trying to answer and why they’re relevant to the businesses. They should start with overall company objectives and then get granular.

On this point, Ramos is pretty clear about what not to do: don’t follow business technology’s big data lead. Don’t expect data or data technologies to answer the business challenges that have yet to be defined. And don’t expect technology partners to make sense of pools of data that may have been indiscriminately collected, even under the best or most earnest of intentions.

Recommendation: For usable insights, lead the effort in defining desired data outputs, and then working with internal and external partners for help in designing solutions. It is the proverbial “you reap what you sow” put into action — that the insights from the efforts will only be as good as the structure that is initially put into place.

Final Thoughts

Remember that today’s predictive analytics market is still in the very early stage. Marketers who are struggling to identify the "right" vendor and tools are not alone. The key to success with predictive analytics is knowing what your marketing organization needs. Often, you won’t know unless you try software for yourself — before making the decision to deploy a solution at a larger scale. It’s important to remain laser focused on major goals and test before you buy.

As SVP of Marketing at Radius, Angela Zener brings 15-plus years of experience in marketing. She has led teams responsible for launching global product lines across cloud, social and mobile for companies such as SAP, LexisNexis, and Findly.

Radius Raises $50 Million To Scale Its Predictive Marketing Platform

funding genericRadius announced $50 million in Series D funding that the company intends to use to scale its predictive marketing software platform and meet the growing demand for its solutions.

This investment will be applied toward further development of the Radius Predictive Marketing Software platform as well as the company’s proprietary data science engine and data cloud.

The funds come during a time of notable growth for the company, with its revenue increasing by more than 400% in the past year. The company has also doubled the number of employees during that period.

The latest round of investment was led by Founders Fund, which brings Radius' total funding to $125 million.

“The expectation is that ‘the data is out there,’ but no matter how many tools, scientists, or databases they acquire, CMOs struggle to gain the insights necessary to effectively pursue the largest market opportunities,” said Darian Shirazi, CEO and founder of Radius.

Radius Expands Sales And Marketing Executive Team

Radius Hires imageRadius, a predictive marketing software company, has expanded its marketing and sales executive team.

The four new members of the executive team are David Obrand, COO; Jerry Clarno, VP of Sales; Andrew Garvin, Senior VP of Strategy; and Angela Zener, Senior VP of Marketing.

Obrand was previously Chief Customer Officer at Yammer. He also served as CEO of Fuze, a creator of cloud-based communication technology. Obrand also spent a decade at Salesforce in senior sales roles.

Clarno brings more than 20 years of experience building and scaling sales teams, including stints at Box, SuccessFactors, OneLogin and FedEx.

Garvin come to Radius after working with Peter Thiel and Ajay Royan on the launch of Mithril, a growth stage venture fund with $540 million in assets under management.

Zener brings more than 15 years of experience in marketing and management consulting and has successfully taken many new enterprise software offerings to market.

“We are thrilled to have David, Jerry, Andrew and Angela as part of the Radius family during this exciting period of hyper growth for the company,” said Darian Shirazi, Founder and CEO of Radius.  “These talented executives have been instrumental in building some of the most successful SaaS companies over the past decade and we look forward to leveraging their collective experiences as we scale the organization to deliver best in class products and customer experience.”  

Radius Releases Insights To Help Data-Driven Marketing Campaigns

RadiusRadius, a marketing intelligence company, announced the commercial release of Radius Insights. This software is tightly integrated with Salesforce and is designed to provide companies a better understanding of existing customers, identify top performing segments in its Salesforce systems and deploy relevant marketing campaigns. The launch follows successful pilots in the financial services and local services industries.

“With data, more is always better. The trick is making sense of all that information so you can see who is truly your best customer,” said Darian Shirazi, Radius founder and CEO. “With Radius Insights, we’ve productized scientific approaches. The ‘aha’ moment comes when our customers realize they can easily now answer two very important questions — who are their best customers and how many more just like them exist.”

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