CRM giant Salesforce is aiming to combine predictive analytics with CRM (customer relationship management). Its latest product, dubbed Salesforce Marketing Cloud Predictive Journeys (pictured), promises to give marketers the ability to fuse CRM and marketing data with relevant contextual data such as Web browsing activity and e-mail engagement. The objective is to allow marketers to analyze customer engagement and predict the optimal next step in a prospective customer’s journey.
“With Salesforce Marketing Cloud Predictive Journeys, marketers can now go beyond simply meeting customer needs, to anticipating and greeting them at the next step of their journey as they arrive,” said Scott McCorkle, CEO of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, in a statement.
The new platform supports real-time engagement with customers, even in situations requiring analysis of a massive volume of customer interactions, according to the company. “Marketers simply can’t keep pace with every single customer and all of their interactions with a brand,” Salesforce noted in a statement. Predictive Journeys, on the other hand, will provide marketers with a multi-dimensional view of the customer and include their true interests and intent, not just channel preferences, the company said.
Waze Versus Rand McNally
Salesforce described existing customer experience tools as the equivalent of the static data available in paper road maps such as those published by Rand McNally. Predictive Journeys, however, can offer dynamic information that adapts to real-time changes in the data set. The platform's two new tools Predictive Scores and Predictive Audiences can provide a “Waze-like” customer experience by predicting the likelihood that a customer will take a specific action, according to Salesforce. Waze is a community-based traffic and navigation app.
Predictive Scores uses data science to learn and score a customer’s likelihood to engage. For example, an online retailer can use Predictive Scores to determine how likely a customer is to open an e-mail, unsubscribe from an e-mail list or make a purchase. In addition, marketers can access new dashboards that include the overall scores of individual customers aggregated into audience segments.
Predictive Audiences is an audience segmentation tool that aggregates customer data by grouping audiences based on their Predictive Scores, creating customer segments that are highly targeted. For example, if a customer has a score indicating a high likelihood that he will unsubscribe, the retailer can launch a re-engagement campaign with content proven to deliver better outcomes.
Improving Customer Dialogue
“Marketers need systems that orchestrate and improve the effectiveness of customer dialogue across any channel,” wrote Rusty Warner, principal analyst, Forrester Research Inc., in the "Combine Systems of Insight and Engagement for Contextual Marketing” report published in October. “Advanced analytics methods predict and optimize customer behavior and enable marketers to proactively engage with customers.”
Predictive Scoring and Predictive Audiences are currently in beta; the company expects to release them in the first half of next year. The tools will be included in the Salesforce Marketing edition and available as add-ons to the Pro and Corporate editions, with pricing starting at $125 a month.