When Doctor Emmet Brown’s DeLorean automobile
flux capacitor took him back in time enabling him to
predict the future he probably didn’t realise what an
impact he could have on digital marketing. He was
onto something big, but just ahead of his time.
So let’s imagine you knew how much money you
could make tomorrow; that you could identify
how much you needed to spend on advertising
to maximise your return and where to spend the
marketing budget to ensure the biggest gains. This
would be an advantage, right?
Typically, digital marketers can effectively measure
today what happened yesterday and through robust
and rigorous analysis understand what interventions
drove changes in performance. In a sense we’re
reliable historians. However, accurately predicting
what will happen in the future, both tomorrow and
longer term, largely remains the holy grail of the
marketing puzzle required to plan and optimise
performance based marketing campaigns effectively.
Why is this important?
With approximately £7 billion spent in 2014 on digital
advertising in the UK alone, smart businesses want
more return from their growing digital marketing
budgets as the costs increase and the competition
online gets tougher. Businesses also struggle to
know accurately how much budget to apportion to
digital channels to maximise profits.
Digital marketing has clearly brought a new
expectation in terms of measurable return. Tracking
and analytics reveals where sales are lost and
won. They are the digital ‘scoreboard’ of today’s
So how can businesses improve their score line?
Quite simply, the opportunity is to predict how
customers are likely to behave and take advantage
of this insight when planning marketing and deciding
where and when to invest budget. More and more
digital ‘fingerprints’ are available to digital marketers
indicating customer behaviour but the opportunity
is to identify patterns and relationships in this data
that allow the reliable prediction of what’s likely
to happen tomorrow, next week, next month