Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics Peek into the Future
resides in Adobe's Marketing Cloud and interacts closely with Adobe Analytics. "This is where the most exciting stuff happens," Bates says. "Marketers can port their audience groups over to the Target software within seconds, and each of these audience groups becomes a target audience. With regard to the sporting goods store, they have numerous content assets in our system, so the Target tool matches the right content with the right person in each target group," he adds.
This is the prescriptive component—personalizing content for each individual. "It’s not just saying 'Okay, I have a group that's likely to convert, so they get content A, and I have a group that's less likely to convert, so they get content B.' That is a rudimentary breakdown that predictive analytics can give you. With Adobe Target's prescriptive power, we actually get it down to the one-to-one level," Bates says. But once the analytics work is done, there's still one step remaining, and, historically, it has been the one step that has frustrated marketers the most: leveraging insight to inspire actions.
"This has really been the biggest challenge for vendors. Predictive and prescriptive analytics cannot work and do not work without a way to make information actionable and convert it into a business move," Donna Fluss, president of DMG Consulting, says. "A lot of vendors say they can do this, but very few actually can. The potential is not just big; it's huge. But there are still gaps. Either the processing power to deliver the right level of predictive and prescriptive analytics just isn't there yet, or the solution is so disjointed that even with valuable analytics, it's too complicated to tie them into campaigns," she explains.
Still, Bates maintains that Adobe's solution can overcome both issues. Its processing capability is "certainly there," Bates says, but what makes Adobe's analytics workflow unique is the level of automation it injects into the typically cumbersome process of "activating" analytics insights and tying them to campaigns. Adobe Campaign, which ties into Adobe Target as well as the other four solutions in the Adobe Marketing Cloud, can "pull the personalized content out of Adobe Target and deploy that content in an email, an ad, or any other campaign that the marketers have going," Bates explains. Data is transferred between solutions within seconds and campaigns are ready to go "almost instantly," according to Bates. "For...customers like the sporting goods company, the deep targeting and efficient campaign turnaround have led to a significant conversion lift for the group they were targeting," he adds.
Adobe's approach to the descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive pieces of the analytics puzzle is straightforward and well-received by both customers and analysts. But there is another school of thought that adds more nuance to the picture.
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