Salesforce Marketing Cloud Gets Predictive

Salesforce announces Predictive Decisions features to personalize marketing. Data science drives clicky content and offers.
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Salesforce on Thursday announced Marketing Cloud Predictive Decisions, predictive analytics capabilities aimed at improving customer engagement and conversions by personalizing marketing content and offers.

Personalization is the key to one-to-one marketing, but that requires an understanding of what's most relevant to individual customers. More than a third (36%) of marketers struggle to apply customer insights to improve customer experience, according to a 2104 Forrester study commissioned by Salesforce, and 42% say it's difficult to analyze data from customer interactions.

Marketing Cloud Predictive Decisions analyzes CRM data, such as customer purchase records; marketing data, such as what campaigns were seen; and relevant contextual data, such as recent browsing activity. The insights derived yield predictions on the best content, product offers, or marketing campaigns to serve to anonymous or known customer profiles.

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Predictive Decisions capabilities are set for general release in May, but they're being tested by Salesforce customers, including furniture retailer Room & Board. Delivering the right offer to the right customer at the right time leads to higher conversion rates, "and that's what we're doing with these new capabilities," said Kimberly Ruthenbeck, Room & Board's director of Web customer experience, in a statement from Salesforce. "The direct conversion from customers who engage with predictive content and then click to buy within the predictive content module is 150% higher than [our] site average."

Predictive Decisions continually updates customer profiles with the latest behavioral data, then lets marketers build tailored content and offers that can be delivered via email, Web, and mobile devices. The predictions are turned into actionable triggers through new workflow and automation features that ensure timely and relevant communications, according to Salesforce.

As with many predictive systems, accuracy improves as the data available grows, "so the algorithms get better, and predictive-influenced revenue keeps growing," says Ruthenbeck. "Thirty seven percent of Web visitors who engaged with predictive content have purchased from one of our channels -- either in store or on Web."

Predictive Decisions provides a drag-and-drop interface and content modules for tailoring campaigns to specific customers and moments of interaction. For example, an email campaign can include not only images of items specific customers previously viewed online, but also recommended products predicted to be most relevant based on individual buying and browsing histories.

The app brings recommendation capabilities beyond the confines of commerce Websites and into every marketing interaction, according to Salesforce. The new Predictive Decisions features will be available as part of the Marketing Cloud Pro Edition and higher-level editions. Pro Edition pricing starts at $1,250 per user, per month.

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