Tech firms are working at a feverish pace to crack the code when it comes to predictive marketing, as brands demand more detailed insights into consumers’ future purchasing behaviors. The latest effort into this arena comes from Affinity Solutions, which is launching a Purchase-Driven Marketing Cloud today that combines purchase data, machine learning, and analytics for retailers and brand marketers.
Marketers are leaning heavily on technology platforms that bring different classes of data together to uncover both online and offline purchase patterns, particularly when these platforms are able to identify which specific buyers are most likely to make purchases, and when those purchases are most likely to occur. According to a November 2016 study by Marketo, 69.6% of U.S. marketers plan to use predictive solutions — defined as technologies that “use data science to determine which marketing actions are likely to succeed” — in the coming year.
Affinity’s new Purchase-Driven Marketing Cloud is aimed squarely at this market, offering brand marketers a way to influence potential customers at the “precise moment of choice,” while also optimizing the sales impact of marketing campaigns. Affinity’s SVP of Products Nitin Duggal says the complete product suite — which includes spend insights, a buyer graph, and closed loop measurement — will give marketers the ability to deliver engaging experiences throughout the customer journey. It will also combine machine learning with individual-level purchase-based data, as opposed to cohort data, for more precise real-time marketing applications.
Unlike competing firms, which generally offer aggregated cohort-level purchase data, Affinity has an advantage in its ability to collect individual-level data thanks to existing partnerships with card-issuing financial institutions. These partnerships give Affinity in-house data access and rights to individuals’ actual transactions.
“Since we are governed by PCI compliance and the GLB Act, we also receive the individual’s PII along with the transactions data — which is unique and unlike any of the other solutions in the market today. This enables us to use individual’s actual purchases as the source of truth in our machine learning algorithms to predict their key moments of choice to purchase a product in the near term,” says Duggal.
The marketing cloud can be integrated into existing marketing and CRM applications, enabling brands to serve relevant promotional offers at the individual level and across multiple channels.
“The benefit of individual-level purchase data as the source of truth is the quality and accuracy in predicting future purchase outcomes and using deterministic mechanisms to map individuals’ marketing exposure to offline sales,” Duggal says. “Bottom line, today there is not a more effective or intelligent way for marketers to engage and influence likely prospects using personalized marketing campaigns at the right time in the buying cycle.”
Already, Affinity has signed on Shopcom, the analytics and insights division of Kantar Worldpanel. The partnership will give brand marketers and Kantar-owned agencies a way to leverage past individual-level purchase data when making future spend predictions. Affinity is also working with a “DIY home improvement national retail brand” to target in-market customers who are planning home renovations within the next 30 days. According to Affinity, that retailer has already seen an 87% increase in sales since it started using the Purchase-Driven Marketing Cloud.
“The first set of solutions provides marketers with access to 54 categories and 450 brand spend propensity scores, which gives access to greater visibility into which individuals are likely to make a relevant purchase,” Duggal says. “Incremental revenue metrics can be directly attributed to explicit promotional activity, giving marketers the ability to adjust their campaigns across all channels quickly, and allocate budgets towards the highest marketing spend ROI.”
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.