We are in the midst of an industry wide transition period, moving away from data driven decision making and towards data driven decisioning. And while the semantic difference seems subtle, it's changing the game -- and creating incredible forward momentum -- for virtually every marketer and big brand.

Throw the Old Rules Out

So what’s it all about? The number of decisions and directives emerging in this real time world as a single consumer journeys through a single brand experience are becoming too much for digital marketers to effectively leverage. Automation is critical to efficiently scale.

With the need to turn, adjust and evolve on a dime, there’s less room for cut and dry rules and the management of those rules. That’s where decisioning -- and that important automation piece -- comes into play. It’s about defining, refining and automating those critical consumer-driven connections -- what, where, when, why and how you’ll share content, offers, alignments and messaging -- based on predetermined criteria that emerges from your own testing and optimization best practices.

While it may sound like a new concept, your organization may already be using decisioning to some extent -- and if not, the need more than likely exists. Think about it this way: you’ve got campaigns in motion right now. There are countless twists, turns and data points you could and even have begun to utilize. Step back -- it’s pretty mind-blowing, right? And what’s more, it takes much of the burden off of the marketers. Face it, it’s arrogant to think we know how every scenario will play out with every customer, every time they venture through their brand experience. We don’t and we can’t. 

What we can do, however, is anticipate when signals are and will be clear and when they won’t. You’ve got a high level of tacit knowledge about your business and experience an automated system can’t replicate -- keep that in your back pocket. We’ll get back to that in a minute.

Listen, Predict, Assemble and Deliver

At last year’s Adobe Summit, Adobe Senior Vice President Brad Rencher talked about how marketing was becoming so fast and so complex due to the emerging digital functionality and ever-expanding organizational capabilities. In his “last millisecond” analogy, Rencher touched on what marketers must ultimately do in real time, every time: listen, predict, assemble and deliver.