It wasn’t too long ago that it was considered novel to use web analytics to determine a customer's or prospect's interests and then email them somewhat relevant content after the visit. Marketers could provide a basic level of customization (such as name or account personalization and dynamic interest or product content) based on the segment that visitor fit in.

Then came the ability to send email messages triggered by a known visitor’s actions -- when they abandoned a shopping cart or completed a lead form. These behaviorally targeted messages worked for a while, sometimes generating lifts of more than 20 percent. But the novelty wore off and people stopped opening or responding to email.

Fast-forward to today. Businesses now have the tools and actionable intelligence to message to consumers in real time, reacting to the latest developments or activities. By analyzing a visitor’s behavior in an instant, putting him into one of a variety of segments, and using algorithms and rules engines to respond in real time, marketers can use their websites to test segmented messages and present relevant information within the context of the visit. Or they can target website content based on the referring site or Google ad the user was looking at. The immediacy of this type of real time marketing can help make customers feel unique, and has done a lot to direct a visitor’s site experience and deliver marketers an ROI.

Customers now expect this kind of experience. They no longer accept static experiences or landing pages that look the same regardless of what they were searching for. They want to be engaged and satisfied, surprised and delighted -- from the moment they start a search for your product or service until the moment they do business with you and refer you to a friend.

So how will marketers continue to advance their real time efforts to surprise and delight customers in the moment? How do we further engage our prospects and convert them into becoming paying customers? How do we convert new customers at an even faster rate? What will it take to move web marketing from one-to-many to one-to-one?

Predictive Analytics: Moving Toward the Segment of One

Marketers have come to depend on RFM -- recency, frequency and monetary value -- as factors in creating personalized engagements with customers. But while RFM can help marketers deliver personalized experiences, it does not offer the kind of actionable intelligence needed to satisfy discerning visitors in the moment. Moreover, RFM doesn’t work for new customers because there is no historical behavior to analyze.