Preparing for the Unexpected

“History has taught us to expect the unexpected.”

So said one of the respondents to ClickZ’s recent survey, sponsored by Keen Decision Systems, to gauge how marketers are preparing for uncertainty in their 2022 planning. 

The hard part about anticipating the unexpected is exactly that; it’s hard to know what you’re not expecting.

To marketers’ credit, just trailing the 53.7 percent of respondents anticipating continued impacts from COVID in 2022 are 42.6 percent of respondents who predict that “unexpected factors” will have the most influence over 2022 marketing performance. 

As one marketer put it, “Too many factors beyond our team’s control that can influence outcomes regardless of investment level; predictive marketing analytics would help confidence level.”

“2022 is as uncertain as 2020 and 2021. Will international and state borders open? Will there be continued impacts to the supply chain? Both of these things are significant external uncontrolled factors that hugely impact our business and customers,” another explained.

Budgets On the Rise While The Future Remains Unclear

Nearly two-thirds of marketers expect their budgets to increase in 2022, while nearly another third predict it will stay the same. Only 3.8 percent of respondents expect their marketing budgets to decrease. 

While that sounds like good news, only 17.3 percent of those responding said they are “very confident” in their strategy’s ability to deliver the strongest possible financial return to the business.

Some point to the high level of uncertainty in the current economic climate as the cause: “There are too many variables in play to be extremely confident  COVID & variations, political discord in Washington, supply chain disruption.”

Many respondents say resource constraints limit their opportunity and confidence about , “We could achieve our targets if we had more resources.”

Technology “Triangulates” Decision Making, Improves Confidence

The resources needed to improve their confidence in their ability to deliver on their companies’ financial goals include, not only limited human capital, but also smart investments in technology. 

Nearly half of survey respondents said if they could do one thing to impact marketing’s ability to create value it would be to invest in better analytics/metrics. 

“I could invest in better analytics, training, hire people and try new platforms.”

“We have no forecasting tools.”

“Our digital marketing has been a weakness; therefore, forecasting accurately would be impossible.”

“To bring desired results we need to invest in technology.”

Among the 20 percent of respondents who rely on historic marketing measurement to guide their future decisions, few view the insights to be “extremely valuable” (20 percent), while 80 percent find the information to be somewhat valuable or neutral. 

In contrast, among the 20 percent of respondents relying on predictive marketing analytics to guide their decisions about the future, 90 percent rank it extremely valuable while only 10 percent of respondents said the impact was neutral.

Invest In Better Technology, Create More Value and A Predictable Performance

Despite today’s climate of uncertainty, it’s clear many marketers feel they can improve marketing’s ability to create more value with the right technology.

But currently many marketers don’t feel they can predict marketing’s long-term profitability, regardless of their allocated resources.

Nearly half of respondents said they were only somewhat confident they could accurately forecast marketing-driven profit if given an additional $1M.

“If we could invest more, we could get better results… but we cannot be sure of the type of growth we would get”

Without the right technology, marketers already struggle to report on their forecasted long-term profitability, with many traditional marketing mix solutions offering delayed delivery of historical results. 

In a climate full of pandemic variants, inflation and supply-chain crises, marketers need timely, accurate insights they can act on quickly as circumstances change. Predictive analytics offers the ability to build an actionable plan, factor in uncertainty and deliver results around revenue and long-term profitability.

Marketers know–and have already seen– the uncertainty that awaits them in the year ahead. A predictive marketing solution like Keen’s allows a marketing team to be agile and pivot quickly to ensure their investments are working to achieve their forecasted business goal. Live, consistent access to Keen’s predictive models enable continuous updates so marketers can ensure they are on the best path forward to success.

While marketers can take history’s lesson and expect the unexpected, it’s clear predictive analytics is making its own statement: Invest in accurate, timely data and navigate any uncertainty confidently–and even profitably.