Customers are probably more likely to consider a hotel discount if they’re looking up attractions in another city, or be tempted by a dinner coupon when searching for nearby restaurants – so why not reach out to them during their moment of need?

That appears to be the thinking behind Adaptive Journeys, Portland, Ore.-based SaaS provider Act-On Software’s newest product.

Released today, Adaptive Journeys uses behavior-based predictive intelligence software to identify receptive customers based on just about any measurable factor you can think of, whether it’s captured by web forms, cookies, an integrated CRM platform, or Act-On’s own behavioural insights.

“As customers, I think we get tired of marketers and companies engaging with us only if they want something from us, and you purchase that thing, you get radio silence,” Act-On CMO Michelle Huff tells ITBusiness.ca. “And so on the marketing end, a key challenge becomes how to engage with customers throughout a brand’s full life cycle.”

In Act-On’s not-so-humble opinion, the answer lies in tracking, scoring, measuring, connecting with, and learning about your customers and their activities so that your company sends out its message when they’re most receptive to hearing it.

“We think that every time a customer interacts with your brand, it should mean something,” Huff says.

To be fair to marketers, acknowledges the industry has tried to adapt, often by dividing audiences into categories rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all solution, and tailoring messages for individual groups. But this, too, has its downside, she says, with consumers often divided based on generic criteria that ignores their underlying personalities.

“For instance, I might be categorized as an executive or marketer, but being labelled the CMO of Act-On doesn’t really resonate with me, because I think ultimately as people we don’t like stereotypes – and the tools that marketers have today often treat our customers as stereotypes,” she says.

Instead, she likens Act-On’s approach to Adaptive Journeys to the route taken by Google Maps, which began with cloud architecture, incorporated data such as streets and traffic signals, and then added additional datasets such as traffic, providing a platform as useful to travellers as Adaptive Journeys hopes to be to marketers.

But the true genius with Google Maps, and more importantly the company’s automated navigation software Waze, lies in how it uses that platform to collect information: frequent destinations, commuting hours, preferred routes.

“For example, I have two young kids, and tend to do a lot of my research between 10 and 11 o’clock at night,” Huff says. “That’s also when I comb through my e-mails too, which makes it the best time to reach me – but you know it would be a terrible time to contact other people.”

“With Adaptive Journeys, instead of marketers saying, ‘I’m gonna send my emails every morning at 9 AM,’ you can schedule it on the platform and know that it’s going to be sent at the optimal engagement time for each person,” she continues.

Among Adaptive Journey’s features:

  • Adaptive Segmentation, which allows marketers to create lists of engaged contacts by leveraging just about any type of dataset you can think of, whether captured by web form, cookie, CRM, or Act-On’s signature behavior insights. Naturally, defined segments can be adjusted over time as new information is provided, allowing for ever-more-personalized engagement campaigns.
  • Adaptive Forms, which can now support conditional follow-up questions, dynamically presenting or hiding further questions based on an individual’s responses.
  • Adaptive Sending, which can predict the best time to send a message to a given recipient based on past behaviour.
  • Adaptive Scoring, a big data-based feature that allows marketers to automate scoring across different segments, industries, and buyers.
  • Adaptive Channels, which uses machine learning to choose the best channel (email, web, mobile or social) for a given message, based on the individual’s previous interactions with the brand.

For more information, visit Act-On’s website.

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