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  1. Predictive Marketing Blog /
  2. Predictive Analytics

8 Expert Answers to “What is Predictive Analytics?”

When we commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a comprehensive survey of B2B marketing leaders to hear their views about predictive analytics, we were pleasantly surprised by how many were familiar with and were already using predictive analytics to generate great results. Eighty-seven percent (87%) told us that they were using or had plans to implement predictive analytics in the coming 12 months.

Even though predictive analytics has gained in popularity as a vital marketing tool, we recognize that there may still be some confusion about what exactly predictive analytics is. So, we put together this list of 8 definitions, gathered from industry experts and other business resources.

So, what exactly is ‘predictive analytics’?

1) Forrester, “Predictive Analytics Can Infuse Your Applications With an ‘Unfair Advantage,” 2015

“Techniques, tools, and technologies that use data to find models– models that can anticipate outcomes with a significant probability of accuracy.”

2) Gartner, IT Glossary

“Predictive analytics describes any approach to data mining with four attributes:

  1. An emphasis on prediction (rather than description, classification or clustering)
  2. Rapid analysis measured in hours or days (rather than the stereotypical months of traditional data mining)
  3. An emphasis on the business relevance of the resulting insights (no ivory tower analyses)
  4. (increasingly) An emphasis on ease of use, thus making the tools accessible to business users.”

3) Predictive Analytics For Dummies by Anasse Bari et al, 2014

“Predictive Analytics is the art and science of using data to make better informed decisions. Predictive analytics helps you uncover hidden patterns and relationships in your data that can help you predict with greater confidence what may happen in the future, and provide you with valuable, actionable insights for your organization….”

4) Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VB Insights

“Predictive analytics tells us, with a high level of certainty, what future trends and outcomes may exist by analyzing existing data sets. It does this using complex modeling, what-if analysis, data mining, machine learning, and other techniques. Importantly, predictive analytics doesn’t tell us exactly what will happen in the future; it simply makes the best possible guess.”

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5) Howard J. Sewell, President, Spear Marketing Group

“Technology that employs big data and data modeling to enable marketers to make smarter decisions or to better answer important questions – for example: Which of my 500 new leads should I call first?  Or, how do I identify new companies or markets most likely to want and buy my solution?”

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6) David Booth, “5 Ways Just About Anyone Should Be Leveraging Predictive Analytics,” 2015

“Predictive analytics is nothing more than a way to help identify the likelihood of future outcomes based upon historical data. It can be used to optimize just about anything you can measure or define, increasing your most important measures of success.”

7) TDWI Research, “Predictive Analytics for Business Advantage,” 2013

“Predictive analytics {is} a statistical or data mining solution consisting of algorithms and techniques that can be used on both structured and unstructured data to determine outcomes…. Predictive analytics differs from traditional or descriptive BI in a number of ways. BI does a good job of slicing and dicing data to help answer questions such as what happened or what is happening, and perhaps even why it happened. However, BI generally provides static reports or dashboards and can be inflexible…. {Predictive analytics} is one of a number of analytics techniques that can be much more sophisticated than descriptive techniques (such as reporting or dashboards).”

8) Business News Daily, “Predictive Analytics Unlocks Big Data,” 2013

“Predictive Analytics is the “Open Sesame” for the world of Big Data. It’s the predictive technology that enables computers to learn how to predict the future behavior of individuals. In business, this ability to predict—which is based on surfacing patterns found in data—helps businesses make informed decisions and identify risks and opportunities. It’s the science that unleashes the power of Big Data.”


This leads us to the question, “What is Radius’ definition of predictive analytics?” While we agree with all of the definitions that we’ve included in this post (since we included them!), we believe that predictive analytics is the technology that allows you to learn the profiles of your best customers based on prior conversion data so that you move forward targeting the right prospects to quickly and successfully grow your business.

Have more questions about predictive analytics or interested in learning how it can help your marketing organization make better decisions and create strategies for more success? Contact us and we’ll help! We also have this 2 minute overview video that explains Radius predictive marketing analytics.

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