The Future of Marketing is Predictive

 -The Future of Marketing is Predictive

The marketing landscape is changing once again. Artificial Intelligence has opened the door to the idea of Predictive Marketing.

With Transformational CMO Assembly just around the corner, Digital Diary sat down with Eric Duerr, CMO and Predictive Marketing expert at RocketFuel, part of Sizmek.

As experts in Predictive Marketing, can you start by telling our audience a little about how it works?

Eric: “Predictive marketing” is marketing that can, with an amazing degree of accuracy, anticipate how a consumer will react to a given message. This is made possible with the power of artificial intelligence (AI). Using several different kinds of AI, including neural nets and machine learning, we can look back over billions of past act-alike interactions and determine with amazing accuracy the likelihood of an individual consumer to react favorably to a message. Our AI tells us when, where and how to message to that consumer in order to get the desired result. And our AI is so smart it can tell when the same computer or tablet is being used by two different people–like when my wife borrows my laptop to do some shopping on Amazon, for example. Our AI knows when it would be better to send the ad to me or to her; where to send it, and even when to send it. But to really understand how quantum a leap that is we should look back a bit…

For the last 100 years or so, advertising was based largely on the principles of reach and frequency.  through their agencies, brand owners strove to achieve the broadest reach and the highest frequency of interaction. The dawn of internet advertising brought a new medium that allowed advertisers to push the boundaries of both reach and frequency. Then with the advent of programmatic delivery, media decisions started to be automated, allowing advertisers to buy according to the audience–as opposed to buying advertising avails on a specific site–and to do so on a global scale. And as good as all that automated reach and frequency was, it did not really move the needle in terms of helping agencies and brands predict which of those ads would be received well and which would be ignored–or worse, be seen as an annoyance. Until our technology came along, that is. And not to be self-congratulatory, but we kinda changed the game.

How is Predictive Marketing/ Artificial Intelligence changing the marketing landscape?

Eric: Well, for one thing, AI-powered predictive marketing is helping make marketing more meaningful, both for the marketer and the consumer. And because we can predict with tremendous accuracy who will react well versus be ticked off by our ads, predictive marketing saves agencies and their brands’ significant amounts of time and money by only messaging the people who are the most likely to respond. Predictive marketing also provides the media decision maker with improved visibility as their ads move from creation to serving to optimization. Our unique AI-powered technology provides valuable insights that inform the key media decisions across the entire campaign, and really across the entire customer journey. 

What are the key benefits of Predictive Marketing?

Eric: For those of you that are media decision makers, our AI-powered decisioning will make your marketing more impactful, save you time and dramatically increase your campaign performance. You will be able to harness your data to make better more informed decisions, even if many of those decisions are being made programmatically. If you’re a brand owner, using predictive marketing will result in less media waste and therefore more efficient spend with deeper levels of engagement — all adding up to better results for fewer dollars. For those of you who are consuming advertising, which includes all of us, you will enjoy more relevant, more personalized, richer, more meaningful experiences with brands that cater to your precise interests and that don’t waste your time with offers or messages you would never respond to.

A major topic at Transformational CMO Assembly this November is the power of personalization. With the rise of messenger apps and ChatBots, increasingly consumers are seeking tools to communicate with brands in a more private way. How should marketers leverage the intersection of privacy and personalization?

Eric: When it comes to personalization and outreach, we must remember the old adage of “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” As marketers, we sometimes wrongfully assume that consumers want to have a personal relationship with our brands when in reality they just want whiter teeth and their pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less. That said, I do think it’s important to provide consumers with communications options and to respect their preferences. Where I do think there is a tremendous opportunity is to use AI to personalize our messages and to use AI-assistants like chatbots to provide consumers, if they want it, with a more conversational interface to help them achieve their interaction goals with brands.

Keeping up with the latest trends and technology is a full-time commitment for CMOs. What advice do you have for leaders looking to stay ahead? 

Eric: Read what the leading analysts like Gartner, Forrester Research, and IDC are saying about the technologies that are about to or already impacting your business. Personally, I love to read all the geeky trade publications like Information Week, CIO and Network World to stay abreast of new enterprise tech that’s being tested and reviewed by their editors. Wired magazine is still one of my favorites as a lighter read, as are online sources like The Verge, Ars Technica and Mashable. I really like the blogger Shelly Palmer’s view on consumer technology as well.

How should CMOs choose which technology to invest in next?

Eric: It starts with having realistic goals for your company that take into consideration where you are in your digital transformation as part of the decision-making process for where your investments will have the most profound business impact. Then, getting an outside perspective from industry analysts like Gartner and Forrester Research really can provide some excellent and granular guidance on enterprise technology investment – what, when and how to leverage new technologies, and, equally important, when to wait and let the adoption curve mature a bit. None of us has an unlimited budget and most of us are being asked by our CFOs and boards to do more with less, so getting an analyst’s perspective, especially when it comes to comparing and contrasting the many providers in any category, is something I highly recommend.

Recently you announced the acquisition of Rocket Fuel by Sizmek, bringing together two of the world’s most respected names in advertising technology. What does future hold for the leading independent predictive marketing platform built for agencies and brands?

Eric: Well, thanks for an opportunity for a shameless plug! Rocket Fuel has spent 10 years pioneering the use of AI to improve marketing outcomes. Sizmek is the world’s largest independent ad delivery platform, known the world over for creating impressions that inspire. Together, the two companies combine the power of Rocket Fuel’s AI decisioning with the power and scale of Sizmek’s vast array of tools and technologies to offer agencies and their brands’ unprecedented visibility across the entire lifecycle of digital advertising, from inception to serving to optimize ads. Together, we constitute the world’s largest independent buy-side stack, serving literally trillions of ads for over 4,000 agencies and over 22,000 advertisers. But what does that mean? It means the power to make marketing more meaningful, more impactful, less wasteful and, for the consumer, more relevant and dare I say more enjoyable!

We’re excited that Rocket Fuel is attending the event this November. Can you give our readers a hint as to what you’ll be showcasing? 

Eric: For the past two years, I’ve been working on a book with two colleagues: Randy Wootton, former CEO of Rocket Fuel and Ken Rufo, Ph.D., a principal the digital strategy agency called Emphatic Thinking. The book is called Moment Marketing. It explores the shift from message-based marketing (think: all you need is a slogan) to audience-based marketing (think: all you need is the right segmentation), and finally to moment marketing. “Moment marketing” is where predictive comes to life. We will be showcasing various examples of how marketers are shifting to moment marketing… what it means to how they think about data strategy, technology, and the agencies they use to make moment marketing come to life…

What are the benefits of attending an intimate C-Level event like ours?

Eric: I get invited to speak at a lot of conferences, which means I attend a lot of conferences, many of which are forced by the wide range of attendees to cater to a variety of interests and levels of professional attainment.

Transformational CMO is geared specifically towards the issues and challenges that marketing leaders face, and because attendees are, well, my peers, there’s a built-in level of honest exchange and a sense of shared experience that is truly helpful in facilitating productive conversations and connections. It’s an old but true chestnut that it’s lonely at the top. But when we as leaders can get together, let our guard down a bit, and really open up to each other about the monumental challenges of running companies in a ruthlessly competitive, ever-changing attention economy, we all profit. Not everyone can attend events like Davos or Sun Valley, so more inclusive peer-level gatherings where you can learn from the crowd wisdom of industry colleagues facing the same challenges are truly worthwhile.


 Eric Duerr, RocketfuelEric Duerr is the Chief Marketing Officer at Sizmek. As the steward of the Sizmek brand, Eric oversees the global communications efforts of the company. Eric and his team are responsible for driving Sizmek’s strategy through thought leadership, demand creation, and customer activation.

Before taking the reigns at Sizmek, Eric was the Chief Marketing Officer at Rocket Fuel and was instrumental in positioning Rocket Fuel as one of the most recognized brands in adtech and the pioneers of using artificial intelligence to improve and predict marketing outcomes.

Prior to his tenure at Rocket Fuel, Eric was the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the multi-award winning communications consultancy Emphatic, based in Seattle, WA. Under Eric’s leadership, Emphatic become known as one of the most respected agencies in the world specializing in B2B marketing and sales motion strategy for clients that included Microsoft, Adobe, the BBC, GoDaddy and Pitney Bowes.

When he’s not working on Sizmek’s next product launch or advising Sizmek client’s on how to create impressions that inspire, Eric enjoys laser-slicing his lethal drop shot on the tennis court, riffing on his Sophie, piano, or sax, enjoying an icy cold India Pale Ale, or pondering ways to apply timeless principles of Eastern philosophy to modern business opportunities for Sizmek and our 30,000 customers around the world.


It’s not too late join Eric and the rest of the RocketFuel/ Sizmek team at Transformational CMO Assembly.

CMOs can witness two industry heavyweights coming together for the first time to debate the future of marketing. Join Miki Racine Berardelli, CEO, KIDBOX & Former President, Digital Commerce & Chief Marketing Officer, EVP, Chico’s FAS and Eileen Campbell, Founder, Womintuition and Former CMO, IMAX & Former Global CEO, Millward Brown during the Keynote Fireside Chat.

The role of the Chief Marketing Officer has drastically changed over the past few years. As new technology enters the already highly complex marketing environment, maximizing budget, resources, and trends is an endless juggling act for CMOs in consumer-driven industries.

A series of executive education roundtables, keynote presentations, collaborative think tanks, educational workshops, and networking sessions offer you insight into artificial intelligence, omnichannel strategy, cognitive marketing, personalization, MarTech, the data revolution and more!

This is not just another “Marketing” event. Spaces are reserved for the best in the business. If you’re a CMO looking to stay one step ahead of the digital world, reserve your seat here!

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