The Predictive Web

The Predictive Web

Can you create serendipity?

Great marketing provides branding, an experience and utility. Serendipity is usually an after-thought. How can you create a genuine and timely experience for the consumer? Shouldn’t the experience suffice?


We’re at the point where the timing of the message is often more important then the content inside that message. What does this mean in operational terms? Serendipity is not only possible in the future; it’s expected.

However, the pieces, strategy and best practices of predictive modeling within marketing are still developing. Up until now, marketing has been about creating experiences; not ecosystems.

Evolving: From experiences to ecosystems

Ecosystems aren’t a new phenomenon. They’ve existed since the inception of advertising. The problem is that today they’ve come to resemble this PowerPoint of the war in Afghanistan. Thus, most marketers are content to try and create experiences.

The best example of a marketing ecosystem in today’s market is Apple’s mobile platform. Apple has created a place where the best possible experiences for the user is guaranteed via a draconian vetting process. This ideology has been extended with the introduction of their iAd, which seeks to create advertising “worthy” of the Apple experience.

However, this type of ecosystem has a shelf-life. It’s unsustainable when technology and access start to surpass the original experience. (Having AT&T as the primary carrier isn’t exactly helping either…)


What do Facebook, Google, Internet browsers and your credit card have in common? They actively collect data on your behavior. Each click is tracked, each purchase is monitored; all with the goal of making the advertisements and offers you receive more relevant.

Technology by itself is useless. It’s a means to an end, nothing more. The same could be said about data; it’s useless without interpretation. We’re in luck though, the two are about to intersect in a revolutionary way.

Image Source: Anita Burke

11 Responses

  1. Well I’m looking forward to part 2. Want to know how they intersect.

  2. jphodgins says:

    This is probably the one thing I like most about Google Instant Search. Before, I would type, hit enter and find the result. Now I can find results related to my search as I type. It’s not intrusive, as I can keep typing until I find what I’m looking for. But sometimes something catches my eye that I wasn’t looking for. Serendipity!

  3. You hit the nail on the head in the convergence section. Yes, we love technology, but it alone doesn’t make digital marketing efforts succeed. When user data is collected companies can come up with timely ads relevant to the user because they know the user’s habits.

    • @jennalanger Exactly. I think it’s a balance though. We need to find a level of data people are comfortable handing over. After all, at what point does convenience become eclipsed by privacy concernes?

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  5. JonHearty says:

    Unfortunately, most people don’t realize the potential of geo-location and the relevant information it can bring to your life. Right now, the benefit of checking-in doesn’t outweigh the effort for all but a handful of early-adopters, but one day location-based data will drive what we do and how we do it. Excited for part 2!

    • jmatthicks says:

      @JonHearty I was never a believer in geo-location…until someone I was with pulled out a cellphone, checked in, and received a coupon.

      That made me a believer.

    • JonHearty says:

      @jmatthicks I still haven’t experienced anything like that. Not many people in Sacramento even know about Foursquare, let alone use it. To do: check-in for a coupon in SF

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