promise (noun): a declaration that something will or will not be done, given, etc.; e.g., unkept political promises

Just when you thought it was safe to hypothesize that human nature might have evolved emotionally and psychologically to a point at which the possibility of insatiable appetites has been purged from our DNA, along comes promise. And another theory bites the dust.

Case in point: “B2B Marketers Flock To Predictive Analytics As Sector’s Promise Fuels Major Growth“. Notice the headline doesn’t say, “B2B Marketers Flock to Predictive Analytics as Sector’s Results Fuel Major Growth.” Rather, they’re scurrying off to exploit the theoretical promise. Learning curves? Reality? Pshaw! This is the Holy Grail, the Silver Bullet, the Magic Wand, and Pixie Dust all rolled into one:

The biggest business impact will happen when marketers learn how to use predictive analytics to simultaneously target markets efficiently, streamline pipeline conversion, retain customers, grow customer lifetime value and turn loyal customers into advocates.

I know what you’re thinking: “O’Brien, didn’t you once believe in the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus?” As a matter of fact, I did. But when I woke up the morning after putting a tooth under my pillow, there was always money there. When I got up on Easter morning, there was always a basket full of chocolate eggs and jellybeans. And when I woke up on Christmas morning, there were always gifts under the tree.

Contrarily, when I wake up tomorrow morning, I’ll still have to research my target markets. I’ll still have to work my pipeline to convert anything. I’ll still have to engender the trust of my clients to be able to retain them. I’ll still have to create as much value for my clients as I extract from them. And I’ll still have to earn their advocacy before I presume to expect it. I’ll be having a beer with a leprechaun before I believe predictive analytics will achieve or deliver all that.

I’m not buying this promise. Sorry. Let me know when there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Image by neo18771017836, courtesy of