Eliminating the uncertainty surrounding the future would really take the stress out of planning business strategies. In the meantime, we can't always know which actions will result in successful outcomes--at least not 100 percent of the time.

New technologies such as predictive analytics are getting us closer every day.

Although predictive analytics can't quite give you psychic capabilities, the technology is able to make successful predictions by utilizing patterns in consumer behavior and previous trends to assess which marketing, sales, and business strategies are likely to be most profitable at specific times.

Predictive analytics help build business strategies that are in line with how people will probably act in the future--ultimately resulting in increased campaign success.

Here are a few products and startups aiming to take over the field in 2016.

Personalized marketing campaigns are becoming an increasingly popular way to reach specific user segments and engage them efficiently. However, obtaining and analyzing the data necessary to create targeted campaigns requires large teams and an enormous amount of time. This is where Optimove comes into the picture.

Optimove is a marketing automation platform that uses advanced machine learning algorithms applied on behavioral data to segment your users into various personas.

Its technology then establishes which marketing strategy works best for each user type in order to successfully capture users' attention and drive them to perform a specific action.

Optimove users are able to create a personal connection with their customers and to better fulfill their specific needs. The result is a significant increase in retention and engagement and an upsurge in brand loyalty.

In addition to marketing and sales, predictive analytics can play a huge role in your company's security. Open DNS's Umbrella Security tool is a prime example of this. The tool scans your organization's computers, files, and data to derive patterns and spot irregularities. This way, it can easily predict a security breach well before it happens.

From Ashley Madison to Sony to countless others, hacking is a real threat for individuals and companies alike. While firewalls and standard antiviruses help the situation, they can't always prevent everything--especially when it comes to bigtime hackers.

Therefore, using tools that analyze patterns and predict what should and should not be occurring within your system gives you the advantage and ensures your company's most crucial files stay in the right hands.

Since the advent of social media, businesses have been using it as a means to connect with their customers and give their brand a more approachable persona.

While conversing with your audience and getting them engaged is a great way to gain an enthusiastic following, the business benefits of social media don't have to stop there.

Of course, social media makes it fairly easy to see patterns of particular users through what they post, where they post it, the places they visit, etc.

By using that information, you can get a fairly accurate understanding of a user's interests and his or her everyday wants and needs. Viralheat helps take that information a step further.

With Viralheat you can use the power of predictive analytics to understand a prospect's social behavior. The tool turns posts, likes, and other habits into hard data, allowing you to predict someone's actions and gain insights into his or her actions. By using this information, you gain all the tools you need improve your approach and give your customers the service they expect.


So while predictive analytics may still be a step from a full-fledged crystal ball, it certainly keeps you one step ahead of the game by allowing you to make educated predictions of behaviors based on real numbers and big data.

The technology is at the core of a variety of industries--from marketing and sales, to social media, and even security. As it becomes increasingly popular, it provides companies the speed and agility they need to stay on top.