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3 Tips for Building Your Behavioral Marketing Stack

by: Dave Walters (@_DaveWalters)
09 September 2015

Behavioral Marketing StackIn today’s video I focus on tackling behavioral marketing at a reasonable but aggressive pace — something I often call “The Speed of Business.” The core idea is that you don’t have to blow everything up and start over, but you absolutely must rethink your marketing and be able to demonstrate the individual success of each of your campaigns. And you need to set a pace that maintains your sanity, but pushes the ROI of your overall program.

As overcommitted marketers, I can hear everyone wondering out loud how to re-prioritize their work effort to become more behavioral. You might be running full tilt already just to keep up with your existing workload, and considering remaking a portion of that seems daunting. The realistic answer? Yes, it’s hard in the short-term, but mostly only because you have to reorient your thinking.

Instead of working with your creative team two weeks before each campaign goes out, you need to start thinking about automated programs that are geared to progressively smaller audiences – and contain some of the most compelling offers you’ve ever made to your audience. If you do the hard work of better segmentation and factoring for user behaviors, the old adage of “the right message at the right time” can be something you can live up to. And when your content and offers get more relevant, some very cool things happen: Your customers spend more money with you, they talk about you in social media, and they relish acting as a brand advocate.

It’s all goodness, but you have to get started. So let’s dive into my Top Three tips for where to begin.

1) Spend More “Think Time”

I know it sounds counterintuitive to slow down to speed up, but I fully believe marketing execution can be exactly like driving a Formula One race car. You can be so tightly wound about the minutia of a campaign that you don’t see the bigger opportunity to make a change that might drive 10 percent to 12 percent more response rate.

The greatest race car drivers in the world think about momentum, smoothness, being maximally aggressive within the car’s boundaries and setting up the next three to five corners. They can’t brute-force a multimillion-dollar Formula One car around a world-class race circuit any more than you can be a better marketer by tripling the volume of your blast messages.

Sure, you’ll both still “finish,” but you’re actually moving away from the goal of winning. So start off dedicating half a day a month to campaign planning and analysis. Look at what the best digital marketers are doing (especially outside your own vertical) and figure out how to make it your own tactic.

2) Set a Pace for New Automated Programs

Regardless of how great any given marketer is, there’s always room for improvement. I have customers who are exceptionally good at developing automated programs, but they’ve been talking about a new welcome program for two years. And others who are just getting started with their first automated program. (And yes, you can extrapolate that one of the fastest way to embrace behavioral marketing is to start with automated programs.)

So, set a pace that challenges you but is realistic. If you don’t have a welcome program for newly minted newsletter subscribers, get that one going this month. If you’re in ecommerce, do the diligence around what it’ll take to execute cart and browse abandon emails (these are the closest things to free money any retailer will ever see). If you sell more often to businesses, start wrapping your head around scoring models.

Those are very literal examples, but remember that some of the strongest-performing programs fly in the face of accepted logic – an ecommerce retailer who uses activity scoring and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) data to segment its customers on the fly can drive even more revenue from its best customers.

3) Track ROI on a Campaign Basis

If you’re going to manage a diverse stack of marketing programs, you need to be able to contrast them on a standard baseline – and that should always be conversion. Some days that’ll mean a user took the next desired action in an ideal buyer’s flow (an in-person demo), and other days that conversion will drive another transaction that boosts CLV even higher.

Think specifically about how many recipients qualify for these automated programs on a weekly or monthly basis. As I mention in the video, if you’re doing it right, you should see a beautifully inverse relationship between conversion and the number of recipients. Start with a strong conversion percentage on your highest-volume campaigns, and look to drive that up by 10 percent every time you reduce the recipient count by 20 percent to 30 percent via smarter segmentation.

Once you have equal measurements for your million-a-month sale campaigns and your 2,000-a-month cart abandon campaigns, you can plot the next set of enhancements or new programs and know that they’ll continue to drive revenue success.

For more of my thoughts and insights on how to best incorporate a behavioral approach into your digital marketing, check out the “Become a More Progressive Behavioral Marketer” video below:

Dave’s new book, “Behavioral Marketing: Delivering Personalized Experiences at Scale,” is now available at

Related Resources:

1) White Paper: “Creating Real-Time Individualized Campaigns Around Every Imaginable Customer Behavior

2) Blog: “App + Email = Ecommerce Done Beautifully

3) Tip Sheet: “5 Challenges to Building a Loyalty Program – and How to Overcome Them


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