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5 Cross-Channel Use Cases for Universal Behaviors

by: Bryan Brown (@getvision)
14 August 2013

In a recent blog post, I discussed Universal Behaviors and what it means for marketing and the customer experience. In short, Universal Behaviors is a framework within Silverpop Engage that captures and stores large volumes of data as individual interactions and enables marketers to use these dynamic buyer behaviors to trigger personalized, cross-channel messaging in real time – or, if you prefer, at whatever time in the future the contact meets the criteria you’ve set.

So, how can you take this exciting functionality and apply it to real-world marketing scenarios? While the possibilities are as endless as the ways your customers and prospect interact with you, here are five potential use cases to get you thinking: 

Scenario #1: Someone just retweeted your new product announcement.

Wouldn’t It Be Great If …

… You could respond immediately based on where that person is in the buying cycle?

Why It’s Hard to Do

With most platforms, this approach would require manually watching for those retweets and adding contacts in your email marketing database to a program or mailing. As an alternative, you could have a system that finds those "tweets" and enriches them with marketing identity, but then you’d still need to export them, import them to the marketing platform and send out the email. Either way, manual interaction would be required by someone in the marketing and possibly IT organization, and the process just doesn't scale easily.

How Universal Behaviors Helps

With Universal Behaviors, your Twitter-monitoring application can be integrated to pipe these events into the system in real time based on rules you establish instead of manual interaction. 

Consider a scenario in which a brand new prospect and an existing customer retweet your product announcement. Knowing where they are in the buying cycle, you respond differently. The brand new prospect might be sent a “contact us to get your demo” message (you could set up rules to exclude those who had already received a demo), while the existing customer might receive links to resources that enable him to get the most value out of this product, such as a recorded Webinar and an article that talks about 10 key new features.

Scenario #2: A customer arrives at your store, crossing a geofence you've set up around the perimeter.

Wouldn’t It Be Great If …

… you could send that customer a real-time text message that treated her as an individual rather than just another random visitor?

Why It’s Hard to Do

Geofencing is fairly new, and existing technology has been focused on the experience within the location app rather than on integrations that would enable real-time, automated interactions in other channels.

How Universal Behaviors Helps

By enabling you to capture this location data (for customers who have opted in) and immediately feed it into a centralized master database, Universal Behaviors allows you to complement the work of your in-store staff by sending a timely, personalized SMS text to arriving (or exiting) customers. Consider, for example, how sending the following two customers different messages would help you connect more strongly:

  • Allison rarely visits your store and hasn’t been back for a while. Upon arrival, you send her a product-targeted text aimed at getting her to buy something.
  • Vanessa is a rewards club member who frequently visits your store. You send her a “welcome back” text recognizing her status as a loyal customer and reminding her that she can redeem her rewards points today.

Scenario #3: Someone who previously downloaded your mobile app is now surfing your website via his desktop computer.

Wouldn’t It Be Great If …

… You could show him content that reflected his engagement (or lack thereof) with your mobile app?

Why It’s Hard to Do

Short of an account-driven system requiring custom development, marketers haven’t had a tool that could link mobile app interactions with Web tracking data. The behaviors have been stuck in silos, with no way to connect the mobile user to the desktop Web browser.

How Universal Behaviors Helps

Now companies can store data in a single customer view rather than it being siloed by channel or segment. With this “single identity” the marketing platform understands that the mobile app user and the Web user are the same person, allowing you to deliver a more consistent experience across channels.

Depending on your mobile app, for example, user behaviors within the app may signal what the contact is interested in. So, maybe you build dynamic content blocks on your website so that a person who spent time looking at product X on your app sees similar content the next time he visits your site.

What about the 26 percent of people who download an app and never use it again? Just by knowing who’s starting to disengage with your app, you can use email to drive them back again, perhaps sending an “app reengagement” message outlining tips for getting the most out of your app to those downloaders who go three months without opening.

Scenario #4: Someone abandons a shopping cart on your website before completing a purchase.

Wouldn’t It Be Great If …

You could send that person a cart recovery email before she shuts off her computer?

Why It’s Hard to Do

In the typical scenario today, you have to run a daily batch of abandoned shopping carts, load that data into relational tables and run queries to determine if anyone in your database has an abandoned shopping cart that would make them a candidate for a cart recovery email.

How Universal Behaviors Helps

Rather than waiting 24 hours for a bulk feed of cart abandonment data to show up in your marketing platform, and then sending an email to those abandoners, you can now capture this behavior the moment a customer ends his or her session and initiate your cart recovery efforts within minutes via email, SMS, the Web or phone. Given the MIT study that showed that 90 percent of ecommerce leads go cold within an hour, it’s easy to see how this shift to real time is a game-changer .

In addition to the timeliness element, an integrated marketing platform enables you to add logic into your cart recovery emails based on the recipient’s previous behaviors. Maybe the person who abandoned and hasn’t purchased in six months gets a discount incentive, while someone who purchases every week just gets a service-oriented reminder.

Scenario #5: Someone comes into your store to test or inquire about a high-ticket product.

Wouldn’t It Be Great If …

… You could send that person an email within minutes with helpful post-demo info on that specific item?

Why It’s Hard to Do

There isn’t an easy way to tie your proprietary in-store systems (POS, sales software, etc.) into a real-time behavioral platform. And in the rare cases when companies do pool this data together, it’s usually done on a nightly batch basis, creating a gap between the customer/prospect action and the company response.

How Universal Behaviors Helps

Now all the rich details from an in-store system can feed into your unified marketing database in real time, enabling you to trigger a message on the channel of your choice based on this information.

For example, a car dealership rep could enter a prospective buyer’s email address and the details of what he drove, and that action would trigger your marketing platform to send an email within minutes personalized with information on the test model. A similar scenario could take place at a trade show booth, with the prospect entering data via an iPad app that’s synced up with a centralized database.

Dozens of Behaviors, Hundreds of Scenarios

Hopefully these scenarios have inspired new ideas about how you might use customer interactions to drive more dynamic campaigns. In an upcoming post, I’ll dive deeper into the technology behind Universal Behaviors and unveil our vision of what the future holds.

Got a question about any of the examples, or want to bounces some ideas around about a different potential use case? Post your query below or send me a Tweet @getvision.

Related Resources:
1) Blog: “Universal Behaviors: What It Means for Marketing and the Customer Experience
2) Video: "What Is Universal Behaviors?"
3) Ebook: “Print Money Today: 7 Emails Marketers Should Automate to Drive Massive ROI


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