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Behavioral Data: The Greatest Untapped Marketing Asset

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by: Ellen Valentine (@EllenValentine)
21 January 2014

We’re only a few weeks into 2014, and already some marketers are likely getting caught up in the rush to get the latest broadcast email campaign out the door … lather, rinse, repeat. But before you get pulled into that cycle, consider this: If you want to be more successful than ever in 2014, you must step up and join the Amazons of the digital world and incorporate behavioral marketing into both your emails and your website.  

Behavioral marketing processes have been around a few years, but despite the benefits – mature practitioners are contributing 31 percent more to the sales pipeline – adaptation is still in the early stages. And it all starts with the data. A recent Forrester Consulting report showed that less than half of marketers are capturing and consolidating behavioral data from multiple channels in a single database.

That same study indicated that only 17 percent of marketers consider themselves mature practitioners of behavioral marketing, meaning there’s a great opportunity for you to get a leg up on the competition. So before you find yourself a few months into the year doing the same-old, same-old, take the time to assess the ways behavioral marketing might be used across your organization.

Here are four tips to get you started taking advantage of this powerful way of communicating to customers and prospects.

1) Get Web tracking turned on.

Get with IT and explain what Web tracking code is, how it will be used, and how it differs from Google Analytics and other codes. If the response is less than speedy, enlist management to help you escalate this important requirement to the IT department heads.

Bottom line: It’s virtually impossible to get started with behavioral marketing without IT doing its part. And once you’ve got Web tracking turned on, you’ll be able to capture the basic behaviors essential to behavioral marketing, such as general website visits, specific Web page visits and file downloads.

2) Set up an actionable, centralized marketing database.

It’s fine to put all the information you capture on prospects and customers into a data warehouse for segmentation and analysis, but this shouldn’t be the sole place your data resides. Instead, make it a data priority to configure your systems and integrations so you can capture behavioral marketing information into your actionable marketing database and deliver real-time, relevant interactions with contacts.

3)  Build out trigger-based communications.  

Eventually, you’ll want a whole portfolio of behavior-based communications ready to go in your digital platform, but you’ll see benefits from adding even a handful of triggered emails to your messaging mix. One great place to start is with browse or process abandonment messages.  For example, you could set up business rules so if a prospect visits a product data specification page, this behavior would trigger an automated email letting that person know how to contact a specialist and providing some product FAQ answers.  

Similarly, you could set up rules so when an existing customer visits the support page but doesn’t log a support case within 24 hours, this action would trigger an email asking the customer if he or she has any product or service questions. (Note: You need to have your support database integrated into your marketing automation system to make this happen — see No. 2 above.)

4) Consider capturing more advanced behaviors.  

By integrating new data sources into your marketing platform, you can supplement the behaviors you’re capturing within your system and increase your sophistication. For example, if someone watched a video, did they watch it to its conclusion? If they listened to a Webinar, how long did they listen? Did they cross a geofence surrounding one of your physical stores locations and, if so, did they make a purchase at that store? These are all behaviors that can be fed into your digital marketing platform to support near-real-time communication.

Follow these four steps, and you’ll be well on your way to tapping into the power of behavioral data. For more even strategies and tactics for whipping your data into shape, please check out our white paper, “15 Tips for Enhancing Your Marketing Team’s Vision, Skills and Data.”

Related Resources:

1) Blog: “Behavioral Marketing: What It Is and Why It’s So Exciting

2) Video: “Building a Comprehensive Data Blueprint

3) White Paper: “Creating Real-Time Individualized Campaigns Around Every Imaginable Buyer Behavior


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