Silverpop - Universal Behaviors: What It Means for Marketing and the Customer Experience
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Universal Behaviors: What It Means for Marketing and the Customer Experience

by: Bryan Brown (@getvision)
12 June 2013

Imagine a customer is on his smartphone interacting with your mobile app. He navigates around, completes a couple of tasks and unlocks a rewards discount. The next day, sitting at his home desktop computer, he visits your website. And, voila, his rewards points display along with his latest discount offering. In short, his interaction with your mobile app is reflected on your website. Pretty cool, huh?

Perhaps mobile apps aren’t a key component of your business. Well, what if someone came into your car dealership to test drive a new model, and then automatically got an email a few minutes later with helpful post-test-drive info on that exact car? Or if a prospect retweeted your blog post, and you sent her a triggered email a few minutes later thanking her and inviting her to follow you on LinkedIn? Or if someone walked into your store, and within moments he received a text message with an offer customized to his past interaction with your company?

The idea is that you’re delivering real-time, cross-channel, behavior-driven communications that are uniquely relevant to each contact in your database. Welcome to Universal Behaviors.

Universal Behaviors: How It Can Change the Way You Communicate
The explosion of communication channels and devices during the last five years has opened up exciting ways for marketers to interact with people. As a result, our customers and prospects are telling us all sorts of things about themselves and their interests.

The challenge is that you may capture these data points in one channel, but you can’t combine them and communicate them in another. Instead of free-flowing, seamless communications, the result is stilted interactions that fail to supply the awesome experience our customers deserve.

That’s why Silverpop invented Universal Behaviors. Our goal was to remove the barriers marketers face when looking to deliver real-time, behavior-triggered communications to their customers.

I’ll get into the technical details of Universal Behaviors in a future post, but in short we’ve developed a framework inside Silverpop Engage that enables companies to store data in a single customer view rather than being siloed by channel or segment. This single identity allows marketers to deliver a highly consistent digital experience to each individual across multiple channels.

Why It’s Awesome for Customers
Let’s face it: As fun as all these social channels and mobile gizmos are, the wealth of information we’re faced with – including advertisements and marketing messages – can be overwhelming. As a result, people today don’t care about companies cutting through the noise – they want you to help them reduce it.

For customers, the use of Universal Behaviors means that marketers will be replacing generic messaging “noise” with an experience that’s more relevant and timely to them as individuals.

Let’s say “John” needs some new running shoes. He hasn’t been back to XYZ running shoe company since he bought a pair of Nike shoes a year ago. Driving by one day, he notices the store and decides to stop in. When he enters, his phone vibrates and he gets a text message: “Hey John, glad to have you back. Don’t forget to check out our new line of Nike running shoes.”

A few minutes later, “Sarah” enters the store. She’s visited a few times in the last six months, in addition to downloading XYZ’s mobile app and visiting the company website, where she left a pair of New Balance running shoes in her shopping cart a week ago. As she walks through the door, she gets a text message that reads, “Sarah, we’d love for you to complete your New Balance shoe purchase. Here’s a ‘10% off’ coupon to use in the store today."

Two different customers, two completely different communications – delivered in real time and based on the individual’s unique past interactions with that company. That’s the power of Universal Behaviors.  And for customers and prospects tired of wading through advertising clutter and failing to see their past interactions with businesses reflected, this kind of personal attention can make all the difference.

Why It’s Awesome for Marketers
Marketers get really excited when they have analytics tools that can actually track that somebody did something – filled out a form, visited the website, watched a video or Tweeted a piece of content. Unfortunately, marketers have never had a platform that could correlate these different pieces of data back to the individual. 

That’s what’s so exciting about Universal Behaviors – it enables you to take the data-capture concept to a whole different level. Now you can see when somebody watched a video, why they were there, how long they were there, what section of the website the video was in, the SKU number of the product being shown, what color they selected – you get the picture. We’re talking about endless amounts of data about each behavior.

Put this concept together with the idea of “single identity,” and you have a package that allows you to take behaviors that are occurring in different systems and have different IDs for the person, and then relate them back to the person in your marketing database and act on them.

The Next Phase of Behavioral Marketing
With Universal Behaviors, marketers can more fully realize the potential of behavioral marketing to help them move beyond audiences and focus on individuals. In future posts, I’ll outline different use cases for Universal Behaviors, dig deeper into the technology that powers it, and explain how we see it expanding.

I hope you’re as excited as I am about the new possibilities for creating an incredible customer experience. I like to think of Universal Behaviors as a hi-tech radio antenna for marketers. Without it, you’d only hear static. With it, you can hear your customers and act on what you learn.

Related Resources:
1) White Paper: “20 Ways to Personalize Customer Experience and Enhance the Customer Experience
2) Blog: “Behavioral Marketing: What It Is and What It’s So Exciting
3) Video: “Behavioral Marketing Automation Defined


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