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Why Behavioral Marketing Is Replacing Broad Segmentation

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by: Todd McCormick (@TMcCormick2011)
20 November 2012

Would it surprise you if you learned that your company is missing countless opportunities to engage buyers with its current marketing strategy? If you’re using only email marketing or just marketing automation, the answer is almost certainly yes.

Email marketing has been one of the most popular tools for companies to reach customers and prospects for a while. Segmenting groups by broad categories, for example, can improve email response rates when compared to nothing at all. But at its core, segmentation simply looks at buyers in batches, not as distinctive individuals with unique buying objectives and considerations. With generic broadcast messages and broad segmentation often resulting in less personal communications, the median click-through rate currently hovers between 2 percent and 3 percent.

But new developments in email systems, marketing automation platforms and CRM databases are helping marketers dramatically outperform the results of standard broadcast email messaging. Here’s how today’s winning marketers can upgrade their strategies to transform their results.

Out with the Old, In with Behavioral Marketing
When you automate your marketing campaigns without paying attention to behaviors, you run the risk of burning buyer bridges by delivering unwanted, irrelevant messages. Conversely, when you monitor behaviors without automation, you secure a bunch of data, but are limited in how you can use it.

That’s why marketers are turning to behavioral marketing to enhance their results and communicate more effectively with Buyer 2.0. Now more than ever, digital marketing tools enable you to engage customers as individual people. And while the results can be staggering, the concept isn’t overly complicated. Behavioral marketing essentially combines an individual’s behaviors and interests with marketing automation.

The Winning Behavioral Marketing Equation
For an example of a well-known leader in behavioral marketing, consider Amazon. Its meteoric growth can be largely attributed to its behavioral targeting approach to personalizing its customer experience across every touch point. How many times have you bought something else, just because it was suggested?

Amazon’s exact algorithm for its selling recommendations may be somewhat of a secret, but marketers can emulate its approach by applying a simple formula:

An individual’s behaviors + marketing automation = behavioral marketing

To make this equation work for you, follow these steps:

1) Get organized. Store customer behavioral traits inside your integrated marketing system’s central database.

2) Set up fields in your system to track key buying behaviors across multiple platforms online. For example, if someone downloads a white paper, visits a specific page on your website or watches a company video, automatically note the action and interest in your system.

3) Create a marketing program that automatically triggers message sends based on behaviors. Say a customer abandons a shopping cart or shares a piece of your content. Or a prospect registers for a Webinar or signs up for your 30-day trial. Put rule sets in place to serve up content directly related to the action that person took – or, in some cases, didn’t take.

4) Capture individuals’ social patterns. For example, if a prospect leaves a comment on a blog post or uses a social sign-in form, store those behaviors in your system, where your sales team can refer to them in later sales conversations.

By personalizing your social media, website and email marketing efforts, you’ll better engage prospects and customers. And with the right central hub to capture the data, you can leverage your content to better market to your customers’ behaviors.

What You Can Expect from Behavioral Marketing
In a recent study of 1,700 CMOs worldwide, IBM compares the dramatic changes in buyer-seller relationships to the way X-rays transformed medicine. Similar to how that innovative technology let doctors see through human tissue, behavioral marketing allows marketers to better see what a customer really wants.

What’s your behavioral marketing X-ray? Shoot me a tweet @TMcCormick2011, and find out.

Related Resources:
1) White Paper: "Let the Buyer Be Your Guide: Leveraging Buyer Behavior in a Multichannel World"
2) Blog: "Behavioral Marketing: What It Is and Why It's So Exciting"
3) White Paper: "6 Key Marketing Trends for 2013 -- and Tips for Succeeding in the Year of the Customer"

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