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5 Steps to Behavioral Marketing Success

by: Bryan Brown (@getvision)
28 June 2012

As I mentioned in my recent post, “Behavioral Marketing: What It Is and Why It’s So Exciting,” many marketers have taken note of behavioral marketing and its power to connect with customers and prospects on an individual level, yielding unprecedented “return on relationship.”

Still, the concept of building out a fluid communication system that twists and turns with each contact action can seem daunting to marketers just trying to get the next email out the door.

My advice? Don’t worry about building the world’s most comprehensive behavioral marketing system right off the bat. Instead, break the process up into the five steps outlined below, and you’ll be able to gradually achieve your goal of leveraging technology to deliver campaigns that interact with segments of one:

1) Build a centralized marketing database. Effective behavioral marketing begins with moving beyond siloed marketing technology to a unified digital marketing database that captures the interactions of each person with your company across multiple channels – site visits, email, social, mobile, offline, CRM, location, Web forms and more.

So, start by tapping the power of marketing automation platforms to extend your marketing beyond email to multichannel and cross-channel data capture. Make sure you’ve configured your system to capture data from Web tracking, CRM, progressive forms, email analytics and more and feed it into your central database, connecting the dots between a “named person” and all their behaviors/interests.

With a database that pulls profile data, relational data and behavioral data from multiple online and offline channels to build a comprehensive complete identity, you’ll be ready for behavioral marketing.

2) Segment and send messages based on behaviors. Begin tapping the power of combining marketing automation and behavior by grouping contacts together based on a few key characteristics and sending relevant content based on those characteristics. By using both recipient actions and the timeframe they were committed within to segment, you’ll boost relevance.

For example, you might run a query for those contacts who have visited a website or landing page and watched a product video within the last 30 days but didn’t request a sales call, and send them a message geared toward incenting them to set up a call.

3) Automate sends triggered by behaviors. Once you’ve successfully graduated from batching and blasting to segmenting based on a sophisticated set of behavioral criteria, you’re ready to bump it up to the next level and start letting contact behaviors drive immediate responses. Rather than performing a periodic query searching for contacts that fit certain criteria, you’ll set up a program so that as soon as a contact performs a certain action – or fails to perform an action – your marketing platform will automatically send that contact a message.

It’s a subtle but important difference that helps you optimize the timing aspect of delivering the right message at the right time. By having the customer or prospect’s behavior drive the timing of each message, you’re communicating on their terms rather than yours, boosting relevance and moving you closer to true 1:1 communication.

4) Insert dynamic content into emails based on each recipient’s behaviors. Placing dynamic content in a message enables you to automatically replace entire sections of your messages based on certain specified parameters. It’s a powerful way to boost engagement, conversions and revenue. Take this tactic up a notch by creating dynamic content rule sets based on a contact’s behaviors.

The possibilities are endless:

  • Populate a post-purchase email with pics of recommended accessories for the item the recipient purchased.
  • Populate a post-Webinar message with white papers related to the Webinar the recipient viewed.
  • Populate the call to action download offer in your nurture emails based on the contact’s prior downloads.
  • Populate a section of your weekly newsletter with content based on the Web pages they visited on your site.
  • Populate auto responder emails with the appropriate next call to action. For example, if a contact requested a white paper but didn't register for an upcoming Webinar, you could insert that as the call to action. Or, after someone watches a product video on your website but doesn’t request a salesperson contact them, you could send them an email asking if they have any questions about the video with a call to action to request a live demo.

5) Personalize the website experience to reflect each visitor’s past actions. Just as inserting dynamic content into an email can boost engagement, so can doing so on your website. With that in mind, start building content blocks on your website with related rule sets that tap your behavioral marketing database to serve up photos, text and videos based on each visitor’s past actions.

For example, someone who purchased a pizza stone on his last visit to your cookware website might return to your site and see an offer for a pizza cutter, a coupon for premium pizza ingredients or a video of how to properly toss a pizza dough. Or a prospect who downloaded a white paper might see an ad for a related Webinar, an incentive to request a sales call, or a video demo related to the white paper.

By taking the steps outlined above, you can move away from marketing to people as a group and start addressing their individual needs and wants, delivering campaigns that interact with segments of one and massively increasing customer and prospect engagement.

Ready to set up some behavior-driven business rules and campaigns? Check out Bryan's "Behavioral Marketing Automation Tips" blog post.

And for more marketing insights and tips, connect with Bryan Brown on Google+.

Related Resources:
1) Blog: “Behavioral Marketing: What It Is and Why It’s So Exciting
2) Blog: “5 Prospect Behaviors You Should Be Incorporating into Your Lead Scoring Model
3) Blog: “Progressive Profiling: The Key to Collecting Data Without Weirding People Out

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