How to Use Rich Behavioral Data

Filed in Marketing Automation on September 30, 2016 by


You search for a new blender on Google, visit the Vitamix site, put one in your cart on Amazon but don’t buy it, and suddenly you’re seeing ads for that blender in your Facebook feed and all over Amazon. This is advertising using rich behavioral data. There’s no chance you’re going to forget about that blender and that’s exactly the plan. The genius of rich behavioral data is it not only allows your business to respond to customers based on what they do, but it allows you to do so in an automated way.

What is Rich Behavioral Data?

Rich behavioral data is a record of what your customers and prospects are doing, saying, and using. This isn’t a new concept, it’s been the core of marketing since there’s been commerce, but today it can be captured at a massive scale, analyzed, and automated. That’s what makes it rich.

Did you know 42% of companies are currently using rich behavioral data to automate their customer experience? Rich behavioral data is marketing on steroids. Instead of focusing on audiences and segments, it allows you to individually address each individual possible customer in a direct and targeted way. Marketing using rich behavioral data gets great results – more conversions, clicks, responses, and sales. 

How is Rich Behavioral Data Used?

The idea behind rich behavioral data is to gather as much detailed, personal information about each customer’s behavior and activities from as many platforms and sources as possible, then collate that data, analyze it, and use it to give the customer an individual nudge they need to take the action you want them to do—be it hitting “buy” on a product on your site, calling to schedule an estimate, or engaging with your brand online. Rich behavioral data is designed for B2C and B2B businesses, working effectively in both environments.

This type of data expands on the traditional concept of an email list. Instead of just gathering names and addresses of people who might be interested in your product or service, you gather details about people who are interested and the actions they have taken that indicate that interest and refine exactly what they are interested in and what is likely to appeal to them. The more you know about people and their behavior, the better able you are to give them the information they need in a way they respond to in order to make a decision that benefits you.

Gathering Rich Behavioral Data

Rich behavioral data gives you the flexibility to put together many pieces of behavior such as:

  • A Tweet to or about your company
  • An individual visit to your site or blog
  • Comments made on your blog or Facebook page
  • Emails from your company that have been opened and interacted with
  • Search terms that bring a customer to your site
  • Use of a loyalty or rewards card
  • Contact by a customer with a salesperson in your organization
  • Watching a video on your site
  • Forms filled out on your site  
  • Using a coupon or offer code
  • Scanning a QR code at a trade show or on a brochure or business card
  • Reading more than one page on your site
  • Downloading a specific item from your site (such as a coupon or document)
  • Orders placed in the past within a specific time frame
  • The purchase of specific items, as well as specific volume of orders
  • Items placed in cart on your site
  • Signing up for text messages
  • Online check-ins at your location or event

Gathering rich behavioral data is about cross-channel collation of information. Each piece of behavior listed above has value, but when you can combine them, it allows you to connect the dots on what people are thinking and doing in various platforms and locations so that you can draw important conclusions.  For example, if someone retweets your travel agency’s tweet about an Alaskan cruise, talks to a rep in your office about a Disney cruise for April, scans a QR code on a brochure about a family zip-lining adventure, and watches a video on your site about a water park resort in Vermont, you can pull these behaviors together and send the customer an email or a direct mail piece about Atlantis, the family-focused resort in the Bahamas, with an emphasis on swimming with dolphins, since you know the customer is interested in active family travel that is in or near the US in the spring.

In addition to behaviors, you can incorporate data about demographics and geographical location to further expand your database. This allows you to send targeted messages to people with certain titles (such as CFO or human resources for B2B customers), people in specific age brackets, or those who live within a certain radius who have acted on their needs or interests in ways you have filtered. You can send one a message about a tent sale to a customer who lives within 10 miles and has previously bought clearance boat items from you and another message to a customer who lives 200 miles away and buys from your online marine supply store and has recently read your blog post about the best ways to winterize their boat. These two customers have very different interests and you can now speak directly and separately to those interests with little effort.

All of the information and behavior is gathered and analyzed in a centralized, unified marketing database that is uniquely yours. The database becomes a living, breathing entity that is constantly updated, revised, and changed, allowing your marketing activities to respond in real time to your customer’s activities.  Each person or company has their own profile that includes all their data and behavior in a comprehensive identity profile. These profiles are then constantly automatically analyzed to target each person or entry in specific ways.

Using Rich Behavioral Data

Gathering such all-encompassing data is one thing, but putting it to work for you is another. The information you have about potential customers allows you to take a wide range of actions, creating a multi-touch engagement strategy. The possibilities are endless:

  • Emails
  • Individual content on your site or social media page
  • Individual ad content on your customers’ phones, computers, and tablets
  • Sales calls
  • Direct mail
  • Coupons
  • Custom brochures

You can analyze profiles so that you can direct mail and email anyone who has visited your web site within the last month, interacted with you on Twitter, but has not placed an order with you. Or you can create a custom ad for and schedule sales calls to people who have checked a specific box on a web form, have not interacted with a salesperson, and visited you at a trade show booth.  You can also set up specific offers for people who used certain types of search terms to get to your site. Someone who is searching using the word “cheap” along with other terms may be responsive to a coupon or free shipping offer you send for use on your site.

You can choose to send messages to people based on their behavior or based on their characteristics, or both. Because the database allows you to incorporate time frames, your messages can be made highly relevant and timely. The classic example of this is a customer putting an item in their cart and then navigating away. You send them an email reminding them there is an item in their cart, or you can leverage your data to send them a direct mail coupon valid on that item or other items you can predict they might be interested in based on the data in their profile. Rich behavioral data shows you which channels each customer responds best to so that you can use those channels to reach them, ensuring a higher response rate. If some customers have used a direct mail code to access a discount in the past but have never clicked through on an email, you can focus your efforts with mail for those customers. The key to this type of marketing is that you can send the type of message your customers want to hear, not the type of message you want to send. This greatly increases your return on your marketing dollars.

The beauty of rich behavioral data is that you use it to analyze past behaviors and automate it to respond in certain ways to future behaviors that you capture in real time. As soon as someone in your database take a specific action, the system is setup to respond to that in a planned way. This optimizes the real time aspect of the database and allows your messages to be on target and perfectly timed.

Rich behavioral data offers a wide variety of benefits. It increases customer engagement, creates a better way to gauge conversion rates, allows for timely communication, and provides greater options for upselling. Perhaps the greatest benefit is that it allows you to effectively target your communications in a strategic way, reaching more customers who are likely to be interested and not wasting your marketing dollars on those who don’t fit the profile of what you are looking for. Because of the data you gather you can communicate with potential customers across multiple channels with messages that are in response to things they have done and aren’t just based on cold data like age or address.



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