The concept of behavioral marketing has been around for over a decade. But recently the topic has become even more interesting to marketers—and with good reason.
Where marketers used to be able to categorize people by demographics, now we can treat them as individuals based on their behaviors.
This means less guesswork and greater results.
It also means shifting how we think as marketers and facing new challenges.
Behavioral marketing vs. demographic data
Before behavioral marketing, we had demographic data. And it was problematic.
The fact is that demographic data is often inaccurate, out-of-date, and doesn’t typically give us any insight into a person’s current needs or interests. Not to mention that not every individual behaves as we expect a group to. Not every 23-year-old is on the job hunt. Not every woman over 60 is a grandma. And when we make guesses based on trends within a group, we miss our opportunities with the outliers.
But where demographic marketing falls flat, behavioral marketing gives us actual individual insights.
For example: Instead of targeting potential new parents by choosing gender or age range, we can target them based on parenting articles they read on our sites, newborn clothing purchases, and interaction with our newsletters on the topic. Instead of hoping all men between 20 and 30 will be interested in a line of golf products, we can track who engages with said line—taking the guesswork out of our targeting strategies.
The advantage of behavioral marketing
The core advantage of behavioral marketing, as you can see above, is the ability to understand customer needs and desires in real time. It’s the ability to track customer behavior across all the different places they interact with your brand and use that data to understand them.
Armed with that knowledge, deciding what content to send a customer and how to progress them in their buying or owning journey with your brand becomes simpler and clearer.
The challenge of behavioral marketing
Of course, these advantages also present a great challenge:
With an ever-increasing number of channels where customers interact with your brand, how do you connect all that data so you can see your customer as a distinct individual? How do you unify customer data across every tool and technology you use?
If the goal is to make smart decisions about how, when, and where to engage your customers based on their individual behavior, the first step is making sure we connect those behaviors across platforms and channels.
This is the essential challenge facing marketers today. Not just knowing we need behavioral data. Not just seeing the benefits. But unifying that data and using it to personalize the customer experience.
Behavioral marketing through Customer Data Platforms
Fortunately, there are technology solutions designed to solve this very challenge.
Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are focused on connecting your entire marketing technology stack, unifying all customer data into a single profile, then using that data to target customers based on their behavior and pushing that data back out into your tools to deliver a personalized experience to each customer.
The most advanced systems out there (Lytics among them) do this all continuously and in real time. This means you’re not acting on customer behavior that’s a week old. You’re not advertising something they bought two days ago. You’re reacting to their needs in real time with awareness and understanding.
Many leading systems (again, Lytics among them) also apply data science and machine learning to predict intent and interest and make decisions about how to engage millions of customers in the moment. This is the highest form of behavioral marketing.
These days, the volume of data coming at marketers is overwhelming. And the only way to streamline your marketing workflow by using that data to make smart decisions in real time is with a machine-learning-equipped CDP.
A good CDP takes the guesswork out of running increasingly targeted campaigns across larger and larger segments of customers—and does so in real time.