Marketing Optimization: How your peers predict customer behavior

When you break down all of the challenges you face on a daily basis — from subject line writing, to landing page optimization, to graphic design — they all break down into the most basic, essential proto-challenge that faces all of marketing: How do I get access to the knowledge that will allow my campaigns to be successful?

On Wednesday’s free Web clinic, “What Your Customers Want: How to predict customer behavior for maximum ROI,” Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECABS, will share the principles we’ve discovered to help you answer this question.

But first, we wanted to hear what your peers had to say about predicting customer behavior …

 

Is this a trick question?

“The best subjects are always people, who never fail to amaze me by their unpredictability.” – Ronnie James Dio

“Human history is highly non-linear and unpredictable.” – Michael Shermer

All that being true, I do believe you can develop persona buying modes to predict customer reaction and behaviors to sales and marketing.

By understanding clearly the motivation of the buyer, the preference they have to gather information and make decisions, you can use that information to create the A/B testing scenarios that test your customer experience hypothesis and refine your understanding of the buyer.

The more relevant and clear you can be to the buyer, the more likely you will be able to predict behavior.

Furthermore, Sales uses that same data and customer persona in the sales approach and close.

The best way I have found to try to predict customer behavior is a method I call the “bright spots.” I’ve been recently reading the book, “Switch,” and was reminded of analysis paralysis, always looking for the problem to fix is not necessarily a good thing.

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If however you can focus on what is working and expand on it, then you actually can predict the behaviors you want. The process itself of creating buyer persona modes helps many businesses look at their USP (unique selling proposition) differently (through the eyes of their ideal customer). It also gives them the outside perspective they need in order to find the “bright spots” in their business, where customer success and experience is happening.

“Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseen and unpredictable.” – George S. Patton

Carole Mahoney, CEO, MiM

 

The key word here is ‘next’ …

… which indicates to me that we had already done something. This is key to forecasting returns when it comes to campaigns.

I will typically use a formula, such as how many total potential people will see the campaign (this is if every single person you targeted, actually sees it), then take a percentage off the top.

From there I will look at what percentage of the people that actually see the campaign will do something as a result, i.e., take an action. I apply this to the logic I defined in the leads process (how many leads do you need to get to a closed win) and forecast the total return from the campaign.

Depending upon the length of the sales cycle, I tend to drip the leads throughout the year. If you are forecasting them all to close in the month you ran the campaign, then you are most likely going to be off.

– Christina Pappas, Marketing Manager, WHERE, a PayPal service

 

You don’t predict behavior …

… you try and influence it.

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The rest is market research, trial and error, and a bit of luck.

– Max Bonpain, Head of Marketing (General Manager), Telecoms, Samsung Electronics

 

Using Internet marketing to predict customer behavior

Using online techniques, one of the most effective methods we have found is the use of online polls, A/B split testing and mouse tracking.

Online Polls: Asking customers and visitors to the website the following questions is the fastest way to optimize both your website and your marketing campaign:

  • What they are searching for?
  • Whether they have found it?
  • How their experience could be improved, etc.?

A/B Split Testing: This should be done with every marketing campaign to improve ongoing effectiveness. By creating two campaigns to market, you can track the successes of each campaign and utilize the findings in your next marketing push. Just make sure to change only one thing between the two campaigns; otherwise, you won’t know which factor produced the results!

Mouse Tracking: Great for ensuring a website is not confusing your visitors and to ensure that what is meant to be eye catching is actually eye catching! While the same results can be achieved using an analytics tool like Google Analytics to measure page journeys, etc., this is a much more visual reporting method that can capture the imagination of less technologically or statistically minded peers.

– Dan Griffin, Marketing Executive, Ashridge Business School

 

Related Resources:

What Your Customers Want: How to predict customer behavior for maximum ROI – Wednesday, March 28, 4 p.m. EDT

B2B Marketing: Embracing customer centricity

Customer-centric Marketing: Tap into your culture to differentiate from the competition

Guided by Buyers: 4 tactics to create a customer-centric sales and marketing strategy

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4 Comments

  1. Dennis @ Brochure Boxes says

    Pulling out the big guns on strategy huh? Patton… Nice. They are all right, learn from mistakes, but don’t try to duplicate the resolution, find your own. See where things can go wrong and adjust your plan accordingly.

  2. Gene Gerwin says

    I’ve never really been to sure about how mouse tracking is supposed to be reflective of eye movement… while your eyes will certainly follow the mouse in most instances, in others you’re actually moving the mouse cursor out of the way so it doesn’t distract you as you try to read the page you’re on.. in other instances your eyes dart around the page without the mouse following at all… I just don’t see people spastically moving their mouse cursors all over every page they open… a tool like Attention Wizzard which analyzes color, shapes, brightness, etc. to predict eye movement seems more logical to me (I’m not affiliated with them)…

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