How can marketers get consumers to love their brand? It’s a long and difficult process that requires a complex system of tools and tactics.

Yet at Econsultancy’s Funnel event this morning Silverpop’s John Watton managed to summarise the process in just 20 minutes, succinctly laying out the basic premise of behavioural marketing and how it can benefit businesses.

Watton began by describing the relationship he has with a wine merchant in the Chiswick area of West London, which is a neat metaphor for the principles behind behavioural marketing.

Though there are a huge number of shops that Watton could go to for his weekly wine fix, he chooses to return to the same shop due to the relationship he has with 'Bob' the shopkeeper.

Over the years Bob has grown to know who John is, his budget, and what he’s drunk before. He can therefore make relevant recommendations based on this knowledge of his customer.

And more importantly, as a result of this relationship, John: 

  • Often spends between 30%-200% more in the shop than he planned.
  • Buys five times more than he does at Waitrose.
  • Enjoys dealing with Bob.

As such, the more that businesses can learn to be like Bob, the more successful they’ll be. 

The move towards personalisation

Unfortunately Watton believes that marketers aren’t like Bob at the moment and need to move towards implementing more focused personalisation and segmentation. 

We’re currently putting customers into buckets depending on job titles, size of company, turnover, etc. We can then design value propositions, understand customers and send out targeted messages.

Marketers then achieve a 3% CTR and think it’s great, however “it’s actually a failure if you consider that 97% found it irrelevant.”

How can this be fixed?

'Traditional' segmentation works off demographic and profile information, but it doesn’t mean that the person is in the market for a product right now – there’s no understanding of context.

Marketers need to shrink down their segments "from buckets to bowls, to mugs, to shot glasses, to thimbles."

We have to think about behaviours and the customer’s desire to buy. It’s not about their company or demographic, it’s about where they are in the buying cycle.

This involves four different stages:

  • Decide which behaviours to track. This includes email behaviours, social interactions, what’s going through the call centre, or how they used the website.
  • Pull the data together into a single behavioural database. This involves email, location, social, and CRM data.
  • Use this database to get a single view of the customer. Marketers need to create lead scores based on behaviours and interactions.
  • Finally, automate across channels and personalise the experiences. Take these clues in terms of the customer’s readiness to buy and personalise the experience. If they only read email and never come to the website, then target them via email.

But how do you get there?

To implement this there are various marketing platforms available, with Silverpop being an obvious example.

But to get started on the road to behavioural marketing, Watton suggested that there are 10 B2B processes that marketers should look to automate.

  1. Welcome/Onboarding.
  2. Browse abandonment.
  3. Recommendations.
  4. Product review requests.
  5. Replenishment/re-orders.
  6. Password renewal/reminders.
  7. Trials (e.g. free trial of a product).
  8. Cross-selling.
  9. Purchase anniversary renewals.
  10. Re-engagement.

To bring this full circle, behavioural marketing is essentially trying to do what Bob does but on an industrial scale. 

And if you get it right your customers will love you just as much as John loves Bob...

David Moth

Published 8 October, 2013 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

1719 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (4)

James Perrin

James Perrin, Digital Communications Specialist at Feefo

Nice recap David, thanks for sharing. I love the wine shop analogy. I think personalisation will be a huge facet of content marketing, especially for bigger brands. Knowing the different buyer personas, as well as their different buying stages will significantly help when delivering highly targeted and personalised content. Reading your recap of John's presentation has helped to solidify that thought. Cheers.

almost 5 years ago


jonathan drakes, engineer at infosys

Nice tips suggested David. I love the way you have taken things all together.

almost 5 years ago

Karl Havard

Karl Havard, Partner, PA Consulting Group at Econsultancy Guest Access TRAININGSmall Business Multi-user

Hopefully "bucket" concepts and segmentation models are dying. When you think of why we did this, it's because of the lack of timeliness of customer data updates. Now we have real-time capability, it's all about relevance and these old style buckets will hopefully disappear.

I would add though, to get customers to "love" you, you also need great products and a great brand, one which has shared values and likeminded people revolving around it.

almost 5 years ago


Mark Donington

A great article, some really insightful observations. I agree with James, personalisation is paramount to marketing. It's all about identifying your target audience and then expanding the individual personas as far as possible.

almost 5 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.