Why Behavioral Customer Targeting Is Important For Your Business


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Every business seeks repeat customers who will stick with them for life. A crucial aspect to achieving this is by understanding what your customers want, why they buy your products or services, and how they interact with your product.

For instance, when Listerene was first developed more than 135 years back, it was meant to work as a surgical antiseptic that could also cure gonorrhea. Over time, the product was used for treating sweaty feet, soft corns, dandruff and a cure for common cold before finally becoming a solution that fights bad breath. There are dozens of such examples – Coca Cola was invented as a treatment for morphine addiction while Viagra was developed to fight hypertension, angina and various other symptoms of heart disease. Why did these products evolve to become what they are?

One thing that is common in all these above examples is how business owners identified the way customers used their products and modified it to cater to the need. So how does one go about it? According to Jay Barnett, a successful entrepreneur and the owner of Priority Pickup, a Perth based chauffeur rental company, the most straight-forward answer to this is to ask or analyze existing customers. For his business, Jay realized that an overwhelming majority of his customers were hiring his chauffeurs either to go to or get back home from the airport. He says that this triggered a change in the company’s marketing strategy to focus on airport transports.

In the online world, behavioral targeting can be done much more precisely and passively. One of the most popular examples is Amazon that uses the customers’ profile and past purchase history to recommend products that they may be interested to buy. Although Amazon does not exactly spell out how successful their recommendation system is, according to some estimates, as many as 35% of Amazon’s sales may be attributed to this system.

There are a number of tools and scripts available for small business owners to perform accurate behavioral targeting. Tools like CrazyEgg help website owners understand what percent of their customers actually click on ‘buy buttons’, how many scroll down to the second fold of the page, are people getting distracted banners and ads thereby contributing to low conversions, etc. Understanding these aspects of the customer’s behavior helps business owners fix their website.

For larger businesses, there are tools like Qubole that provide big data as a service. What they typically do is help businesses make sense out of their terrabytes of customer purchase information. Big data analytics is the science of deriving meaningful insights from huge swathes of data. For instance, retailers can use the purchase patterns of customers to estimate demand, or plan marketing strategies. In the absence of such information, a lot of marketing campaigns are basically hit-or-miss.

Regardless of whether you are an online retailer or a brick and mortar shop, behavioral targeting must be an integral part of your customer feedback loop. This not only helps in ensuring loyal repeat customers, but also helps you in the evolution of your business as a whole. What are your thoughts?


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