Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Analytics: Key to uncovering and acting on customer motivations

By Lara Albert

Consumer motivation is an internal state that drives people to identify and buy products or services that fulfill conscious and unconscious needs or desires. The fulfillment of those needs can then motivate them to make a repeat purchase or to find different goods and services to better fulfill those needs.

Regardless of industry or product, successful marketing starts with a clear understanding of what motivates your customers to take action. What drives them to make a purchase, to talk about your latest product release or to trial something new?

Let us take the example of a wireless carrier. More than likely it is interested in what motivations drive an entire range of behavior.

What motivates someone to use more data, make more calls or send more SMS? What motivates someone to top-up? What motivates someone to slow usage? What motivates someone to churn? What motivates someone to accept an offer? What motivates someone to switch service plans? What motivates someone to upgrade their device?

How do you uncover motivations?
For decades, marketers have used a variety of methods to help them understand customer motivation as it relates to their products and services.

Focus groups, online surveys, ethnography – they are all tried-and-true techniques for getting at why customers behave the way that they do.

But as a marketer I have to ask: how do these techniques scale to uncover the motivations of each individual among millions of customers? And what sort of immediate action, if any, do the insights trigger?

Understanding individual customer behavior over time
In this world of “big data,” marketers are trying to harness everything they know about their customers to drive new revenues and increase customer loyalty.

Yet due to the lack of analytical tools, most are challenged to understand the behavioral patterns of their customers, particularly in ways that allow them to act at the time it really matters.

Despite the vast amount of customer data that may exist, most marketing continues to rely on traditional segmentation schemas and static profile attributes that do not accurately portray each customer.

Going back to the example of the carrier, it is common to see marketing that relies on micro clusters, for example, those customers who are married with kids, those who subscribe to a certain rate plan, those in a certain lifecycle stage and “heavy” data users.

These clusters typically reflect where customers are at a point in time, but do not take in to account how differently two people who, for example, subscribe to the same rate plan or are in the same lifecycle stage, may behave.

As mobile marketers we should ask ourselves – is it more important to know that a mobile subscriber meets the profile of a 65-year-old grandmother or that a subscriber is a hyper-texter who surfs the Web way above average, spends a ton of time on Facebook and generates a lot of outbound calling events – and just happens to be 65?

Do we really care who they are? Do we not care how they behave? And more importantly how their behavior changes over time? After all, it is getting customers to behave a certain way – not knowing who they are – that drives marketing objectives.

Acting based on real-time needs of each customer
Advancements in analytics are driving what some are calling scientific marketing.

With scientific marketing solutions that combine big data analytics and behavioral marketing capabilities, marketers gain deep insights into customer motivations combined with the ability to act at the right time – in an automated fashion –to deliver communications in the right context to the right person at the right place.

This approach of delivering relevant communications in context based on an individual customer’s constantly changing behavior takes marketing to the next level.

Marketers move beyond engaging with groups of customers at set times to interacting with individual customers based on their real-time needs.

Consumer motivation will always be at the heart of marketing. But how many marketers today have the analytical tools to uncover how and why each customer behaves and based on the context they are in deliver something truly personalized?

If you are not there yet, you are not alone, but it might be time to consider an approach grounded in more sophisticated analytics and steeped with science.

Lara Albert is vice president of global marketing at customer experience services company Globys, Seattle. Reach her at [email protected].