Demographics can give marketers a general picture of the market, but to dig deeper, companies must understand and respond to customer behavior. Otherwise, competitors that identify trends early and respond with appropriate behavior-driven marketing may be able to pick off customers, first in ones and twos and then in torrents.
The widespread adoption of mobile devices is a good example. A recent article in BusinessWeek discusses the vast opportunities available to marketers that understand how, when, where, and why people use mobile devices. Smart phones, iPads, and other mobile gadgets have become utterly indispensable for many consumers and business folks.
It's actually a risk not to include mobile in today's marketing plans, IMHO.
For instance, knowing that so many drivers have iPhones within reach, the insurance firm State Farm offers an app for reporting an accident (and locating nearby repair facilities, etc.). This kind of behavior-driven marketing demonstrates to customers that the company gets it. More important, it adds utility that strengthens the overall offering.
However, many marketers haven't yet jumped on the mobile bandwagon. The firm eROI finds that less than one-third of companies surveyed believe their customers put a high value on an optimal mobile marketing experience.
I wonder whether these non-believers have tried turning off their smart phones for a day? The danger in lagging behind your customers' behavior is that you might lose customers to competitors before you have a chance to catch up. Behavior-driven marketing is often the most powerful and effective marketing of all.