Predicting customer behavior with BI reporting tools

For marketers, understanding what customers want is mandatory and represents the base for successful strategies. However, given the dynamic environment and the many channels that must be analyzed, it has become harder and harder to paint an accurate and compelling image of things. Fortunately, technology has the potential to transform the future of marketing, since it can help companies build the big picture and predict customer behavior.

There are so many elements that make up the marketing mix, that field specialists can sometimes feel overwhelmed. Nowadays, clients engage with brands and make purchase decisions through several platforms or devices, which means you have plenty of customer behavior data available – you just have to collect it correctly, make sense of it and transform it into actionable business insights. Although this process seems complicated, Business Intelligence is the technology that will help you manage and understand the information flow. BI tools can aggregate data and provide you with easy access to information for reporting, analysis and strategic decision-making before, during and after your marketing campaigns.

Organizations that focus on identifying customer behavior patterns are proven to perform better than their competitors. The good news is that you can use behavioral information to improve the entire lifecycle:
Acquisition: find out your clients’ preferences in terms of products and services, as well as the most popular acquisition methods (how and where people buy the goods);
Engagement: see which message is more relatable and which medium has a higher reach, then adjust your messaging;
Retention and loyalty: keep the best clients close and build custom initiatives to provide them with special offers.
BI solutions and advanced analytics will help you grasp this information and leverage the huge potential of data, but you need to make sure that the analysis process is done correctly. To get to the right conclusions, start by asking these questions:

What is your objective?

To gain perspective on your clients’ behavior when interacting with your brand, you need to establish a goal. It could be finding out what the trigger for conversions is, predicting sales preferences, or identifying the right messaging for each audience. No matter what it is, having a clear objective will keep you on the right track.

Is your data curated?

The first step for a thorough analysis is having clean, organized data. This means that you need to use a BI solution that can integrate data coming from multiple sources and curate it, so that you are left only with the relevant pieces of information.

Are you analyzing the relevant data?

You probably have tons of sales data that you can analyze, but its relevance varies depending on some variables, such as your goals, industry trends, or time frame. If you want to find out details about customer behavior, make sure you keep an eye on product traits, client profiles, or website usage patterns (for online stores). However, remember that the context is also very important: for instance, COVID-19 changed the rules of retail, so whatever pre-pandemic data you have, is no longer relevant. For this reason, you should constantly review the information and keep it up to date.

If you have the answer to these three questions, your BI solution will help you navigate huge amounts of data and choose the right approach in predicting customer behavior. The most sustainable option is to start by building the “buyer persona”: defining the main traits of those who are the most likely to buy from your brand. Use data such as previous purchases, demographics, geographics, as well as the channels they use to make a buy, to cluster customers. Once you have a clear image of what each segment wants, you can anticipate their needs and optimize campaigns, messaging, promotion channels and advertising materials.

Data analytics will also help you identify patterns in your customer interactions and predict churn rate. Based on this, you can go deeper and see why people decide to stop buying from your company, then come up with a strategy meant to keep them engaged and increase the retention rate.

Using predictable analytics is the first step to understanding customer behavior and acting on information, to make the best business decisions. To do so, you must first make sure your organizational culture is driven by science and data, instead of guesswork. Implement a system that facilitates data collection and integration, and remember that with the proper planning, a BI solution can deliver the answer to all your business questions.