Behavioral marketing is one of the most tactical forms of advertising. Using concepts like in-depth market research and target user “personas,” this form of marketing doesn’t depend on chance. Instead of throwing a bunch of marketing messages at a wide range of target consumers, behavioral marketing and messaging experts gather as much information as possible about their targets to ensure the messages they send contain the right type of content for different types of people.
The era of “spraying and praying” marketing is well and truly over. Without such refined strategies based on actual user data such as their browsing history, consumer cookies, etc., it’s impossible to create marketing messages that connect with target audiences. Here are some reasons why behavioral messaging will be vital in 2021 –
- In 2019, approximately 25.8% of internet users reported using ad-blocking software to prevent unwanted advertising messages from popping up on their devices. This relatively moderate figure is expected to increase rapidly over the next decade. Hence, your paid and unplanned advertising messages will never reach your target audiences.
- Brands that don’t understand what types of messages drive their consumers to make buying will struggle to provide the flawless user experiences modern-day consumers demand.
- A recent study into personalized advertisement showed that retailers could boost their ROIs on marketing campaigns by 667% just by adding personalized content to their marketing messages.
More importantly, behavioral marketing strategies can be improved over time. As businesses gain more info about their target consumers, they can make their personalized marketing messages more precise and more targeted. Add techniques like heuristics to the mix, and you can consistently create extremely appealing marketing messages.
What is Heuristics, and Why is It Important for Behavioral Marketing?
A heuristic is an approach to problem-solving using shortcuts. Heuristic solutions may not be optimal, but they provide satisfactory results within limited timeframes. Humans knowingly or unknowingly use heuristics all the time. The rapid insights our brains generate using pre-formed mental reflexes are the results of using heuristics. It’s basically our way of simplifying the various decision-making processes we undergo every day.
You can call heuristics common sense, intuition, or even prejudice. These mental patterns are developed from the information we gather from past experiences. There are thousands of heuristic techniques we use every day. Some of them include –
- Affect Heuristic: When the brain considers only the current emotional state to make decisions (e.g., when we crave fast food, we forget about our dietary objectives).
- Availability Heuristic: The most easily available idea is the one that our brains perceive as right. (e.g., people can only recall some childhood memories, so they assume those memories defined their entire childhoods).
- Present Heuristic: Our brains only consider the “present situation” to make decisions, irrespective of whether it is accurate or not. (e.g., most students won’t prepare for a test if there’s a possibility of the test getting canceled.)
How Do Heuristics Apply to Behavioral Marketing?
When marketers identify how their target consumers think and what heuristic shortcuts they use while assessing marketing messages, their ability to create more engaging marketing messages and campaigns improves significantly. Let’s say you’re an advertiser, and you notice most of your consumers take a certain shortcut to work. The smartest thing you can do is placing billboards along that road.
Similarly, if marketers notice how their target consumers use pre-defined mental shortcuts to make purchase decisions on their clients’ websites, they can use that information to create better browsing experiences. That’s why the best behavioral messaging agency will look to apply decision heuristics science to their marketing efforts. By using heuristics science, they can –
- Develop messages that speak directly to the heuristics target audiences use to make purchase decisions.
- Test different marketing messages using heuristics science to determine the message bundles that’ll create the most impact on the target consumer.
- Refine the strategy by conducting customer satisfaction. The insights mined from these researches can be used to further improve the heuristics-based model.
In the 1970s, only three key heuristics were identified by researchers. Since then, several heuristic approaches have been theorized by psychologists. Is it possible to consider so many thought patterns and behavioral factors while creating or testing marketing messages? Manually, no. If you use AI tools, yes.
AI – The Final Piece of the Puzzle?
To combine behavioral marketing with heuristics, marketers will need large centralized databases of consumer information. Processing this information manually is impossible. But, modern-day AI tools that are designed for optimizing marketing messages can easily compute countless factors and rate different marketing messages based on how much heuristic impact they create on target consumers. These AI tools –
- Provide optimal message maps for customer segments based on behavioral science concepts, heuristic techniques, and consumer data.
- Deep learning algorithms improve the quality of message testing over time.
- Marketers can improve the quality of their marketing messages by testing multiple versions of each marketing message they publish. Pick the ones that create the best heuristic impact.
Overall, these tools help marketers make data-based messaging decisions. In an era where very few marketing messages are able to resonate with target audiences or trigger positive responses, such a scientific and data-based approach to message testing will certainly stand out.