Patterns and Marketing

Early in my marketing career, I learnt a very important lesson. Customers follow a 'PATTERN' . Seth Godin calls them "Tribes".

My ex boss, and my friend Abhay very recently, always spoke of 'Patterns'. They kept insisting to me that if one can deduce the patterns of customers, one can sell more effectively. Somehow, I've always felt this is a good way of understanding customer behavior (an area which intrigues me most). It was only when I looked at Google Analytics, and then at Trendsmap (a tool which shows Twitter trends from all around the world), that I got thinking. What if one can integrate what both these tools do, and integrate it with various marketing tools, so as to emerge with patterns.

The image below is a screenshot from Trendsmap

The next image is from Google Analytics

Now, imagine an integration with a survey, or with that email campaign you sent. Suppose you have a survey question: "What influences your soap purchase?" and the answers are

  1. Smell
  2. Not harsh on skin
  3. Economical
  4. Neat design. 
Now assign different color flags to each answer; red for option 1, green for option2, yellow for option 3 and blue for option 4.

Then suppose we integrate online surveys with Google Maps, so that you can watch results pop up in real time. Imagine the flags popping up with each click on your survey. The color coding makes it easy to identify, and the density of a certain color can help you detect the said "Patterns".

Here's a few uses I can see for this sort of data:
  • Surveys: Imagine the patterns that can emerge over a period of time. You can easily compare the color flags over a period of time to see pattern changes. Strangely, if you watch National Geographic, they've used this technique to track migration patterns of animals.
  • Emails: Tracking email links is a tedious job. If you have a newsletter, it becomes even worser. Looking at patterns, one can have tuned, targeted mails for various regions, based on user trends
  • Social media: This is pretty easy, and a lot of it is already being implemented
  • Sales team: Will be of great use to them. They can keep tagging their sales made on an interactive map, which can be shared with the marketing department. This can help he marketing team further establish usage trends, areas where products/ services are selling, product/services sales in respective areas, revenue maps for customers etc.
  • Website: Create a map (2D) of your website, and track links. What would be interesting is if we can have a 'linktrail' of each customer; i.e. where does he click first, his 2nd click, and so on. If the entire trail can be mapped onto a pattern map, you have a consumer behavior map for your website. Optimise as much as you like after that.

Avinash Kaushik, of Occam's Razor and Google Analytics fame, remarks that analytics are easy, and unless you drill down, the simple mind cannot ascertain the key points from the data exhibited.

Perhaps this 'Pattern' detection will make it easy for the amateur researcher, or marketing executive to provide reports. Also, it might help make marketing a more reportable part of business (which it isn't right now).


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