The Next Shift in Marketing Automation is Behavioral Analytics

Interana Blog Staff

The shift to the marketing cloud has been great for automation and personalization. But, we have yet to provide marketers with an understanding of behavior across all their leads. This is essential for creating a marketing engine that delivers highly qualified leads at the lowest cost.

Marketing Automation Software Today Can't Generate Behavioral Insights

Pardot, Marketo, Hubspot all track the activity of leads. These logs store the sequences of actions each lead takes like viewing web pages, clicking links, filling out forms, downloading assets, opening emails, etc. If you read through a lead's activity log, you will see that it tells a powerful story of that lead's behavior and their journey with your company. Understanding these patterns and sequences of actions can tell you the behaviors that influenced or discouraged actions - giving you the best insights for improving your marketing.

Example activity log from Marketo This is an example of an activity log available for each lead in most marketing automation solutions. You can see they provide an in-depth log of every action, but the tabular view makes it impossible to see patterns of behavior across the entire population.

However, the ability to just read a single lead's behaviors in a tabular format has limitations and isn't very useful outside of debugging. The built-in reporting tools of these marketing solutions could handle counts and simple trends of activity, but didn't have any inherent functionality to track behaviors over time and across the entire population. For example, I wanted to first identify subpopulations of leads that didn't convert and then drill into individual leads to see what behaviors influenced what happened.

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To get behavior insights like this, I would have to turn to data teams. This was frustrating because the team was immediately disconnected from the data and it took days or weeks to get answers. The back and forth to ask a question or follow-up to a previous one added unnecessary time and confusion. Key roles like demand generation and field marketing would often make decisions without an understanding of the impact, simply because daily tasks didn't align with the analytics timeline.

I need the activity log of every lead, in one place, organized by time, and rendered visually so that my team can identify patterns and sequences of actions. I need to enable my marketing team with the ability to explore and discover their own data – they know it best. I need this next level of insights to rise above the noise and find opportunities for improving conversion flows, creating better programs, improving engagement with content, and increasing ROI.

Interana Gave Us Behavioral Insights Into Our Leads

When Ann and Bobby, two of the founders of Interana,  first gave me a demo of Interana, things immediately clicked. After joining the company as the Head of Marketing, I quickly started to write a script that uses Marketo's API to download the activity logs of all our leads and ingest them into Interana. I don't think I can ever go back to the old world of marketing analytics now. Here are a couple of reasons why:

  1. I now have a way to interactively explore, in real time, all the behaviors of our leads. Actions and patterns that I never thought were important suddenly started revealing powerful insights. I don't know if I ever would have learned that a link combined with some actions on our product page was a gateway to a demo request.
  2. Understanding conversion flows has become more than just counts of true and false. Now, I am drilling into sub-populations of leads who did and didn't convert to understand different behaviors that influence actions.

    Interana's Time View of Exploring Subpopulations who Convert Above is an example visualization using Interana to explore the behavior of subpopulations who converted on the website. The orange line represents the whole population of web visitors and the green line represents a subpopulation of visitors who clicked a specific link and filled out a form. The ability to look for patterns and sequences across different populations of leads who did or didn't perform an action isn't possible in existing marketing automation solutions.

  3. A lead score means so much more than a number or an average. Seeing a distribution of scores over time reveals patterns that help us better judge the success of programs.
  4. Looking at patterns in email programs has helped the team identify the best times to engage with leads, as well as identify bugs or server errors that hurt delivery.
  5. Funnels are no longer just about conversion counts. Now we are able to get insights into the actions leads take between steps to understand how that can influence success.
  6. It has never been easier to ask questions ad hoc. I can start at a high level, quickly add filters, or slice and dice across any dimension to drill down into any behavior.
  7. Everyone has the same access to data - no one has to depend on anyone else to get answers to questions. This has created a new level of accountability when it comes to making decisions.

Interana has changed the way our marketing team uses data. It has given us the behavioral analytics we need and couldn't get from marketing automation solutions. It now plays a central role in everything we do, and it has made the team smarter, more adaptable, and better decision makers. We are better marketers that understand the wants and needs of our leads that in return is delivering increased ROI back to the business.

When I look at the landscape of marketing solutions, I don't believe automation and personalization features are going to make any one solution stand above the rest. Analytics are what will differentiate solutions in the future. What current solutions are offering isn't going to be enough. Marketers need to be enabled with easy, self-service behavioral analytics that provides a clear understanding of their leads and what behavior leads to success.

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