Attitudinal and Behavioral Data: Better Together

Funny thing about customers: They say one thing then do another. This can lead to conflict between attitudinal and behavioral data. And that can create a rift in aggregated customer data.

Eric Tobias, VP of Web products at ExactTarget, distinguishes the two: Attitudinal data is explicit—asking customers questions such as through a survey and evaluating their direct feedback. Behavioral data is implicit— observing and inferring customer motivations based on actions such as online clicks. Independently, both types of data have virtues, but relying exclusively on one can leave gaps in understanding the customer’s overall journey. For instance, neglecting attitudinal data can lead to a lack of understanding as to why a customer converted.

Property management software provider Buildium is one company that relies more on behavioral than attitudinal data. Sam Clarke, marketing associate of Buildium, says the company uses behavioral analytics to determine how engaged prospective customers are within a 15-day free product trial. Using real-time Web personalization platform Evergage, Buildium tracks prospective customers’ actions during the trial and assigns scores to actions it considers influential. Buildium tallies these actions to assess engagement, which the sales team uses to determine where these prospects are in the buying cycle. This also helps Buildium pinpoint which trial components are valuable to customers and adjust its messaging accordingly.

Buildium also collects attitudinal data, through Net Promoter Score surveys twice a year, satisfaction surveys, and a forum that allows users to recommend product enhancements. Additionally, the company is looking to reach out to recently converted customers to gain insight about their trial experience and see if their feedback coincides with their behaviors.

However, Clarke admits that the company relies heavily on behavioral data because obtaining attitudinal data isn’t easy—even with all the feedback channels it uses—mostly because prospective customers see little value in offering their feedback.

Got attitude?

Vacuum manufacturer Bissell’s solution to this predicament is to offer a 10% discount on website orders to consumers who register on the site. “On a given day, at least 30 to 40 percent are filling out their profile,” says Allyson Reagan, ecommerce program manager at Bissell.

As part of this profile, Bissell asks customers about any special cleaning considerations (e.g. eco-friendly), floor types, and pet ownership. Bissell segments its customers around this data, using categories such as “validation cleaner” and “desperate declutterer.” It then adjusts its email content, ranging from cleaning advice to cleaning supplies replenishment reminders, accordingly, Reagan notes.

Linking disparate data

Unlike Buildium and Bissell, AXS.com uses both attitudinal and behavioral data equally. The ticketing company collects customer feedback and runs analyses to see if it aligns with their behaviors. For example, after conducting focus groups and talking with customers, AXS.com discovered that customers were frustrated with not getting reimbursed for buying friends’ tickets, says Sandeep Khera, VP of CRM for AEG, which owns AXS.com.

To solve this problem, AXS.com made the ticket-buying experience more social by launching AXS Invite—a platform that allows customers to reserve seats for friends and notify them that the seats are reserved via Facebook or email. The data shows that it’s working: The average order size of customers using AXS Invite is about four tickets compared to a cross-event average of 2.7 tickets.*

*Updated: November 16, 2013 at 5:00 PM ET

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