Keeping up with marketing trends can be overwhelming. There’s always a new methodology on the horizon.

Each new method seems to promise to dramatically improve results (and have you laughing your way to your next promotion). The worry that you might be missing out can leave you pulling your hair out trying to keep up to date.

But only some marketing approaches are actually worth reading about: the ones that genuinely work. Others are more buzzword than practical wisdom.

Behavioural marketing (also called behavioural targeting) is a methodology that sits firmly in the first camp. Read on to learn why and find out how to use it to your advantage.

What is behavioural marketing?

Behavioural marketing is marketing that targets users based on the actions they take online. In other words, their online behaviour. This is why it is also known as behavioural targeting.

Behavioural marketing commonly targets based on the following actions:

  • signing up for your newsletter
  • visiting your website
  • browsing a particular product
  • putting an item in a shopping basket
  • abandoning items in a shopping basket

If your marketing message aligns with something someone has just done, it’s both timely and contextually relevant. This automatically makes it more engaging than the majority of marketing messages your customer is exposed to.

When someone is engaged by your message, they are more likely to go on to take the action you’re encouraging them to take. Click that button. Buy that product. Join your loyalty scheme.

In this way, behavioural marketing doesn’t just respond to behaviour: it can shape it. Sounds pretty clever, huh?

But how can marketers possibly respond to every action a user takes? Through the power of marketing automation, that’s how.

Marketing automation sits at the core of behavioural marketing.

Marketing automation technology collects data on every action users take. It uses this to trigger automated workflows that marketers have set up in advance.

The four pillars of behavioural marketing

So, how do you know behavioural marketing when you see it? Here are four principles or pillars that underpin behavioural marketing. Behavioural marketing is:

  • Contextual: Behavioural marketing relates to an action your user has just taken.
  • Relevant: The marketing message is a natural follow on from your user’s action.
  • Timely: You’re targeting the person in an appropriate timeframe after their action.
  • Automated: Your user’s action triggers a pre-defined workflow that happens automatically, powered by marketing automation technology.


Why should you care about behavioural marketing?

Now you understand the behavioural marketing basics. But does your business need it?

Short of physically visiting your customers, behavioural marketing is the most personal way you can engage them. Because it’s contextually relevant and timely, it resonates at each stage of the buying cycle.

Behavioural marketing is an effective way of moving customers along in their journey to conversion. And the fact that its automated means is quicker and more efficient than other marketing methods.

For these reasons, behavioural marketing gives you:

  • better ROI
  • more conversions
  • more sales

Behavioural marketing is probably the best method marketers can use to optimise customer experiences. Better and more personalised customer experiences lead to increased loyalty and less churn.

Behavioural marketing tactics your brand needs to use

If you want to start benefiting from behavioural marketing today, here are some tactics to get you started:

Automated campaigns

Set up a series of automated email campaigns based on different customer actions. These could include:

  • Welcome emails: Introduce your brand to new subscribers and ease them along to their first purchase with a welcome campaign. These are triggered when someone signs up to your email list.
  • Renewal emails: If you have a subscription service, renewal emails are ideal. These are triggered when a customer’s subscription is coming up for renewal to encourage them to renew.
  • Replenishment emails: If you sell consumable products, this is the automation for you. Replenishment emails get triggered when a customer’s product is about to run out, to remind them to buy again.
  • Re-engagement emails: These get triggered when a customer lapses (stops engaging with emails or stops buying). They are a great way to remind customers what your brand has to offer and tempt them back to buy. If you’re not running re-engagement emails, then you’re at serious risk of suffering from email list attrition.


Real-time personalisation

Real-time personalisation is when you dynamically serve users different content across your emails and website based on their behaviour.

Fancy huh? It may sound so, but it’s a piece of cake with personalisation technology.

Personalisation technology uses data on website behaviour and previous purchases to create a tailored experience. Behavioural marketing at its finest.

Looking to invest in personalisation? Read our personalisation technology checklist to find the right solution for your business.

Exit-intent popups

Exit-intent technology delivers triggered popups when someone is about to close a window and stop browsing your website.

This form of behavioural marketing is a smart way to keep users on site or to capture their email. Popups that capture email addresses are reported to increase subscriptions by up to 300 percent.

Done well, popups are unobtrusive. They should be on brand, explain the benefits of signing up for emails, and have a persuasive call to action.


You might use an exit-intent popup to offer a discount to first time browsers. Or promote a piece of content that will support their path to purchase.

Browse and cart abandonment

Browse and cart abandonment campaigns are email automations you can set up to entice people back to buy.

Browse abandonment emails get triggered when someone abandons their browser after looking at your products. Use them to offer a discount on the product they were browsing or highlight low stock levels to increase urgency.

Similarly, cart abandonment emails will feature the products someone left in their basket. Simply reminding someone that they’ve left something in their basket can often be enough to encourage them to take action.

This form of behavioural marketing is an effective way to recover revenue you may otherwise have lost. Our customers recover 12% of revenue from abandoned carts.

You can learn more about implementing recovery campaigns in our best practice guide.

Retargeting adverts

Retargeting is a type of online advertising marketers can set up through retargeting vendors. They use data on what a person has browsed on your site to target adverts to them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or  third party sites via the Google Display Network.

Retargeting is a popular form of behavioural targeting. That said, it’s one that may prove less effective with the rise of AdBlockers.


Behavioural marketing is arguably one of the most human methods you can use to engage your audience. It’s contextually relevant, timely, and engaging. Qualities that make it your best bet to connect and persuade on a personal level.

Feeling inspired to start using behavioural marketing to increase your revenue? Then we’d love to show you what our marketing automation platform can do. See it in action by hitting the button below.

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