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How Social Behavior Can Predict Future Sales
End-to-end social management tools help savvy marketers 'pre-act,' not react.
Posted Mar 21, 2014
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In the sales game, everyone knows the proverbial saying "It's important to strike while the iron is hot." Sales success depends on your ability to give a prospect the right solution at the right time, before a competitor beats you to the punch. But what if you could reach your prospect prior to the punch? Here's how you can get—and stay—one step ahead using predictive social behavior.

Real Time Is Only Part of the Solution

Traditional digital marketing tools such as paid search have made it easier to fulfill consumers' needs, desires, and wants in real time, since customers are searching for a specific intent (i.e., to buy running shoes). The problem is the world of commerce is moving way too fast for marketers to effectively react only to real-time opportunities. While conventional monitoring and analytics tools deliver data about trends, by the time brands reach out, the opportunity has likely passed—there's either no time left to engage or the buyer has already made the purchase. In this case, real time has become not in time.

The Answer: Predictive Social Behavior Analytics

In order to broaden the marketing funnel, instead of waiting for prospects to tell us what they want, we, as marketers, must be able to predict what consumers want and when they'll want it. Predictive social analytics solutions provide that coveted crystal ball with the ability to look into the future and strike before the iron is hot to give consumers exactly what they will want or need—sometimes even before they realize they need it themselves. By growing the lead funnel with prequalified/self-qualified prospects whose behaviors show they're "warming up" to an opportunity, marketers can "pre-act" to drive higher engagement and sales.

Predictive Behavior

Here's an example. Let's say the Miller family is gearing up for a move to another city. As the event draws near, Mrs. Miller shares numerous moving-related posts on all her social networks, counting down to #MovingDay, lamenting what a chore it is to pack, and wondering about available cable and Internet services in their new community.

Mrs. Miller's behavior is typical: Social has become the new platform for sharing updates, thoughts, questions, etc. In fact, in the last month alone, there have been more than 1 million mentions of "moving out" on Twitter, and on Instagram, there were more than 130,000 "moving day" references. Compare those numbers to traditional search in which the key phrase "moving day" was used less than 1,000 times—likely because people were already searching for specific items (moving truck, cable, etc.).

While Mrs. Miller hasn't directly asked for assistance or recommendations on products or services, clearly many companies would benefit from insight into these conversations to engage with this hot prospect before she's ready to purchase. U-Haul could jump in with moving 

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