Here’s your sign.
While it is a well-knownÂ “redneck” comedianÂ punch line, it’sÂ also something youÂ should be looking for.
Some signs you must seek out, while others have been right in front of you all year long.
Many of those signs are buried in your existing business data.
Your business data illustrates your customers’ behavior, including buying and service calls. Some companies use it, some don’t.
For example, I realized today thatÂ I hadn’t sent out thank yous to a few clients. It’s been a very hectic, deadline-filled November and December and this is something I usually do right after Thanksgiving.
Not this year. And no, it wasn’t on my calendar because it’s just ingrained behavior. Bad Mark. Bad, Bad, Bad.
When I do remember this (and now, when it pops up on my calendar), I use high-end vendors to ship items like fresh or smoked salmon to a short list of folks that I do business with year-in and year-out.
One of the reasons I forgot? I didn’t get a catalog from either of the two vendors that I usually use. Well, sort of. I got a catalog two months ago, but that isn’t prime ordering season for “corporate gifts”.
The problem with this is that these businesses know when I order. If they look at the data from prior orders, they could *predict* when I place an order and what I might buy, much less where I’d send it.
Predictable Male Behavior
If I bought a two pound smoked salmon for the last five years, they know this because the ship to isn’t my name or address (not to mention the “It’s a gift” checkbox on the order form).
Given typical male shopping predictability (“get in, get out, move on”), they could have won the order by simply dropping a card in the mail or sending me an email saying “Hey Mark, we appreciate that you’ve ordered our delicious smoked salmon as a gift for the last five years, would you like us to send Joe another two pounds or would you prefer something different but in the same price range, such as our crab sampler?”
Or something like that. How tough would that be? No cold call. No catalog. Just an email from data that already tells them how I behave.
Do you want to do this for everyone? Probably not, but it would be of use in concept at the very least. Look at your order/sales data. Not just across the board, but for your best customers, however you define that. When do they buy? Might be a good time to place a reminder in front of them.
Look for the heat
Have you ever looked at a heat map?
On a heat map, the “hotter” looking places are either the locations where most people click or they indicate where eye-tracking tools determined that people are looking most of the time when they view a page.
Below, you can see an example website heat map illustrating click locations.
The red places indicate locations where the most people clicked.
The yellow and green areas are slightly less popular click locations and the blue are even less frequently clicked.
In other words, red is hot, yellow is warm, green is cool, blue is cold – just like on a graphical heat display – only this one shows the locations where people click on this web page.
Videos also do a nice job of illustrating data on a heat map, like this click location map.
This video shows a heat map eye movement on a video advertisement and the results aren’t what you might assume from seeing the still preview image.
Like any other measurement device, tools like the heat map help you understand if your site is well-designed for your user community (they are not alike from niche to niche) and can indicate usability issues, copywriting problems (and wins) and design strengths and weaknesses.
Your sales/order data is full of behavioral information.
People tend to be visual learners. What if we stirred these two together?
What would you learnÂ if you looked at your calendar overlaid with a heat map based on your lead, sales, order and service data?