Next best action marketing: what is it and why your business needs it

Sometimes even the best laid marketing plans fail to produce the best results. Why? Because customers have increasingly high expectations – they want to be known as individuals, and demand products and services that reflect their personality and preferences. This is why a one-size-fits-all buyer’s journey won’t always work.

Instead, you need to think holistically about how to guide consumers through the buyer’s journey in order to maximise results. One way to do this is to adopt a next best action approach.

Next best action (NBA) is a powerful marketing tool that can convert users into paying customers and repeat buyers. How? It considers historical data about each individual customer, such as demographics and past behaviour. These behaviours could include:

  • Past purchases
  • Inbound communication eg emails, phone calls
  • Payment methods
  • Use of social media

Using this data it is possible to find patterns between characteristics of customers, the sequence of their buyer journeys, and which customers made a purchase. For example, customers under the age of 30, who received an email followed by a text, are more likely to purchase the latest riding tights, while those under 20 are more likely to respond to a Facebook ad.

You could collect and analyse this data yourself, but a far more time and cost-effective solution is to invest in a software solution. Platforms such as SAS Customer Intelligence 360, Optimove or Heap will help you analyse your customers’ behaviour and identify the most effective marketing action, eg suggesting a new product, a promotion, sending an email, etc.

There are five steps to creating a tailored customer journey:

  1. Track your customers

To predict your customer’s next steps, and create a tailor-made journey, you need to know exactly how they behave on your website. This means tracking key metrics, such as previous purchases, searches or items viewed.

  1. Segment your customers

While NBA is based on treating customers as an individual, you can’t realistically have a different journey for each and every one of them. Instead, you need to segment your customers into groups, based on the data collected above. Some software analytics will even let you automatically add customers to groups according to your predetermined criteria.

Factors to consider include:

  • Demographics eg age, gender, location, job, interests within equestrianism
  • Behaviours eg social media use, type of the activities they do with their horse
  • Previous purchases eg if they have only ever bought a pair of socks they are unlikely to spend big bucks on the latest high-tech jacket
  1. Personalise their journey

Based on what you now know about your customer, you need to map out all potential actions they could take, at different stages in their journey. So, if they recently bought a showjacket, they might want to look at stocks and shirts, while customers who browse bridles are more likely to be interested in saddlery equipment.

Your software platform can help you design a personalised customer journey, giving you control over their decision-making process.

  1. Forecast the customer lifetime value

Customer lifetime value (CLV) is a key metric that forecasts the total revenue your business will make from a single customer and it can help you find and retain customers who offer the most value for the company. It’s used in an NBA strategy to determine the long-term impact of each customer action.

There are various formulas online that will help you calculate CLV, but the results are usually quite crude. A much easier and more sophisticated way is to let your software do it for you.

  1. Create curated content

A key component of NBA is to make sure you have a bank of personalised content, for every step of the customer journey. This could include blogs, eBooks, how-to-guides or even product demos. Your chosen software should help you determine when and where to place this content – whether it’s via email, text or social media.

Creating a next best action marketing plan can be daunting – but with the right software and a customer-orientated mindset you can create a tailored buyer journey, which will improve customer engagement and increase sales.


For more great advice on how to maximise the effectiveness of your marketing, get in touch today.

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