Predicting Buyer Behavior…

Laughing Drummer

“Past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior.”

Over twenty years ago, I wrote this simple sentence. Along with two others, it served as a foundation when I launched my first business… a staffing company that would enjoy a great deal of success, and an incredible reputation.

In your leadership role in business and elsewhere… you can count on similiar results.

Our firm used it in making every hiring decision… over fourteen thousand of them… to the delight of our client companies. We knew that an employee’s past behavior would likely continue in their next position.

Conversely, we also used it to judge whether or not we should do business with each particular company. As critical as it was to find just the right person to fit the job… we believed that it was of equal importance to work only with excellent companies.

We knew that corporate cultures contain behaviors, positive and negative, that repeat as well.


As small business owners and marketing professionals, we get inundated with opportunities to advertise here and promote there. Inevitably, many of these offers are justified with mounds of demographic data.

As if all men age 45-54 can be grouped into a similiar buying process or model…

After all, that is what we are interested in… the buying process. I mean, it’s great that a small business has a sales process, but if that sales process doesn’t line up with the customer’s buying process, then our message… our content… our efforts… will not be relevant.

To be sure… I could walk out my front door and throw a stone (or snowball… this is Wisconsin) in any direction and hit another guy… about my age… married… with children.

Since it’s the same neighborhood, we likely have similar incomes… drive the same sort of cars… where the same sorts of clothes… and take approximately the same time off.


But these do not identify the information we need as marketers. Indeed… to predict what I will do, how I will buy, and what is important to me… it is necessary to look at behavior.

Grouping a set of behaviors, and specifically ‘buying behaviors’, will result in content that is relevent to me… regardless of the step I am at in my buying process.



A sales process is useful only to the degree that it lines up with the particular buying process of your ideal customer.

Demographic data must be combined with behavioral data if it is to be a reliable tool for small business marketing decisions.

Whether searching for new customers or friends for your kids… you can always count on past behavior as a solid predictor of future activity.


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