What is digital body language?

Digital body language is a set of behaviors exhibited by users of Internet or other digital media. Thanks to analytical and marketing tools, we can observe these behaviors and adjust our method of communication according to them, as well as generate sales leads more effectively.

Having read the first chapter of our CMO’s Expert Series, you already know how the marketing automation solutions can help you generate high quality leads by engaging them at a very early stage of customer journey and increase sales conversion by employing effective nurturing strategies.

From this chapter you will learn how to gain valuable information on the customers by observing their behavior on your website, their reactions to e-mailing, and other digital resources.

In traditional communication, we transmit a major part of the meaning non-verbally. We can acquire much more information by analyzing body language than with what we hear from our interlocutor. In digital communication as well, an analysis of the “non-verbal” behaviors of potential clients can widen significantly our knowledge about their needs, preferences, or ways of making a purchase decision.

What is digital body language?

In B2B marketing, the ability to observe and react to digital body language messages allows us to guide the potential customer from the initial research phase to the purchase decision much more quickly and efficiently.

Changes in B2B decisive processes

The most complete concept of digital body language was designed with the needs of business marketing specialists in mind. It was described in the book “Digital Body Language” by Steven Woods – the founder of the Eloqua company (now part of the Oracle Marketing Cloud) which is one of the first and most advanced marketing automation class tools.

Already a few years ago he noticed that the buying process in B2B has become much more complex. It can involve from a few up to a dozen decision makers who actively research information on ways to resolve a given problem or business challenge. Each of them has a different perspective – a CFO will think of the costs, a CEO will think of the global impact on the business, and the manager who initiates the buying process will care about the solution of a specific business problem. Each of the decision makers will search for information using different phrases and they will visit different websites or web forums.

Forrester claims that the client acquires about 70% of the knowledge of the product before he contacts the seller. According to Google, it is about 50%. Regardless of the discrepancy, the point is that it is the Internet that constitutes the first source of information for decision makers in B2B.

Consequently, B2B product providers need a tool that will let them answer the informational needs of varied decision makers and discover their needs and preferences. In the early stages of the decision, when even the needs are not yet fully shaped, the only way to start an effective “digital dialogue” is the observation of digital body language.

A complete client profile

The aim of observing the digital body laguage of a potential client is building his profile. The profile is composed of information transmitted “non-verbally” (the observation of digital body language) and “verbally” – for example in the form of an e-mail communication, data from filled out forms, requests for proposal, etc.

While creating a client profile, marketing specialists should be evaluating each of these interactions. This way, they can identify valuable prospects. The “verbal” messages will give us answers on the identity of the prospect (name, company, function, industry, etc.) – this way we can evaluate their position in the decision process and assign a suitable score. However, we will not learn much about their level of interest. Of course we could ask, but in the early stages of the customer journey it will be difficult and uneffective. That is where the analysis of digital body language comes into play.

Let us build an example client profile

The client has a problem
Customer X types the phrase “phone theft – data” into a search engine. They find several useful articles. One of them shares a procedure of reporting the theft and information on how to remotely erase the data from such a phone. The information proved to be useful. At the end of the article there was a link to an ebook on securing a phone so that in case of theft, the data would be impossible to read by unauthorized persons. X downloads the ebook and gives their name and e-mail address.

Customer shares information
This is how X turns into Catherine. We already have some basic verbal information (the searched phrase aka keywords, name, and e-mail address) and non-verbal information (the interest in the subject of the article and a need of security in case of any similar cases in the future). Using marketing automation, an experienced marketing specialist programmed a sequence of actions for Catherine, which in the first stage will identify whether she is an individual user or a business decision maker. The prospect completes her profile by interacting with appropriate content.

It turns out that Ms Catherine works in the IT department of a medium-sized company and that she received an urgent request for retrieving data from a phone stolen from an employee of the company. She was unable to retrieve the data and only managed to erase it remotely thanks to our article, so she started looking for information on how to prepare for similar situations in the future. She downloaded a few more ebooks and attended a webinar on tools and processes for managing and securing data in company smartphones. After the webinar, she agreed to establishing a business contact, since she decided that the time has come for the deployment of the solution presented during that online lecture. Each of these actions was diligently scored in the client profile. Each downloading of an ebook, opening of an e-mail, clicking of a link or attendance of a webinar was subject to scoring.

Catherine’s digital body language clearly indicated that she was interested in detailed information (downloading of several technical ebooks, attendance of a webinar, and agreeing to being contacted by a consultant) and that she is in a hurry – quick reactions to the e-mails and an immediate reaction to the webinar.

That was enough to qualify her for a business conversation. I should not have to mention that the consultant would have the full profile of the prospect at his disposal during the first conversation.

Accessing that information is possible thanks to Oracle Profiler – a tool of the Oracle Marketing Cloud family. With its help, the consultant can prepare for the business conversation by tracking the history of interactions of the potential client with content on the website, e-mails, or the data that they provided through forms. We can also choose which actions of a potential client we want to be notified about via e-mail – for example if they register for a webinar. Such information can help us to better understand the informational needs of a potential client.
Eloqua Profiler 1

Consideration – content

As you see, the observation of digital body language, even if it is an automated process, requires marketing specialists to be active. There is a need for appropriately prepared content. In our case it was several ebooks of varying levels of difficulty, suitable website content, a technical webinar, and a dozen e-mails that guided the prospect through the whole process of auto-education. Catherine has mantained contact with the company and shared basic information because the information she was receiving was valuable and useful for her. The business offer appeared at a time when she was already properly educated and convinced that the offer of the company that shares valuable knowledge was worth considering.

First give, then take

As you see, we can observe digital body language only as long as we can attract and maintain the client’s engagement in the process of independent education.

What makes it possible is the deployment of modern marketing automation tools and having at your disposal valuable content designed in such a way that it allows suitable visibility in search engines, as well as guiding the potential client from the problem to the solution.

Contrary to popular opinions, it is not an orwellian invigilation machine, but a way to a valuable dialogue and exchange of information with a potential client who is looking for a solution to their problem. Using this tool will bring effects only if we are ready to educate clients and share valuable knowledge with them.

Read more:
“Digital Body Language” link to an e-book on Amazon

Steven Woods’ website – the author of the book “Digital Body Language”

If you want to know how to create client profiles and in that way increase effectiveness of sales conversion – contact us. Grow is a leading consulting and implementing agency that specialises in marketing automation tools and methodologies. Using the latest marketing automation technologies, we combine the domains of marketing and sales to support the rentability of our clients’ activities.

Our technological expertise in the field of marketing automation has been acknowledged by giving us the Oracle Partner Of the Year award in the category Software as a Service, which is relevant to our competences and implementations of the Oracle Marketing Cloud solution.


Digital and B2B Marketing practitioner. Helps B2B Companies to fully utilize the potential of digital sales and marketing tools. Previously Head of B2B Marketing team at Samsung Electronics Poland before holding several marketing and channel development roles in Microsoft Poland.

CEO and Head of Consulting at Grow Consulting.

Over 15 years of experience in building marketing and leads generation strategies in B2B market. Pioneer of Marketing Automation deployment in B2B space.Effie Award winner in B2B category. Blogger, contributor to professional media : Marketerplus, Brief, Marketing w Praktyce. Author of the book “ABC of B2B Marketing” first handbook for B2B Marketers in Poland.

Contact us if you ant to know how to create client profiles and in that way increase effectiveness of sales conversion.

Contact us