Thursday, June 18, 2009

What Exactly IS Digital Body Language?

I've been using the term "Digital Body Language" on this blog quite a lot for obvious reasons. However, I have not really taken a moment to define the term, as I realized recently after a presentation on the topic. An audience member came up to me and very hesitantly asked "I think I get the overall concept, but what exactly IS digital body language." It was a very fair reminder to me to not get so caught up in a topic that the basic concepts are overlooked.

So what is it?

What we are referring to when we talk about Digital Body Language is the aggregate of all the digital activity you see from an individual. Each email that is opened or clicked, each web visit, each form, each search on Google, each referral from a social media property, and each webinar attended are part of the prospect's digital body language.

In the same way that body language, as read by a sales person managing a deal, is an amalgamation of facial expressions, body posture, eye motions, and many other small details, digital body language is the amalgamation of all digital touchpoints.

The best physical representation of digital body language that I can think of is as seen through Eloqua's Prospect Profiler tool (pictured), which shows the spikes and valleys of activity, across all digital media, from web and email to search and forms. You can see how a perspective of what is happening with that individual can be gained from seeing this amalgamated digital insight.

However, the raw information that digital body language provides is often only the foundation. Much as each facial muscle contributes to our reading of a person's body language, the raw digital information is mainly of use when looked at through the lens of lead scoring to understand whether an individual is ready for sales, or what buyer role they play in the process.

Hopefully this clarifies what Digital Body Language is. As always, I welcome your questions or comments.
Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
In my day job, I am with Eloqua, the marketing automation software used by the worlds best marketers
Come talk with me or one of my colleagues at a live event, or join in on a webinar


Jill Rowley said...


I would add Segmentation to your list of how the raw information is used by sophisticated marketers. Innovative marketers want to go beyond segmenting on basic demographic information and incorporate segmenting on people's behavior, or digital body language, as you call it.

I love your Digital Body Language blog and am also a huge fan of your Eloqua Artisan blog at

Jill Rowley

Tim Wlson said...

I've got to admit that I subscribe to this blog *despite* the "digital body language" phrase. I cringed the first time I saw Thor present it...and it still doesn't sit well with me. I look at it as cutesy marketing that gets in the way of the substance of effectively conducting B2B marketing and leveraging the data available from marketing automation tools. The challenge is that the first part of your definition (and the way the phrase typically gets introduced) is as an analog to...analog body language. This, I'm sure, resonates with salespeople (hmmm...Jill?), and has some merit: before or as you are talking to a specific individual, being able to look at all the recent digital interactions that person has had with you can be really powerful and can give you some subtle weapons to have a more compelling sales-driven discussion.

But...the last part of your definition totally flips things and goes to the formulaic aggregation of that digital behavior for lead scoring or buyer role definition. That becomes more of a marketing pitch -- how to get closer to 1-to-1 marketing and how to better qualify leads for follow-up treatment. There's *real* power there, but the "body language" analogy breaks down almost completely. Marketing has never done anything based on facial expressions...

I realize this is a bit touchy, as Eloqua has done major promotional work with the phrase, you've written a book titled with it, and now you have this blog. The underlying *content* is rich. The concepts are powerful. The phrase...meh.

translation agency said...

So that is what Digital Body Language really means. I never had an idea before what this Digital Body Language was all about and what its importance for. But as I have known that language is the aggregate of all the digital activity you see from an individual, now I was enlightened by that idea and somehow a bit of knowledge poured into my brain!