I blogged recently about email marketing, listing some critical factors for successful campaigns. One of those factors was segmentation, which is a word often used by marketers, but frequently not put into practice.
I won’t name and shame, but many times I have heard smart marketers wanting to send a product specific email campaign to ‘all emailable contacts’. The word spam springs to mind.
But of course email is not the only tactic where segmentation is required to drive up marketing effectiveness. In fact this applies to any outbound marketing, whether communication related, or indeed product, price, place… you get the idea. Effective segmentation applies across the marketing piste.
There’s a nice blog from Andrew Dalglish over at Circle Research that introduces this in more detail for B2B segmentation in the SME market. Andrew introduces a four step framework: Narrow, Segment, Profile, Apply, and relates this to Sage, a leading IT brand. You could do a lot worse than taking on board his ideas here.
At the very basic level Andrew suggests narrowing your criteria to focus on one customer segment – SMEs in his example. The clever part is taking that segment and profiling it further by behaviours such as consumption patterns, or motivation and preferences.
Another approach might be to segment your customer base around a particular product and align to where they are in the sales funnel / buying cycle.
For example, prospective clients for an IT system at the ‘awareness’ stage are likely to be more responsive to communications with broad product comparisons, than those at ‘action’ stage – who are more likely to respond to detailed technical specifications.
Of course, you need to be careful not to put the cart before the horse here. I’m assuming you will have identified a market need for your product or service in the first instance i.e. the very first phase in any segmentation exercise.
Effective segmentation should actually be the easy part. Crafting the product, setting the price point, getting the distribution and communications channels aligned to your segment, those surely are the more challenging parts.