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Segmentation is the Easy Part

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.

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    Comments (19)

    1. Marketing Affiliates

      October 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm

      In many cases the easiest thing in the world is to simply send a product catalogue or sales newsletter to ‘all emailable contacts’ in your client list- it saves time, reaches as many people as possible and, yes, is total spam.

    2. icyteru

      July 19, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      yes, i agree with segmentation, so we are not just marketing to some random people.

    3. cheap whiteboards

      July 19, 2011 at 3:39 am

      Email marketing has to be the hardest marketing method available. I personally try to steer clear of it since it involves constant nourishment and having a relationship with your list. I’ve tried this method before with poor results. Many people can make thousands, but I try to just keep it to adsense.

      • Andy Bargery

        July 27, 2011 at 1:50 pm

        Adsense? Do you mean Adwords?

        Email marketing done well to a permission based list can be verry effective, but I agree with your comment about having a relationship with your contacts.

    4. Paul Caparas

      July 18, 2011 at 9:59 pm

      I definitely agree with you. Segmentation is the easy part.

    5. Greg

      July 16, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      Email marketing with segmentation to bring the prospective customer to the table can be done very successfully as long as you target the customer needs, but each are different.

      • Andy Bargery

        July 27, 2011 at 1:52 pm

        Hence the importance of segmentation which will allow you to better align your messaging with each customer group’s needs.

    6. cat condos

      July 15, 2011 at 9:55 pm

      I agree that you always need to segment based on the processes in the sales funnel. The best use of segmentation can be to find perspective customers by offering them an incentive to give you their information, such as white papers.

    7. Sunny James

      July 15, 2011 at 8:34 pm

      Marketing can be difficult but if done right you can get great results

    8. Michael

      July 13, 2011 at 1:10 pm

      Segmentation is easy. The difficult part is knowing what to do with the information.

    9. David Josh

      July 13, 2011 at 7:57 am

      Yes true that, but its all about knowing what to do and how to do it. Right steps at the right time.

    10. Alex Aguilar

      July 9, 2011 at 3:50 am

      It comes down to how much time and effort the marketer wants to put into email marketing. In many cases the easiest thing in the world is to simply send a product catalogue or sales newsletter to ‘all emailable contacts’ in your client list- it saves time, reaches as many people as possible and, yes, is total spam.

      Segmenting your customer base and funneling targeted advertising can be far more effective, but that is assuming the marketer is willing to put in the extra time and effort. Many, unfortunately, take the easy way out because it still gets them a few sales here and there and doesn’t require as much hard work.

      • Andy Bargery

        July 27, 2011 at 1:55 pm

        It certainly is the easy route to hit the ‘all emailable contacts’ button, but it’s also the easy route to subscriber list fatigue and ever decreasing performance from your campaigns. It always surprises me how little attention marketers pay to their data lists when they often rely so heavily on these same lists for ROI from their marketing campaigns.

    11. Alease Michelle

      July 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm

      Thank you for sharing this post on effective segmentation. There is so much to marketing and you always keep us so informed. I appreciate it.

    12. Juan Rodriguez

      July 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm

      The most difficult part is to catch the potencial customer attention because as e-mail marketing is so cheaper in scale, we are used to receive multiple mails. So why as a customer should I open your company’s mail? I’m still looking for a true answer..

    13. Crowdfunding

      July 7, 2011 at 8:14 am

      Also try to use Ad tracking to Determine Subscribers Interests..

    14. atlanta bridge dentistry

      July 6, 2011 at 3:33 am

      yes your right. Segmentation is definitely easy. There is no difficult part when you have a lot of preparation before getting there.

    15. Digital Cameras

      July 5, 2011 at 3:53 pm

      Agree with Michael.

    16. Michael

      July 5, 2011 at 1:48 pm

      Definitely, segmentation is easy. The difficult part is knowing what to do with the information you get and asking the right questions to the right target.

    The comments are now closed.