“Yes, Audience Segmentation Still Matters”

As technology and marketing converge into this new digital marketing discipline, widely referred to as Martech, it’s important to not lose focus on the critical marketing principles which drive success.

One of those more enduring principles, transcending both technology and time, is better understanding your target audience and how to message to the specific motivations of that audience.

If your technologies, content, and digital engagement strategies are not leading you to more relevant audience engagement and increased sales and loyalty from your customers, it is time to rethink your approach.

All successful customer engagement starts with a message or conversation relevant to what a person thinks about and ultimately to what motivates him or her to take action.

Understanding the relevance of a company’s NAICS code and a person’s title can serve as a leading indicator of potential audience need and a starting point for market segmentation. Starting with this type of analysis is far better than attempting to engage with just a person’s email or phone number.

In fact, I would argue that taking the time to segment your audiences and continuously enriching your data, when used in combination with Martech oriented campaigns, only makes those kinds of programs much stronger.

To illustrate this point, let’s look at a responder scenario, which involves, everyone’s favorite topic- the Internet of Things ( IoT). As widely publicized, IoT has the opportunity to transform everything in a business, starting with how it manages its customers, extending up and throughout how it manages its assets and operations.

Now suppose you just authored and expertly marketed a white paper that covered all the beautiful ways this technology could improve these different processes. And as your team has projected, you have now generated thousands of new registrations. Now what?

Knowing that a group of people had an interest in your IoT white paper while helpful, does not provide sufficient audience insight to engage with individual responders with an audience-relevant response.

Ultimately, every company must work toward answering three questions, before they engage and eventually sell to these initial hand raisers:

1. What piqued an individual responder’s interest in registering for this white paper in the first place?

2. How does the IoT content in this white paper relate to or impact what they do?

3. What authority or influence do they have on this topic and solution?

Without understanding the role and market segment of the individual who responded, it is impossible to logically group, probe around, and then position what is most relevant in that paper, in context to what potentially motivates a specific person, or a defined group to take action.

I don’t subscribe to the self-disclosure theory that this role-based intelligence will be naturally provided at some future point in the Buyer’s Journey, primarily because the majority of the time it can be acquired and leveraged well before audience engagement.

More importantly, because there are multiple roles involved in most buying decisions today, you have to be able to identify those different buyer roles and their motivations to purchase, to market and sell your products successfully.

From a customer perspective, I am sure they will be far more appreciative in receiving information and offers, specific to their role, rather than being tirelessly chased around the internet with re-targeted display ads.

It’s incredible to me, with all the access marketers have to customer information, how many emails I still receive, asking if I would have interest in purchasing a database of SAP customers when if you checked out my Linked-in profile, you would know I currently work at SAP.

Clearly, in this situation, their offer does not fit the potential need of their target audience.

As I have moved my marketing career from paper into digital engagement, what has remained constant is the continuous need to understand more about the customer and to create better and more meaningful experiences with that customer.

Marketing disciplines like conducting proper audience segmentation, acquiring improved buyer understanding, and delivering audience relevant messages and offers are foundational tenants to any successful marketing program.

As Martech becomes the new language for marketers, we should never forget that while the technologies change, the governing principles required for marketing success remain the same.

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