We looked recently at the importance of honing your marketing message around your USPs – the unique selling points that make your proposition stand out. Producing a beautifully refined message, however, is only one factor in creating a successful campaign. If that message doesn’t reach a receptive audience, it will fall on deaf ears and your marketing investment will go to waste.
Market segmentation is a traditional marketing tactic that has been used by generations of marketers in both the B2B and B2C sector. Simply put, it refers to the classification of different groups of consumers or organisations, based on similar needs, behaviours or interests, allowing businesses to be smarter in their targeting and create messages that resonate with particular segments.
Following on from our article on the importance of knowing your USPs, we’ve examined why market segmentation is key for organisations to communicate more meaningfully with their audience.
Why might a brand need to segment their target audience?
Let’s consider an example of a business such as a bank that needs to target the consumer market. Whilst, arguably, everyone needs banking services, it would not be realistic to assume that its core products can fulfil the needs of all adults in the UK. The relevance of their banking products, however, doesn’t purely come down to demographics, rather, the bank would need to segment its prospective audience to consider different spending behaviour, income brackets, housing circumstances and employment.
Alternatively, let’s take a B2B business that targets other businesses to promote its goods or services, such as a provider of chauffeur or executive car services. Arguably, there are companies of all sizes that might require transport for their employees or clients – but there are also plenty of competing providers offering the same services.
For both providers, it is vital to understand what they offer that their competitors don’t, and then essentially, which audience segments are most likely to have a need and be receptive to that offer. Then, they need to communicate those benefits effectively to that specific audience.
Why is this important? A one-message-fits-all promises much in terms of reach for what could deliver just a handful of leads. Compare this, however, to the return that could be achieved by taking the time to segment the audience, devise smart messaging that speaks to those individuals and target them via the appropriate channels.
In turn, with good segmentation and targeting comes increased customer retention and improved communication. This is marketing strategy that looks at the bigger picture, not just the quick wins. Importantly, it allows businesses to build a strategy around what they know about their customers, crafting a message to meet their needs, rather than trying to fit all messaging to the one-size approach.
Traditional segmentation vs shifting consumer behaviour
As with everything, customer behaviour shifts over time due to advances in technology, trends and influences from the wider environment, which means the need to keep up and adjust your segments accordingly should be an ongoing consideration within your team. Similarly, as your proposition evolves or you introduce new products or services, your message and your segmentation strategy must adapt.
It’s not all bad news though, thanks to the abundance of information we can harvest through analytics, social platforms, market research and a wealth of customer feedback mechanisms. The more insight you have, the more you can hone your segments over time, and the better you will be able to target them with a more relevant message.
Before you initiate any campaign, step back and consider what you know about your audience, then group the data based on common interests and characteristics. Consider also what stage of the customer journey your prospects are at. If your database includes dormant leads, previously engaged leads and new prospective leads, they warrant a different approach. Once you have segmented your groups, consider how the needs of each map to your proposition, and align your message and offer accordingly.
Picking the right channel
Once you have segmented your audience, you need to consider which channels enable you to reach that audience, and secondly, which channels can communicate your message well. A data led channel such as telemarketing enables you to accurately segment and intelligently target each group, using the personal nature of the interaction to fine tune your message to each individual’s interests. If your business is facing the challenge of gathering meaningful intelligence to better understand the needs and motivations of your audience, human to human interaction allows you to glean rich insight into what drives them, providing you with the data you need to understand and address their needs.
If you’d like to discuss how a personal, data-led channel such as telemarketing can help you identify and target audience segments with the highest potential return for your business, get in touch today