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A Data-Driven Marketing Approach to Defining Customer Segments

Customer Segmentation

Understanding the marketing dialect of 2017 and translating the countless buzzwords flooding the industry is an overwhelming task for many. Phrases like “customer experience” and “data-driven marketing” are just a couple of examples. But what exactly makes a great customer experience? Do you have the right people, technology, and processes in place to be a “data-driven” organization? If you feel overwhelmed, don’t be. While your peers and competitors all sound fluent in this new marketing dialect, these are still just words to many. Executing the practices will make it impactful.

There are many ways to define customer experience, but one of my favorite definitions came from the Harvard Business Review, calling out the need to focus on cumulative experiences across multiple touchpoints and channels over time. In order to do this, marketers must be able to understand how audiences interact with their brand including every click, download, and interaction on web and mobile to the types of emails and social posts that draw their attention. This means that yes, marketers must be “data-driven” if they want to successfully deliver customer experiences that will drive conversions and customer loyalty.

Marketers have multiple technologies in their stack, all with different use cases such as marketing automation or email marketing. Each of these technologies direct buyers to different channels and points of interaction; disparate data is a challenge for almost all organizations because of this.

It is essential to aggregate data from all of these tools into one central location in order to provide a holistic picture of each prospect and customer at every stage of their journey. With tools like Acquia Lift, it is possible to enable data collection on web and mobile, stitching together interactions as anonymous audiences become known. In addition, you are able to pull in data from other marketing technologies such as CRM, marketing automation, and social tools, ensuring the most complete view of your customers in real-time. But this is just step one. Now you need to sort through that data and find its meaning.

Segmentation on Acquia Lift

Here are seven types of data marketers must collect and analyze in order to get a holistic understanding of their buyer:

  1. Customer Identity Data: This one sounds simple, but don’t be so certain. Determining who a customer is may not always be as easy as it sounds - especially in the digital age. As your audiences engage with your brand, it might take them multiple interactions before they identify themselves through a call-to-action such as signing up for a newsletter or downloading an eBook. It is important to be able to stitch together past interactions with a known user in order to truly understand this individual’s experience thus far.
  2. Demographic Data: This type of data can be essential when defining audience segments. It is important to determine not only who your buyer is, but also gather information like age, gender, and income to help guide marketers in orchestrating a more personalized offering.
  3. Geographic Data: Marketers can drill down segments further when targeting people in specific cities or metro areas. Different locations may require a unique set of rules and regulations around products and services. There might also be unique offerings for audiences in an indicated location.
  4. Firmographic Data: In the B2B world, it is important to know general information about the accounts you are targeting. This will include things like industry and size of the organization.
  5. Audience Behavioral Data: Behavior encompasses quite a bit. You want to track every activity that individuals display across all channels such as time on a website, click throughs, downloads, registrations, videos watched, emails opened, and the list goes on. It’s through this type of information that you can identify patterns that impact customer satisfaction and ultimately ROI.
  6. Implicit Data: Implicit data is information that is not directly given to you, but can be assumed based on the information you have collected. This type of data includes your audience’s preferences, interests, and desires. Through implicit data, you will determine what content best delivers your customers expectations.
  7. Explicit Data: Oftentimes, customers will willingly provide personal information on their own. Explicit data includes all data that the customer explicitly tells you. This could be provided through a multitude of ways including form submits, surveys, or registrations.

Once you have all this data, it becomes easier to define your segments.

First, identify the personas you are going after. You might have one persona or you could have one hundred. These should be detailed enough so that you feel like you know the person. Be sure to include information around:

  • Who they are/ title
  • Key demographics
  • Frustrations and challenges
  • Motivations and goals
  • Success metrics for B2B contacts

Once you have this information outlined, match your value proposition to the personas. Determine key messaging that would resonate with them to help guide your future communications. These personas represent an entire segment of individuals you could be targeting. Determine which of these key segments will drive the most success for your organization as these will be your priority. If you lack resources, you can always start by targeting your priority segments that will potentially create the most revenue, then scale and expand.

Further, make sure you align the right messaging to your personas. You must have enough content to support interactions across every touchpoint, whether on the website, via email, or even through SMS. It can take time and resources to create original content if it does not already exist. It can sometimes take more time to discover already existing content when it is spread across multiple sites, departments, and technologies.

In our next blog, I’ll provide guidance around how to scale your content efforts in order to support the various segments you have identified. Stay tuned.

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