By Tim Brown, Director of Marketing Strategy, Snap Agency
So many companies face a marketing and public relations dilemma—they are talking to three audiences and trying present a united front. They have business clients (B2B) and individual customers (B2C), or they are speaking to some other variation of a split audience, but their website, or other communications, have to speak to everybody.
This is why segmenting can be so integral to a marketing and PR strategy. Creating separate email lists or remarketing with ads speaking to the type of service an individual expressed interest in is becoming more and more common as the tools become more intuitive and easier to use—even for a small business or non-technical worker.
A Short History on Segmentation
Wendell Smith was the first proponent of market segmentation, which he regarded as ‘“viewing a heterogeneous market as a number of smaller homogeneous markets, in response to differing preferences, attributable to the desires of consumers for more precise satisfaction of their varying wants.” This was later picked up heavily in 1987 by Peter Dickson and William Ginter, and today it is considered “the process of defining and subdividing a large homogenous market into clearly identifiable segments having similar needs, wants or demand characteristics.” (Wedel, 2000)
A great example or market segmentation is when Apple introduced the iPhone 5C alongside the iPhone 5S. Apple knew that many potential customers would be interested in a cheaper iPhone, so it catered to that demographic with the added ability to customize with color versus the higher-end version that came in only a few curated classy colors, which appealed to professionals and those who might not have been tempted by the multicolored 5C.
How Is Segmentation Making Money for Companies Today?
Other companies today are making significant gains in market share because of their efforts to segment their audiences and more effectively communicate with them. The more you can narrow down a particular audience profile, the more you can really figure out what will appeal to them. For instance, Nike creates value now with its marketing campaigns directed toward the professional athlete and the casual performers based on their individual benefits sought—obtain professional-level or casual health and performance goals with Nike.
Starbucks’ two core audiences are the 25–40-year-olds in management who are high-earners, or the 18–25-year-olds who just want a clean and comfortable place to do work. By identifying these two separate audiences, Starbucks can better serve each in terms of pricing, offerings and interior retail design, thus gaining them staunchly loyal coffee consumers from both camps.
Beyond the Big, Fancy Marketing Insights: How to Take This Shift and Apply It to Your World
Email is the first place marketers can use this insight and apply it well. If a company has three services it offers, and, for instance, has a white paper or resource for each, it can require a user or consumer to subscribe to its email newsletter in order to download the whitepaper or resource. The marketer can then place that email in a list of content catering to that particular interest. Rather than bombard people with promotions or communications for all three services a company offers, two of which may serve no interest to a particular user, it can provide curated information based on what list each user is a part of.
By respecting the relationship and the reason the person came to the company, they will be less likely to unsubscribe and have a better overall brand impression.
More than remarketing, a tour around Facebook and AdWord Products indicate they both have a crazy variety of ways to target people, to see who is responding to ads, and to see the types of people coming to your site. Age, sex, locations, hobbies and interests all are fair game to target at this point, so if you can get a handle on what your different audiences are, you’ll be way more equipped to serve up ads to your audience/s than marketers were even 10 years ago. It’s the dawn of a new data-centric advertising era that allows opportunities to get as granular as you can possibly get with personas for your marketing segmentation.
Beyond Email: Creating a Strategy Around Advertising Based on Segmented Interest
The ads you see for the thing you viewed on Amazon last week are a result of product-based dynamic remarketing and don’t actually require any of the above strategy to implement. Facebook now allows dynamic product ads, but service-based companies can also put their segments to work on both Facebook and Google AdWords. By creating custom “audiences” and placing a small pixel on their site, companies can create buckets of former visitors based on what content they viewed on the site and can serve up ads for the type of service they checked out.
Remarketing, or serving up ads to people who have already checked out your site, already has a “22% cheaper average cost per click,” but by more narrowly focusing on what someone was interested in, this number only goes up. Because it’s relatively new, many aren’t taking advantage of this yet, but the technology is only improving and I can imagine a not-too-distant future where even Hulu or other internet-based TV services allow brands to use remarketing. Segmentation allows companies to serve us almost no advertising for things we aren’t squarely at the center of the target market for, thus casting a broader net while targeting those with already piqued interest in specific markets.
Tim Brown is a digital marketer focused on SEO Marketing Service and increasing traffic and conversions for his agency and clients.