When I started in digital marketing, I ran one channel, paid search. Each channel operated in its own silo, with different creative strategies. That’s when things were just getting started. These days, marketing has evolved towards a consumer-centric approach, with all channels working together in unison. And, I’m not just talking about marketing channels here. I’m talking about any potential touchpoint with the consumer, including your customer care center and also your website itself. Every single impression a consumer has with your brand needs to be managed in tandem, for a truly personalized and consistent experience. Why? We want to add the most possible value to each and every consumer, with the most personally relevant experience possible.
How is all of this possible? What is the hub of this strategy, the brains that dictates which creative, experience, messaging to deliver to each consumer? The hub is your segmentation, arguably the most important part of your modern marketing strategy. Today, I wanted to provide a few tips on how you can build the best possible segmentation strategy, based on engagement with your brand.
Segmentation Tip 1: Your First Party Data Is Golden
Do you already get a reasonable amount of traffic to your website? Do you have existing customers (or at least prospective customers)? Then, you have first party data! First party data is all of the data that you have on your consumers from their interaction with your website and your brand.
Traditional marketing segmentations are based on generalized market data. Traditional segmentations are very important, especially when projecting your overall market strategy. That said, this post is all about consumer experience, delivering a unified experience across all touch points. For this purpose, your first party data is golden.
So, how do you start collecting first party data? A few tips:
- Pixel your entire website. Don’t only pixel user flow, but also behavior/interaction with your website. (That said, never pixel anything that is sensitive/PII (personally identifiable information).
- Pixel your display advertisements. If your display advertisements are interactive (I recommend you make them so), track the selections consumers make when interacting with your creative.
- Pixel your full HTML emails.
- Leverage a unified technology to power everything. Your first party data is only as powerful as your ability to house it and segment upon it in a unified technology hub. Some examples are SteelHouse, Kenshoo, and Acquisio.
Segmentation Tip 2: Leverage Lucidchart To Map Out Your Tree
Once you start collecting user data, you need to develop an engagement-based approach. Let’s say you sell shoes. Here’s a sample user flow:
- User arrives at your site from Google AdWords.
- User lands on the mens shoes section because he selects "Mens Shoes" from your Google AdWords sitelinks.
- User specifically browses dress shoes (as compared to athletic shoes, casual shoes, and sandals).
- User adds dress shoes to cart: Size 13 Hugo Boss in black leather.
- User abandons the process.
You know so much about this consumer from your first party data. Every detail written in the list above becomes core to your engagement segmentation. From a marketing standpoint, it’s a wonderful time to start retargeting this consumer with ads about mens designer dress shoes, potentially even showing the exact Hugo Boss shoes in the cart.
Since the consumer entered the shoes into their cart but abandoned the process, maybe they have questions, or maybe they got sticker shock? Consider running display ads with your customer care phone number, and others with a coupon code. When the consumer comes back to your site (either by clicking your display banner or some other means), the website needs to adapt to display mens shoes and their specific cart.
Obviously, this can get complex relatively quickly. When building your engagement-based segmentation strategy, you need a flow chart to map out all possible scenarios. This is the real strategic work, the work that powers your overall marketing and consumer-facing strategy. I personally leverage Lucidchart when building engagement-based segmentation models. Typically, I like to:
- Lock myself in a conference room.
- Brainstorm on big sheets of paper, which I place on the wall.
- Get a rough draft on paper.
- Build out my final engagement segmentation in Lucidchart.
This work that should take you at least an entire week of continuous effort, uninterrupted by meetings.
Segmentation Tip 3: Craft a Unified Creative Approach
Once your segmentation is built, you need creative mapped against each segment for each and every channel (or consumer touch point). This work can get really overwhelming, so consider starting with your most important segments, having a "catch all" for your other segments.
Here’s where you need to take the segmentation and evangelize with your greater organization, because you will need all the help you can get in building the marketing copy, display banners, phone scripts, email templates, and landing pages. Leverage a divide and conquer approach. That said, there needs to be a central owner for consistency.
Segmentation Tip 4: Leverage Technology To Power Your Strategy
When you first test out this engagement-based personalization, it’s ok to be scrappy and nimble. However, as you evolve, I highly recommend a technology-driven approach. There are so many technologies that can help you, and it’s all about finding the one that works best for you. As mentioned above, SteelHouse, Kenshoo, and Acquisio are incredible.
Segmentation Tip 5: Don’t Be Creepy
I’d like to end today with an important piece of advice: It’s ok to keep your creative a level or two higher than the actual intelligence you have about your consumers. You don’t want to create an experience so personalized that it becomes creepy. It’s ok to ignore certain pieces of data in crafting your creative approach. Make sure to test your strategy on normal people (non-marketers) before rolling it out. Be cautious, and always place the consumer’s needs first.
Images in this post © PPCIan.com