To Each His Own E-mail
The ongoing capture of information is essential to segmentation. Peoples’ tastes and habits change. You can’t assume that what you knew of your customers when they first came to you is going to be true forever. As each bit of new information is captured, you learn more about customers—what they buy, the lists they opt in to, etc.—and these things tell you about their tastes and, perhaps, their lifestyles.
This process should be self-propelling. Customer information continually captured and analyzed drives further segmentation and analysis, leading to an ever more refined marketing program. For the most effective marketers, this is a way of life. But only if they gather enough data on their customers.
Here are the basic data elements of successful segmentation: Start with geography/location—including name, address and ZIP code. The most important data on your customers, however, is what types of products they’re interested in. This is the absolute most important thing you can find out. Once you have this information, go back to them two to three times a year and continue to ask them—just a few questions at a time—about what types of products they’re interested in. Continually update your database.
Some marketers do this. Many do not. Those that do, often stop at the basics. They have some basic data on their customers and have created some segments based on this information. They add information to the database, but they don’t use this information to revise their segments. Maybe they create a few different versions of their e-mail campaigns based on some basic audience segments. This is good, but it’s only scratching the surface of what can be done.
On Good Behavior
To truly serve your customers and address their needs, you need to capture and analyze behavior. Behavioral marketing, not surprisingly, is based on each of your customer’s very specific behaviors, in your inbox or on your Web site. Perhaps they’ve expressed an interest in a certain product. They’ve viewed it on your Web site numerous times, for example. Maybe they’ve even put it into their shopping carts, intending to purchase it—but they don’t.