5 Elements to Move From Segmentation to Personalization
There is a big difference between segmentation and personalization. Most marketers do segmentation pretty well — they use some sort of marketing database or CRM system to identify audience members who will receive an outbound campaign. Sometimes a particular segment is identified as a "persona," where a description of a fictional member of the segment is used to gain clarity and consensus among the teams — and to help align content that will best resonate.
However, segmentations alone are static, because they are based on a marketing calendar. They solve yesterday's marketing challenge. People don't interact with brands along a calendar. They interact across channels and in non-linear methods based on a multitude of stimuli — many of which are not controlled by the brand. Personalization is an additional layer on top of segmentation to ensure that campaigns are responsive to audience behaviors and relevant to their needs.
To move from effective segmentation to engaging personalization, there are five elements to consider:
1. Dynamic Targeting. Our multi-device browsing habits and constantly shifting interests will break traditional segmentation models. Broad segments like “gadget enthusiasts” or “Millennial” will no longer work. We must use the automation technology to create dynamic and agile models that can adapt to behaviors as they occur, and personalize the content at the individual level, not the segment or campaign level. Our goal is to target individuals based on a collection of identifiable characteristics and behaviors, rather than targeting a collection of individuals who share characteristics. As I’ve often said in planning meetings, “The way customers act, you’d think each one was a different person!”
2. Effective Content. Content must sell. Always. Too much of the marketing content out there is merely interesting. That has value, except it isn’t realistic to think that anyone has time to read everything that is interesting. We’ve got to set the bar higher. Content must be viewed as part of (or at least aligned to) the product – it must help solve the same problems that the product solves. This includes re-thinking how offline media assets get turned into digital experiences. For example, break up a TV spot into dozens of snackable visual elements with hyperlocal additions for price, store locations and availability. That turns content into commerce, and brings our content marketing closer to the analytics-driven marketing that drives revenue.