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Tips for Building Segmentation with Limited Information

May 6, 2020   |   3 min read

Knowledge Center  ❯   Blog


One question we often get from companies with large databases is how to segment when you don’t know anything about your subscribers. Many companies have spent years growing their customer and prospect databases through paid and organic means while paying little attention to the details of WHO the people and companies are behind the emails.

Benefits of targeting through segmentation and personalization

According to HubSpot, marketers who used segmented campaigns noted as much as a 760% increase in revenue. Salesforce notes that 84% of marketing leaders say personalization majorly or moderately improves customer acquisition.

While segmentation can help you create a strategy that focuses on the common characteristics of part of your database, personalization targets specific customers with specific content. Both require data, strategy, and content to be successful.

Data – Growing vertically versus growing horizontally

Growing vertically means building the sheer size of the database. Even badly conceived email marketing campaigns can net some response, but eventually, lack of targeting and personalized messaging will lead to attrition and decreased engagement.

Horizontal growth of your database means building out the demographic, psychographic, and sometimes firmographic elements of your database. This growth is often overlooked, and many companies end up with databases of subscribers they are unable to effectively engage. Horizontal growth not only allows you to better personalize but also more accurately target high-value customers or prioritize business customers by best fit.

Database growth can be achieved through a number of tactics. Paying customers in your database are usually the most valuable and probably have the most associated data points, like geography and purchase history. Other segments of your database likely include leads or subscribers acquired through onsite lead capture or newsletter forms driven through organic and inorganic traffic.

Paid and social media campaigns can also often drive traffic and increased subscriber databases when well executed. Horizontal growth can also be achieved through progressive profiling. Companies like TowerData can help companies grow horizontally through data augmentation like identity matching and email intelligence.

Targeting – Using Personas to Personalize and Timing

While any good segmentation strategy starts with data, the message itself engages your buyers. Determining the right messaging and content to deliver to your segments or through personalization depends on data driven personas and 360 views of your customers.

Data-driven personas allow marketers to craft and develop messaging to the whole, while the 360 view of your customer allows you to relate each individual back to the persona while continuing to incorporate the intricacies of the individual (or company).

Through data-driven personas, we are able to develop ideal buyer profiles based on the data that lives within your database. That data could include buyer behavior and, in some cases, information gained through first-party interviews. We work with our clients to map their database back to their personas and build out message maps while overlaying personalization.

Allowing behaviors to inform buyer lifecycle can create a curated personalized experience for customers. For email marketing campaigns, we can even target sends based on the time of day the recipient is most likely to engage.

The Results

At the heart of targeted content and true buyer personas is data. Many companies craft buyer personas based on theories that often miss the mark identifying their true buyers and best customers.

By taking a data-centric approach to buyer persona and message mapping, companies are able to create truly engaging targeted content that converts. When it comes to email campaigns, engagement not only delivers better ROI, but can keep you out of the spam folder.

This is a guest blog written for TowerData by Liz Ryan, VP of Email Marketing & Product at Hansa Marketing, an email agency that helps brands become world class at email marketing using persona research and customer data platforms.

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