Contemporary Analysis

Data Science

Why Customer Segmentation Will Improve Your Marketing

I have been married for almost 10 years. I have gotten good at buying gifts, even clothes. I can match blouses and jewelry, dresses and belts, shoes and jeans. My secret? I look at the mannequins. Mannequins were designed to attract your attention in a store window and to lure you into the store. Then inside, they are designed to show you some of the combinations you could make with their clothes. Essentially they are designed to get you to buy more than one thing. This is perfect for guys. All we have to do is point to the mannequin and ask a store sales person where we can find those certain pieces of clothing.  We can buy the mannequin lock stock and barrel and end up with a complete outfit for our brides.

This is actually what I do when I do marketing for companies. Marketing comes in two forms. Marketing to your current clients and marketing to people who aren't your current clients. I view each as a completely different problem while most marketing companies do not. They have only have one mannequin with the same clothes for every store. Children's clothes, women's clothes, men's clothes, all the same mannequin.

Unfortunately most of the marketing plans I see are all the same. The commercials are different but the plan is the same. They do direct mail, email, print campaign, radio, and if they have the budget, TV ads. Their view is that all people are potential clients which as you who follow the blog know, is not true.  The problem is that they have no idea who their target audience is, and how to market to them. They found a campaign that reaches a lot of people and they sell you that one. It may have different clothes, but it is the same mannequin. It is essential to use customer segmentation to improve marketing.

This is critical to understand. Gone are the days when people walk down a street with stores on it, see a mannequin, and make the decision to go inside. Now, people browse their favorite stores online and are more loyal to store brands like Gap, Old Navy, JC Penny's, Younkers, and Von Mauer. We have to get a new mannequin.

Mannequins, models, are going through a huge makeover right now.  In fact, if you do a job search for entry-level marketing positions, they are looking for things like statistics, modeling, and analytics in your background. What they are struggling to come to understand is the idea of marketing to one person at a time. Marketing now needs individualized messaging.

I don't have to go to far back to find when this was still science fiction. Minority Report (2002) shows a seen where character John Anderton is walking through the mall and cameras recognize, data base search, and present relevant ads, based on his buying history. To see a version of this now, just go to iTunes. Any song I buy will create 5 suggestions of other songs I might like, based on my buying history, songs with similar tempos, themes, or by the same artist. With a predictive analytics company like ours, we can do the same thing for your product.

First you have to understand something about how we view marketing. This is the key philosophy that makes us different. Marketing is using a different medium to get in front of your target audience for the sole purpose of selling to them. Selling to them. The sole purpose.  EVERYTHING else is branding. Branding is fine. We do a lot of branding. We just don't call it marketing. That key aspect alone will forever change the way you do marketing. When you use it as a sales tool, you will no longer accept marketing with no measurement of who looks at it, how it is crafted, and where it is put. It will focus your marketing on only the people who have an actual chance to buy from you in the marketing cycle. This does not include: people who might buy, people you think need to be introduced to your product, or someone who might have a need someday. What marketing with the intent to sell does is only spend your time and money on the people who are ready to buy now.

How do we do this? We use math and econometrics to understand the buying process. What causes people to think of buying a product like yours? What series of events leads to needing a product like yours? Who are the people in a company that make the decision to buy a product like yours? These are important things to understand in the process. Don't market to someone who doesn't need what you are selling, isn't high enough up in a company to make any kind of decision, or hasn't experienced any kind of problem that your product would fix. It wastes time. Why would you ever market a phone system to a sales person. They can't buy it. Why would you ever market a copy machine to a company of 4 people. They can't afford it.

I have heard the argument that you need to be in front of those people now so they think of you when he problem arises. Valid argument. However, because of the new view of marketing I just gave you, that states that marketing is used as a sales tool to find people who are ready to buy now, you can see that this is branding. Branding is necessary, we do branding; however, if you have a company like us who markets you correctly, i.e. to the right people, at the right company, at the right time, you don't even need to do that.

Example.  Name someone who makes shingles.  Not someone who installs them, someone who makes them. Why don't you know? Shingles protect everything in your home and are the first thing damaged in a storm. If you own a house, shouldn't you know who the best, worst, and middle of the road companies are in the shingle business? The reason you don't need to know, is that you don't need shingles. When the time comes and you need shingles, you will do your research and find a company that installs the type of shingle you want on your home.

It's the same for business. People don't really need to know about your product until they start doing research about your product. Key point: Up until now, you had to guess when companies were going to need you and you had to brand so that people remembered you when that time came. Now, with analytics, we can predict when to contact companies because we can predict when they should be beginning research on products similar to yours.

Think about this — how can a marketing company know where to put your ads either on TV, radio, direct mail, email campaigns,and social media without knowing what causes someone to buy your product. Its time to start marketing differently. Instead of putting mannequins in the window, lets know the person that is walking down the street. Lets advertise to them when they need us, want us, and can afford us, and save our money on tire kickers, time wasters, and spectators.  Its time to spend your hard-earned marketing budget on the people who we need to talk too. Its time to work smart.

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