Last year we discussed the topic of customer segmentation; specifically focused on lifestyle attributes and creating detailed customer personas.
As customer personalization continues to assert itself as a necessary aspect of earning customer loyalty, it’s worth revisiting this topic. In addition to some of the points made in our 2018 blog post, we’ve added some new insight to address client questions and project experiences that stand out from over the past few months.
62% of consumers said they’re more likely to purchase if brand content is more valuable, interesting or relevant. (Rapt Media)
The days of single-message mass marketing are long gone. Today, competitive brands understand their customers on an individual level and implement marketing strategies based on customer segmentation.
WHAT IS CUSTOMER SEGMENTATION?
“The act of separating a group of clients into sets of similar individuals that are related from a marketing or demographic perspective. For example, a business that practices customer segmentation might group its current or potential customers according to their gender, buying tendencies, age group, and special interests.”
Think about your own daily experiences as a consumer; seeing online ads, sifting through sales emails, driving past billboards, etc. In the highly competitive world of marketing, if a brand’s messaging has even a chance of reaching the intended customer it has to say something relevant and speak in a voice that resonates on an individual level.
One of the most valuable sub-segments of a customer’s profile is their lifestyle preferences. By understanding your customers beyond their standard demographic or transactional data, you can deliver branded messaging with a familiar and genuine tone.
HOW ARE CONSUMER LIFESTYLE PREFERENCES RELEVANT?
If I were asked to deliver a presentation to a group of vegetarians, I would avoid using a butcher as an analogy. Regardless of my presentation’s topic, I want to connect with my audience on a personal level so that my message is more likely to be received and accepted.
Since I’m aware of this personal dietary preference (which has nothing to do with my presentation topic), I become more familiar with the audience as individuals enabling me to prepare accordingly and present my message with clarity.
WHAT ARE SOME LIFESTYLE ATTRIBUTES WORTH CONSIDERING?
This is an opportunity to get creative and connect with your customers on a deeper level. Each industry and market offer different pathways to explore, but here are a few questions to consider as a jumping-off point:
Who are your customers when they aren’t engaging with your brand?
What makes them unique; style, taste, opinions, preferences, etc?
When are they most likely to engage their favorite brands?
Where are they spending most of their personal free time?
Why do they like certain brands and dislike others?
How do your products and services fit into the broader spectrum of their daily life?
By answering these types of questions you will start to develop a well-rounded customer persona offering depth and detailed insights for reference when crafting marketing messages. Your entire team is able to consider any proposed call-to-action or promotional offer in terms of how it might be received by the individual, rather than picturing a mass consumer population with hopes of reaching only a few.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
The key here is to develop and execute a research strategy to understand customers at this level of detail. Going beyond purchase habits or decision drivers will support more robust customer profiles.
We commonly see brands trying to skip over important steps or rush through these processes to accomplish short-term objectives. This never works out well. In fact, sacrificing the overall strategy in favor of short-term goals usually ends with fragmented data, incomplete analysis and neither the long-term nor short-term goals are accomplished.
Start by visualizing and articulating the ideal customer relationship; one built on trust, loyalty and genuine connection. Then be realistic about the process and timeline needed to get there so that viable expectations are set. Now that the overall foundation is developed, individual building blocks can start being placed representing individual research projects, analytic benchmarks and marketing campaign deployment.
WHAT’S NEXT AFTER THE PROCESS IS UNDERWAY?
Once the ball gets rolling, it’s important to trust the plan and stay committed to following through. Of course there will be slight deviations and shifts in focus, but allow the value to build upon itself before jumping ship in chase of smaller, closer targets.
Conducting one ad-hoc customer research project will offer useful insight, but it will lack long-term value as you move on to other business objectives. However staying on track and following the strategic path, the second will provide a deeper level of detail; so long as the two are aligned as intended. Furthermore, the analytics from both projects – which on their own yield data-driven action items – can be combined for comparative and combined analytics identifying new opportunities and producing additional ROI.
The value of customer segmentation cannot be overstated, and specifically the area of lifestyle preferences which is often overlooked. Taking the time to understand your customers on a personal level will only strengthen your relationship and it will send a message that your brand cares about more than simply making a profit.
Whether you want to get started building detailed customer profiles or you’re ready to take your analytic game to the next level, I want to help your brand get there. At MacKenzie, we’ve spent over 30 years refining our approach to customer persona strategy and development. Today we continue helping our partners strengthen relationships and increase customer loyalty with data-driven actionable insights.
This is our world and we love what we do, so if you have questions or just want to talk data then give us a shout!