So exactly who is your customer? Some ways to improve segmentation

25 April 2018, Retail, Wholesale, Manufacturing, 5 min leestijd

Why do I still encounter on many websites or newsletters texts such as ‘specially selected for you’ or ‘also of interest for you’ concerning products I’ve never searched for, bought, or used? I simply delete the messages and continue with business as usual. I’m not prepared to spend time and attention on irrelevant information and I know I’m definitely not the only one doing so.

How can buyer personas help you with target group segmentation?

There continues to be a gap between the expectations of the consumer and the actual extent to which companies and brands actually realize these expectations. The most important reason for this is that companies are generally unaware of who exactly their customers are. PR and marketing agency Marcommit conducted some research last summer about the usage of buyer personas by Dutch companies. This research concluded that more than half of the companies had not defined them. A third of the companies had begun mapping out customer profiles but subsequently failed to construct actual workable personas from these customer profiles. That means that they’re missing out on money. Companies that reach or exceed their sales targets work twice as much with personas as companies that aren’t so successful.
Whitepaper: surprise in customer interactions
The reality that we are faced with today is that consumers are highly active online and on many different platforms. They won’t wait for upcoming discounts, but will search themselves for the product that has the right and most attractive price. So if you want to attract the attention of the individual consumer, you will have to find a relevant and effective way to do so. Ideally you will segment the information down to the individual, the persona itself.

There are several reasons for starting with buyer personas:

  • Improving your value proposition
    When it comes down to generating leads, more than 90 % of the good-performing companies map out their database using personas. Additionally, 56 % of these companies state that, as a consequence of this, the quality of the leads has improved.

  • Generating leads
    When it comes down to generating leads, more than 90 % of the good-performing companies map out their database using personas. Additionally, 56 % of these companies state that, as a consequence of this, the quality of the leads has improved.

  • Conversion
    Content that has been tailored to buyer personas will lead to six times as much engagement. Furthermore, the opening rate of emails is two to five times higher and both the website traffic as well as the organic search traffic will increase considerably.

What makes a good description?

You must of course use the right persona. So what are the conditions for a correct customer description? There are three components:

  1. Behavior: This concerns the goals of your customer, what they want to achieve, and what their journey looks like before they’ve found and chosen your company or product. An additional advantage is that, based on the customer’s behavior, you can also determine in what phase they are located with regard to the sales funnel.

  2. Obstacles: Think about the possible hesitations and worries your customers might have. How do they perceive your product and how much information do they need in order to make a purchase decision? What are their alternatives? What could take away their doubts? In short, get to know your customer in order to stimulate them to take the next step in their customer journey.

  3. Mentality: Customers have certain expectations and demands. For example, are they bargain hunters or do they prefer a more sophisticated experience? Are they impulsive buyers or do they tend to do more research about their purchases? Only when you are aware of your customers’ motives will you be able to predict their purchasing process.

Data driven profile
In order to find answers to these questions, you will need to have data on your customers. You can find this data in your ERP and CRM systems, but also for example in Google Analytics which offers you a basic amount of knowledge about the people that have visited your website. Social media websites can also give you an insight into the demography and interests of the people that follow your brand or company. If you prefer to go deeper, or if these channels do not provide the right amount of data, it is advisable to invest in applications that are able to analyze a lot of customer data across various channels, process this data centrally, and perform a sound segmentation. But only when you no longer segment on demographic data, but on real-time interests and sentiment, can your campaigns really start converting.

It is good to realize that it is not only online data will lead to a complete customer profile. You will also have to perform offline research by communicating with customers and sending out surveys. When you choose the tool to do this, it will be naturally be very convenient if these results also can be imported and converged with the segmentation process.

One you finally have all of the available data, you can get started with the personas. Here you will find a number of pitfalls that are worth being aware of. One of them is that your customers aren’t static, so make sure that you regularly evaluate the personas. Furthermore, have any new target groups been added recently, or has the behavior of your current customer file altered? This also means that you will also need to be able to keep track of changing behaviors through your tooling.

Both positive and negative personas are valuable

Don’t be afraid of negative personas. These are people you want to exclude in your marketing campaigns because they won’t buy your product anyway. If, for example, you are selling handmade shoes for women, you will not want to spend your marketing budget on something that will end up with people that are simply not willing to spend money. They therefore provide information about the right channels and content.

Both positive and negative personas will help you with the process of identifying the right people at the right time in the sales funnel, and enable you to approach them with the right content so that your conversion rate will increase.

The right segmentation of your target group
Customers expect that you are aware of their interests and needs. But how can you achieve that? How do you make sure that you can surprise your customers again and again with suggestions that perfectly match their customer journey? Get the answers in the webinar ‘Get to know your customer: the value of segmentation’ on Thursday 31 May 2018 | 10.00 – 10.30 hrs.