Segmentation is key to ensure you’re speaking to the right people who are interested in your offers, rather than sharing your message with an undefined audience.
A few decades ago, segmentation was a much more limited tactic. But as technology and digital channels have become increasingly intelligent, segmentation has evolved to new levels.
How you choose to segment your audiences will of course depend on what you’re trying to do. So what segmentation options do marketers have and what can they achieve? Below are three examples of smart segmentation techniques and their benefits.
1. Dynamic Creative and Site Optimisation: Turn Your Site Into A Precision Targeting Tool
Home pages, emails, and ad units have all evolved to become dynamic containers capable of assembling unique combinations of content from multiple different creative elements.
Back them up with a smart segmentation program and you have a living, breathing campaign that can deliver exactly the right experience to each consumer.
Why dynamic creative and site optimisation?
In its most basic form, dynamic creative is used to make sure some people see one message and other people see another. But the more segment data you can activate, the more sophisticated your campaigns can become.
You may start with separate home pages for prospects and customers. But once you include data on things like their purchase history and seasonal preferences, your ability to make highly customised offers starts to multiply.
For instance, you could target golf-lovers and tennis aficionados separately with the same dynamic ad unit. Going one step further, you could even target male golf lovers in Australia and female golf lovers in the U.S. with different creatives depending on how sunny it’s going to be next weekend.
Your customers get more relevant experiences and you gain a platform for testing more variants and options.
While retailers have been quickest to adopt dynamic creative technology, their popularity is rapidly growing across other industries. For instance, we’ve seen a technology company run as many as 50 home page variants that serve 50 different segments based on their email database.
In another case, a retailer in the beauty industry uses dynamic landing pages to showcase either their skincare or cosmetics range based on the customer’s preferences.
2. Targeting Based On Anonymous Online Activity: Identify Your Anonymous Audience
Just because so many digital interactions are anonymous doesn’t mean you can’t use them to create actionable segments.
An anonymous visitor who trawls the sunglasses’ section of your website is still, clearly, in your sunglass-interested segment. You don’t know who they are but you know their behaviour and their browser.
Why target based on anonymous online activity?
Used intelligently, behaviour-based segments can lead to super-relevant marketing messages. You don’t need to wait for someone to fill out a form to reach them with more relevant stories wherever you interact with them.
For instance, if someone on an electronics website spent half an hour on a page about a certain television, it makes a lot of sense to start targeting them as someone interested in that television.
So once you link their anonymous browsing data to your anonymous targeting data, you can start sending them more targeted acquisition deals and complimentary offers for things like HDMI cables and gaming consoles.
In the car industry, one brand uses anonymous data from its display campaigns and site traffic to determine which cars someone’s interested in and how high their propensity to buy actually is.
By doing this, they can deliver unique homepage options to different users (making the car they’re interested in the hero) and analyse which stage of the journey a user is in. Based on all of this, they then programmatically determine which messages and offers should be made next.
3. Geo-Targeting: Personalise, personalise, personalise
Geo-targeting has gone from digital marketer’s fantasy to tangible reality in a very short time.
The age-old fantasy of ‘man walks into store and store offers man discount’ may not be as common as marketers had once expected, but there are a number of emerging ways to use location data to customise offers.
At the very least, geo-targeting is good customer experience hygiene. It makes sure home pages are in the right language, prices are in the right currency, and specifies whether or not products are available in the visitor’s country/location.
Taken a few steps further, geo-targeting can be used to personalise messages and even push certain offers depending on where someone is within a brick-and-mortar store.
Use of geo-targeting as an effective segmentation tactic is still in its infancy, but there are some interesting uses for the technology. For instance, one hospitality brand uses geo-targeted offers to welcome customers when they check-in and alert them to offers to local activities and stores.
Reach Relevant Buyers and Target Anonymous Audiences With Smarter Segmentation
Whether you’re looking to improve the personalisation of your offers, reach anonymous audiences, deliver a better site experience (or most likely) all of the above, these segmentation techniques (and others) can help you to do so in a smart, data-informed way.
Now that we have access to ever more in-depth data insight and technology, smarter people-based marketing is the answer for greater results.