The drive to become customer centric in 2018 has many marketers reconsidering the need for customer segmentation. Although the concept of segmentation can be basic in nature, transitioning from idea to action can get complicated if key details are overlooked. This can result in an overpriced variable in a consumer database that is never seen or heard from again.
How do marketers prevent this unfavorable outcome? Below are three steps to segmentation success
1. Have a Plan
The idea of segmentation is sexy. However, without a clear objective or plan for implementation, marketers are often challenged with how to use the segmentation once it’s built. It can become overwhelming, and therefore, it gets put aside and forgotten.
If you’re considering segmentation, you should ask these important questions:
- What is the business objective? How will segmentation make it happen?
- What KPIs will the segmentation drive?
- Who will the segmentation impact?
- What is the implementation plan?
- What channels should be considered?
- What constraints exist (budget, timing, data)?
2. Evaluate Current Resources & Technology
The best plan is only as good as the tools available to execute it. Segmentation enables change – driving new marketing tactics, testing plans that often require additional resources, and investing in new technology or modifications to existing technology. This concept often gets overlooked until the segmentation is already built and strategy cannot be executed as expected. During the planning phase, create a list of use cases and rank order based on level of effort and impact. This exercise will enable marketers to identify gaps in current resources and technology so that appropriate action can be taken quickly.
3. Get Stakeholders Involved Early & Often
Within an organization, teams are often siloed, each having different goals and objectives. To optimize segmentation effectiveness, it is important to invite leaders from all areas of the business into the planning process. Select one or two stakeholders from each department to serve as part of a ‘segmentation team’ and set clear expectations of each role up front. This approach enables new ideas and reduces gaps, resulting in a solution more robust than one conceived without a team. Stakeholders will also be important for driving segmentation awareness and adoption. By including all departments in the decision process, there is already a group of ‘segment advocates’ to help educate the organization, thus reducing the learning curve so implementation can happen quickly.
In my 18 years of building segmentation solutions for hundreds of marketers, I have seen both strong and marginal performance. The most successful solutions are those derived from a well-defined objective with a comprehensive implementation strategy. Ensure your segmentation is set up for success by following these important steps.