Most marketers do not like talking to consultants and strategists about their programs, because inevitably the answers are always the same:it depends. There are so many factors that go into deciding the correct approach for marketing programs that they don't really lend themselves well to cookie-cutter advice and industry benchmarks ---which makes it even more difficult for columnists, bloggers and experts to provide usable and applicable advice to the masses.
It's even more important for you, the marketer, to interpret what is being written and apply it to your brand, practice, program and/or unique situation. However, no matter how you slice it, regardless of the size of your program, your audience, your team, your industry , there is still a fundamental mishap occurring in the space today that can be more easily addressed than most think: targeting and segmentation.
Keep reading; it's not that bad.
The minute people see targeting and segmentation as advice they often think of complicated data modeling, CRM systems and database know-how. While that may be the case for the big brands, you don't need to take it to that degree to implement segmentation tactics effectively. It is often the small to mid-market brands that have a solid understanding of their customer base , making it even simpler to derive appropriate targeting.
For example, say my husband and I own a bar. It's a local beer and shot bar with a diverse crowd. We have a core group of regulars who come in no matter what's on special that day. We also have a group of retirees that frequent our daytime shift and a college crowd that hits the joint on a few key evenings and weekends -- very much driven by the specials and the planned entertainment. Knowing this about our customers , does it make sense that I send the same offers to everyone?
You don't need to do advanced SQL, table joins and data manipulation to get more effective with your targeting and segmentation. Start with larger groups like those mentioned above and see how it goes from there. Other easy segments to consider are new customers and seasoned customers, responders and non-responders, or even date of last visit.
But what about the content?
When targeting and segmentation bubble up as a conversation topic, the immediate concern becomes content development. For smaller email marketing and creative teams, it isn't the actual targeting that's daunting , but the pressure on the team to ultimately create content for multiple versions of the message. So once again, it's ideal to approach this in such a way that minimizes the impact. If you have your segmentation in mind at the point of initial content creation, it could be a matter of some simple wording variations. For example, if you are segmenting against engaged and non-engaged, you could run your standard offer to engaged customers, and for the non-engaged, modify the positioning to "We miss you - we'd like to see you back, take advantage of this special offer today." The offer and creative imagery could remain exactly the same; just change up the subject line and headline information slightly to address that audience more specifically.
Trust me when I tell you, it is often the simplest and most minor changes that can make the biggest difference to your program. Start with some basic targeting and content positioning; whether you are a big brand or a local bar (er...uh...mom and pop), you can address your targeting and segmentation successfully.