In order to deliver personalised, relevant content, you need to be able to segment your audience. By definition, a segment is a group of customers or users that engage with your marketing channels, website or app that have something in common with each other.
An audience segment should be identified and prioritised by their existing or potential size and ability to significantly contribute towards meeting an organisation’s business goals. If you think back to the second article in this series, we recommended considering marketing objectives that tie back to the business goals of your organisation and represent value to senior stakeholders when developing your personalisation plans. These will need to be revisited when you look at your audience segmentation to ensure your segments tie into these commercial goals.
Developing personas FOR your audience segments
As marketer, one way of representing an audience segment is through the creation of a persona. While fictional, a persona is still a data-driven representation of an ideal customer or user. The majority of the personalisation software detailed in our third article in this series will aid you in building out personas, but of varying levels of detail. Personas will also benefit from your thinking, offline research and insight to make them more powerful. When creating a persona, you should use this information to represent the following areas:
- Demographics: including age, gender, marital status, income, education and employment status.
- Location: city or town they are based from a professional and personal perspective, i.e. where they work and live.
- Preferences: what are the preferred channels or digital products they engage with?
- Motivations: what is motivating the audience segment to perform a required action?
- Goals: what are the goals of the audience segment?
- Behavioral patterns: what are the behaviours the audience segment is exhibiting? Historical behavior such as commercial transactions, downloads or engagement with a form data are all behaviours to interrogate. This is also the time to consider context and what was the contextual state of audience, such as time of day, number of times they visited your site or campaign source for example.
We recommend building out a range of personas to cover the most valuable areas of your target market.
Ultimately, your personas should enable the creative thinkers in your team when creating content, campaigns and designing experiences for your customers. They should clearly set the boundaries of the various wants, needs and contexts of your customers. By layering on insights from other customer data, personas are a powerful tool for shaping segmentation.
In certain instances, you may simply not have all the relevant information available to build a persona. In such cases, we believe it is worth investing in creating proto personas. A proto persona is a persona that is created using a project stakeholder's intuition and anecdotal evidence.
Segmentation by context, behaviour and demographics
In addition to your personas, another way to target consumers with content relevant to them is by segmentation based on context, behaviour and demographics of the consumer or user. Broadly speaking, these are the three main types of attributes we recommend focusing on, however, there are others that you can build into your plan as you expand your personalisation plans.
Segmentation by contextual attributes
Contextual attributes describe the environment that the consumer or user is interacting with your content, such as time of day, weather, device or marketing campaign. Examples of this may include but not limited to:
- Time of day: For example, do your customers tend to spend more time browsing on weekends, then purchase in the evening during the week?
- Weather: For example, which segments of our audience are most engaged or affected by the changing weather patterns?
- Device: For example, are customers doing research on their mobile, but completing a goal conversion on their laptop?
- Marketing campaign: For example, which customers are engaging with certain marketing channels or promotional campaigns?
Segmentation by behavioural attributes
Behavioural attributes describe the behaviour that the consumer or user has shown when interacting with your content. This includes both current and past behaviour. Examples of this may include but not limited to:
- Cart abandonment: For example, did a segment of visitors abandon your checkout process before completing a transaction?
- Search: For example, what onsite search queries correlate with a goal conversion? Are there specific search queries that identify certain important segments?
- Downloads: For example, which visitors to your website downloaded a white paper or set of product specifications?
- Goal conversions: For example, are there certain website visitors who completed a goal conversion of a certain nature?
Segmentation by demographic attributes
Demographic attributes describe statistical data about the consumer or user. They can be determined from behaviours or inferred from your analytics platform. Examples of this may include but not limited to:
- Location: For example, do certain website visitors originate from a metro area, a rural or in a particular state?
- Age: For example, which age groups tend to be the most engaged with your content and which types of content are they most engaged with?
- Gender: For example, are men or women more interested in certain product categories?
- Household Income: For example, do certain audience segments with a higher household income prefer free delivery, rather than a discount?
You can layer your qualitative (persona) data, your quantitative data (behavioural) with contextual to create some incredibly powerful audience segments to deliver personalised content to.
Join us next time…
In the next article in this series, we will be looking at mapping customer journeys as delivering tailored content to your audience segments at the right time, in the right place makes all the difference.
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