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When planning out demand generation strategies, brand awareness and targeted personas are often the very first pieces. Actually, the demand generation doesn't really work at all without customer segments. Congratulations if you're one of the lucky ones who just hit your target audience from the start. But then where next? And have you validated that there aren't other valuable personas to pursue? At VIEWN, we studied how you can see a customer building out a Customer data platform (CDP) fueled demand generation. We find that validating target audiences from customer segmentation is one of the first and most valuable ways to unlock your customer data with a CDP.
Regardless of what line of business you’re in, B2B and B2C alike, your target customers will be a diverse mix of people with different needs – and these are going to change as they move along the buying process approach a purchasing decision. This means each customer segment found to valuable is going to need its own personalized customer journey. Now the exact execution of customer journeys may need to change with the loss of 3rd party cookies,
To deliver messages to each of these prospects at the right time along the customer journey, addressing their unique needs at each stage of the sales journey, you need to segment your leads – both at the moment you capture them and on an ongoing basis as their relationship with your brand changes.
It's important to note here that there's a big difference between a customer segmentation and a segmented contact list. There are many marketing tactics that segment lists with just a couple of rules to drive workflows. While these tactics may inform some behavioral segments, I am talking about defining valued customer segments from insights gained from contextualizing different attributes of your existing audience in the case of utilizing a CDP for customer segmentation.
The practice of using a CDP for better customer segmentation is definitely taking hold. In fact, according to a Forrester survey, 34% do expect segmentation to be a key CDP feature.
Your most valued customer segment
Segmentation is probably the most valuable byproduct of being able to build customer profiles from data. With profiles, you have a modular data organization that allows you to keep building on (adding data sources) while slicing and dicing the data until you find the “most valued customer segment.” The most valuable customer segment obviously is the one that brings in the most sales. These sales can be from returning customers or new customers purchasing more expensive products. As engagement can be a predictor of sales performance, your most valuable segment may also be the most active and participating.
You are given numerous and almost indefinite approaches like using media usage and location to define a segment. Getting characteristics of your most valuable customers. It's key to remember getting to “N” does not mean just pouring things into a data lake, hoping to find a factor that impacts. Keeping in mind context and mapping things that make sense is still a prerequisite to getting a favorable outcome. Even when we use AI to cluster profiles into unique customer segments from your own data, you still need to be methodical about the characteristics you need and how to get them.
Kinds of segmentation data to use
I'd also like to challenge the misconception that a 360° view of the customer from just a CRM, is NOT enough to give you the segmentation you need for a purchase. A CRM profile is meant to be used for a salesperson in the midst of a conversation or engagement. A CDP profile is meant to be used by marketing and product to understand their customers and get insights. For insights that will inform demand generation strategy, CRM is just one of the data sources in which to tap.
Given the objective of building CDP profiles to understand valuable segments, let's go into the different examples of segmentation data we could potentially use. Characteristic segments describe key attributes of your target audiences in areas where you need to differentiate. A lot of marketers would like valuable demographic data like gender and age. Search engines and apps have really gone far in leveraging location and keyword data.
Examples of characteristic segments marketers use include:
Geographic: Location, country, language, etc.
Demographic: Age, gender, nationality, etc.
Sociographic: Marital status, children,
Psychographic: Personality traits, values, attitudes, interests, etc.
Behavioral: Clicks, views, responses, keywords, journeys, usage
Professional: Occupation, income, education, etc.
Firmographics: Company size, industry, a position at the company, etc.
There are a lot of different data sources to enrich your CDP for insights. And as I mentioned earlier, the old way of getting journey data with browser cookies is going away. This means even Facebook may not give you the characteristics you want either. Assuming you have the most loyal or valuable customers' email addresses, audience information can still be tapped for segment characteristics.
You will often find that your marketing team utilizes a lot of different tools to collect these characteristic segment data. For example, many good behavioral data will come from your CRM and marketing automation platforms like SalesForce, Drip, and Mailchimp. Key psychographic, professional, and sociographic data can often be gathered directly from the prospects during the engagement process. VIEWN’s team recommends surveys and lead generation forms as an easy way to get reliable data. I don’t know how you add focus group results to a big data set yet. Your sales representatives can also be tapped as data collectors (into a CRM) with their different conversations. When the budget allows purchasing intent data will give demographic, geographic and even some psychographic data tied to a particular contact or zip code. B2B firmographic services tied to DUNS numbers are also available to the enterprise, where industry and firm matter.
The extra boost from look-alikes
At VIEWN, we hypothesize that the most valuable segments will be found looking at the characteristic segments of product/media usage, demographic and sociographic profiles, and purchasing attitudes. Often the order and instruments for product usage give you the who?, what?, when?, where?, how? Demographics and attitudinal data give you the why?, who else?, where else?, and how else?. The answer to each of these gives you a validated target audience and set of valued customer segments that you can use to go after look-alike prospects. Who better to buy from you than those that look like your best customers?
Since a CDP builds actual profiles of customers that you have, analyzing these customer profiles' characteristics lets you validate that your initial target definition is actually the customers you have. Businesses often ask a few questions even at the contract stage, where you can get a lot of valuable information. Significant ROI can be gained in issuing new customer acquisition campaigns targeting these customers because you can still utilize the same marketing stack, and you can personalize so much more effectively.
With today’s marketing, mass is viewed as inefficient and so out-dated. You should not just aim for every possible lead you can get, either; rather look to get highly-targeted, relevant leads that are likely to go all the way and buy from you. You need to know exactly what makes your target audiences tick, what they’re looking for from your brand, and pinpoint particular needs. To make this more effective for you, go with your best customers or most valued segments. Then find out everything you can about them to find more. This is where customer segmentation from CDPs comes in handy for demand generation.