How many BUZZ words are there in marketing? Hundreds. If not thousands. The top ones at the moment must be CX mapping, design thinking. And they are all concerned with treating customers as individuals.
And why not? Everything about marketing is about individuality. And everything about customers is about expressing their individuality. no one wants to be part of the herd. And this is no bad thing (see my piece on why, when customers share your content they are building their brand not yours).
And practically speaking, it is possible to treat customers as individuals. You can serve up individual data in email or dynamically on websites to make your message unique to each (which is where big data comes in – another buzz word, sorry).
The problem is that when I hear the word segmentation I know I am going to have to steel myself to be looking at diagrams and Gantt charts and spread sheets. And it’s boring.
Don’t get me wrong, the forensic analysis is important. But to me, and to use an old advertising metaphor, it’s like describing the ingredients of a sausage, without paying attention to the sizzle it makes. Customers are so much more than what they reveal in their data sets. When I look at a segmentation report, I’m looking for the individual. So I draw a picture. She has a head that thinks, a heart that feels. one eye on what’s important to her and one eye on what your competitors are up to. In the background the world is going on. And I pin her on my wall and I name her. You should try it.
Segmentation is brought to life by your Creative Director’s empathy with your customers. The analytical report is where it starts. It is a route map to deliver an emotional connection that will make the communications it drives feel natural to them and in that way it will genuinely connect with your customers.
Which is why segmentation is a creative thing. And if the emotional, creative connections aren’t made, then all your segmentation work might end up looking a bit formulaic.