3 Strategies to Segment Audiences and Personalize Digital Marketing

By Guest Comment

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Today’s consumers are not silent spectators or passive listeners. Instead, companies are dealing with an empowered audience — engaged in real-time social and mobile conversations, but fragmented across many digital platforms.

While digital marketers are well aware that they must segment their audience and deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time, many struggle with tactical yet effective ways to pinpoint audiences based on needs, expectations and behaviors.

Use Digital Platforms to Build Consumer Personas

Customers are more than just a gender, age, and location recorded in some database. Marketers need to also understand the behaviors and preferences of customers in order to provide them with the best possible experiences while simultaneously influencing their purchasing plans.

STA Travel, a youth-focused travel company, used an Offerpop quiz to better understand the interests of their audience and direct them to personalized travel options. The quiz placed participants into one of five personality-based “Travel Tribes:” Life & Soul, Thrill Seeker, A-Lister, Free Wheeler, and Live like a Local. The campaign yielded over 40,000 responses, providing a wealth of persona data that STA used to target offers to customers.

STA’s website traffic increased, sales grew and they gained more than 10,000 new potential customers using a fun and engaging campaign.

Persona building is a great way to avoid pitching irrelevant marketing content to consumers. For instance, travelers interested in yoga, meditation and soulful retreats most likely are not interested in VIP club access or weekend party yacht rentals. Being more targeted will ensure your content resonates with your customers.

Integrate unique experiences for real-time consumer journey insight

Forrester’s report on Competitive Strategy in the Age of the Consumer emphasizes going beyond consumer historical data, and expanding analysis to better understand “the next step a consumer may take.” Customers come into contact with brands at varying stages; some are ready to purchase, others are there to gather information, and it’s up to brands to offer experiences that cater to each specific situation, and move the consumer closer to conversion..

Brand-to-consumer experiences help brands gain a real-time understanding of where an individual is in the buying cycle, and how the brand can move them along the path to purchase.

Be generous with content and rewards by incorporating contests and discount offerings to consumers, but keep those offerings pertinent to the needs, wants, and desires of each audience segment.

Advocate Health Care, one of the largest hospital and health systems in the Midwest, launched a GoPro giveaway and integrated marketing campaign to promote local health and wellness. Grounded in a hashtag to collect and display user-generated content, and promoted around the city with billboards, TV ads, and digital advertising targeted at outdoors and fitness enthusiasts, #HealthiestLife aggregated more than 3,000 pieces of repurposable user-generated content. Advocate Health Care was able to collect opt-in permissions and deliver follow-up marketing initiatives relevant to the audiences activity. The well-catered messaging ultimately resulted in a 26 percent increase in physician appointments, not to mention a 126 percent jump in traffic to the user-generated content gallery on their website.

Identify new touch points for audience segments using an omni-channel approach

Different audiences open their doors to brands at varying stages of the sales cycle. By including utility-focused content and engagement tools into your strategies, you will find previously unknown avenues to interact with consumers. Tracking targeted content allows marketers to see when different audiences are activated — a great building point for future campaigns.

Following an incredibly successful user-generated content campaign, tote bag retailer SCOUT drove e-commerce sales by repurposing UGC in various touch points across their digital marketing channels.

The SCOUT marketing team discovered that featuring user-generated content in an online holiday gift guide and their email marketing resulted in a significant increase in web traffic from existing fans. Additionally, they experienced such a high volume of web visitors and social media fans visiting the gallery, that they replaced the ‘SALE’ tab in the header of emails with the #scoutbags user-generated content gallery, which effectively drove more consumers to in-season products. Finally, SCOUT included a print promotion for the campaign with every order to remind customers to continue sharing their SCOUT moments.

SCOUT tracked which content generates the most clicks and shares and used this information to optimize their visual marketing strategy and cater to their audiences needs and preferences. And it worked – sales from social traffic increased an average of 67.5 percent by the end of 2014.

Audience segmentation has gone real-time. Brands are building consumer profiles that are constantly tracking what you like, what you buy, how you buy it, and millions of other digital interactions on an ongoing basis. But the potential of this power is lost if marketers aren’t tracking, segmenting, and revamping their messaging to match their audience. Sending the wrong message to the wrong audience is not only wasted time — it can also harm your relationship with potential customers.

Rob Manning is the Content Marketing Manager at Offerpop, where he heads up the creation and execution of content strategies.

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