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Designing advertising, services, products or doing media planning requires us to understand customers and target markets. The more we understand about behavioral preferences, attitudes, lifestyles and multiple other variables, the better we can do our jobs. Combining all sources of data: research, analytics, buyer segments in real time bidding (RTB) targeting engines, qualitative research.. its such a wealth of data that it has become too big to manage. Right now we need to be able to simplify and turn such wealth of data in to understanding and actionable priorities. This is exactly what segmenting should be all about.
Segmentation 1.0 is about creating customer understanding inside organization. The segments are actually stand alone pictures and stories about customers. These segments can’t be connected to data, which means that they steer creativity but don’t offer KPI’s, real business management tools or monitor market share changes.
Segmentation 2.0 is about more data driven and actionable segmentation. Dynamic interest grouping with online targeting tools allows you to calculate probability of click or purchase and adjust your investment/segment accordingly. Same method applies to existing customer analytics, which offers steering such as next best offer, likelihood of negative churn or the level of monetary value of different segments. It’s already about making data actionable. However, these technology specific, not market level segments.
There are two cases of Segmentation 2.0 that are now leading the way to 3.0 available in Finland. Finland is interesting because of advanced population register allowing you to do interesting solutions easier than elsewhere. However, these learnings will soon become internationalised.
The story about Finnish church is quite eye opening. Since 2000 the Finnish national church membership level has dropped from 85% to 72%. The Church is in crisis.
Church has been responsible for registering population since the beginning of organized society in Finland. Everyone who gets baptized start paying church tax as part of their national taxation. My personal church tax was more than 1000€ last year. Losing members means losses in church taxation and losing young people means losing their life time taxes calculated in billions.
Church needed tools to understand their members and ways of preventing churn. Actually the church needed to re-invent them selves. They needed segmentation. Jarmo Lipiäinen, head of Kotimaa’s sales and marketing recognized this challenge and took action. Member 360 was born. This segmentation divides people in to segments by their religious tendencies and multiple other lifestyle variables. This segment tag is attached to everyone in Finland, member or not.
Picture: Main and sub-segments
Picture: Example profile – Disconnected experience seekers
Making the segmentation applicable required tools. Jarmo Lipiäinen led the project and they created data visualization tools for parishes. You can now look at areas and understand what kind of segments are there and buy addresses to people from different segments. This allows church to speak to their members and prospects in language and perception they can agree with. Church is not just about religion, it’s a second layer of safety net for under privileged people and has multiple other roles in society . People don’t leave church only for religious reasons, they expect church to act for greater good and help people. Church stands for a lot more than God.
Since the Member 360 was introduced, now +100 parishes are using the tools and changing the way church works and is relevant to their members. Church is now rewriting their story, hiring service designers to design engagements and services for members. One experiment, internet priest with chat, was very popular among young people who were in distress but would never have reached out to church advice or someone to talk face to face. The role of church, the message and ways of being part of peoples’ lives is now changing fast. Church is learning member centricity.
Commercial 2.0 segmentation
Another initiative took place simultaneously on commercial side, Fonecta Buyer Classification. This toolkit looked at people’s lifestyles and buying preferences and was also connected to the entire population. On top of that, it is also connected to media buying tools and TNS research data. I have personally implemented multiple cases with buyer classification in travel, restaurants, hotels, telco and retail. Buyer classification has 8 main segments and sub-segments.
- Budget-Concious young adults
- Bargain hunters preferring finnish purhases
- Parsimonious Pensioners
- Brand-Focused thrill seekers
- Ordinary citizens
- Service-seeking couples
- Family-focused quality seekers
- Solid and prosperous elite consumers
The segments can be attached to your own customer database which allows you to see how many people there are in each segment, how they behave, how valuable they are, what do they buy. You can use this understanding to reach out potential new customers out there based on insights from your own data. Buyer classification allows you to connect internal and external realities with same segments and also monitor market development in numbers: who’s winning and losing what kind of customers. Business is not just simple numbers – won and lost, its very much about value too. The whole point of segmenting is about understanding where to concentrate your resources and optimize your profitability. You have to make choices, segmenting allows you to do make better decisions for those that matter most. This kind of generic segmenting attached to media buying and external data is a whole new game for business KPI’s and corporate management. It’s a possibility to connect creativity, resource allocation and business goals together
Human 360 – Next generation – segmentation 3.0
The next level is currently entering the market. Same segments are now connected to online behaviour too. You can now do online media planning by segments and use same segments in real-time-bidding. That’s a minimum standard in this day and age, but there’s more.
Member 360 and Buyer Classification were single purpose segments that could be adapted to other purposes but weren’t optimized for them. The next generation is about connecting multiple segmentation tools together:
- 1st You have your own core segmentation or generic segmentation that has been made for your business sector’s specific needs. This segmentation is used for business management and company wide KPI’s
- 2nd You have supplementary contextual segments for further insights: eg. Food, travel, technology, sports, politics, religion, fashion, housing,… you name it
To say it simply, the new generation approaches individuals holistically. People have different kind of passions and interests, capabilities and life situations. These contexts can be translated as passions and orientation. You can now approach people based on their orientation and you can analyze what kind of passions and orientations your current and potential customers have. You can also calculate scores for each segment allowing you to evaluate which approaches to your customers have strongest likelyhood of meaningful impact. Creation of business scenarios and relevant communications has never been easier.
Such insight can be used for creative planning, media planning, new service development, partner selection,.. well, designing the future of the company.
Segmentation 3.0 enable us to connect 4C’s together and create a corporate GPS for success:
Sofar Google has given a price for words with Google Adwords. This kind of segmentation will give similar price variation for people, it becomes the unifying currency in media buying. Some people have a much higher profitability potential than others. The future of media profitability will be dependent of reaching those audiences and people, advertisers are willing to pay most for. We are truly entering a new era in data driven analytics, planning, marketing, creativity and management. This development will have major impact on general management, mediabuying practices and entire creative industry. This kind of methods and tools will allow us to work miracles in unseen scale.
This development will further enhance marketing’s strategic role in management and strategy. Data will enable us to manage end-to-end processes better than ever
Author Toni Keskinen and Jarmo Lipiäinen have published “Journey with customer – from product centricity to symbiosis strategy” –book in Finnish 2013.
In case of any company that is selling products and services that people are interested in enough to find more information about, have customer relationships with continuous or repeated purchases, succeed or fail because of their customer interfaces. In the current business environment, where the competition is hard and people have other players available in a ‘click’, you can not afford to fail in converging visitors or people who get interested to buyers. For CMO, these are the new priorities:
- Most accountable and rapid growth is available from current customers, their loyalty, re-purchases and cross-selling increasing lifetime value. This game is all aobut customer experience
- Strongest growth of customer base is available from own customer interfaces by expanding their reach and increasing conversion rate. The core goal is to recognize these people and start servicing them in order to sell (=selling by servicing and inspiring approach)
- Other market – non customers, is most unaccountable and most difficult to really increase ROI from. Content marketing driven SEO success, positive social media, referring traffic and general positive WOM are all free medium generating new visitors to own customer interfaces.
CMO has a rather large liquid capital to invest and in most cases its has been spent on external media channels and advertising. As I am writing this the old spending habits are changing rapidly. Instead of trying to advertise the company’s image, preference and top-of-mind to the new hights, smartest CMO’s and companies are concentrating their efforts on customer experience and customer interfaces. Customer Journey and how to manage it is very much dependent on data and it is now rather easy to capture that data, which is changing the game rapidly (There is nothing wrong with advertising, but I have witnessed way too many times that the advertising has increased demand in general and sold competitors products. So, don’t advertise in case you don’t know that your customer interfaces actually deliver sales to your own brand. Once you do, they will sell also when your competitor is advertising and your own advertising will deliver much higher ROI)
When designing the customer journey and marketing priorities the external touch points are as valuable as their capability to pull people to the company’s own interfaces. Once they are on the company’s interfaces it’s vital to recognize them, which makes it much easier for you to inspire, serve and create feeling of trust or trigger purchases. Own interfaces are as valuable as their capability to convert visitors to buyers or at least recognize who the potential buyers are. In banner advertising this kind of action is called re-targeting, but that secondary compared to marketing automation tools and rich CRM data captured with 1st party cookies. So, here’s a how you can break the picture above in to more detailed contributors along the customer interfaces:
It’s actually not that difficult to pull together data about these interfaces and their contribution to the corporate overall success. Once you have all that data pulled together it is much easier to concentrate on how to make the whole system work more efficiently. These frameworks are tools for Topsight -kind of view. However, they give you a better perspective about what is the role of advertising and what could be possible with your existing customer interfaces, natural traffic, visitors, people considering your product and learning about it, or the role of CRM and existing customer database.
Once you have understanding the next level would be about creating systematic and automated tools and processes for further scale. Here is one more frame for such approach (cycle for success) in the online marketing environment:
Author: Toni Keskinen, Marketing Architect & Customer Journey Designer
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