Targeted marketing segments and personas are often developed from different, complementary perspectives and are sometimes used interchangeably. But there is a distinct difference: Segmentation brings structure and logic to your targeted marketing — while buyer personas bring an empathetic dimension to customers’ needs and expectations. By setting your targets where customer and commercial needs intersect, you can generate more powerful segments and integrate the pre- and post-acquisition journeys more effectively.
CMOs acknowledge that customer understanding remains a top three capability gap and that finding better ways of integrating and drawing insights from their data is a critical need. While there are a number of ways that organizations group their customers, the end goal is the same: to identify patterns that enable your brand to target and build relationships with the right customers.
Recognizing not just why your ideal customers engage and buy, but also what they do and think, can help build stronger, more lasting relationships. Your targeted marketing strategy should weigh toward gleaning needs-based insights from your existing customer base to reveal how and why customers make decisions.
Focus on the “differences that make a difference”
When looking for patterns and themes within your customer base, the most natural places to explore are drivers of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Also consider exploring the touchpoints along the journey where customers make decisions. For example, look for themes around what customers need help with, customers’ mindsets around making a decision or external stressors in their environment.
Once you have these insights, partner with teams that own VoC, customer research and insights, and marketing analytics to create groups of customers based on the value your brand can deliver to their unique set of needs.