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The Guide to Building More Meaningful Audience Data

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FM Engage

When you try to make everyone happy, you end up pleasing nobody. Marketing campaigns are aimed at specific audiences to draw them in, but when only 35% of marketers conduct annual audience research, the lack of proper audience segmentation adjustments lead to an unhappy audience and poor results.

Collecting demographic data benefits your audience and makes sure the right people are getting the right message, but it mainly benefits your business by attracting receptive customers and giving you a clearer picture on the types of segmentation that benefit your audience data collection.

What Is Audience Segmentation?

Audience segmentation is the process of finding strategic subgroups within your target audience based on shared behaviors, interests, or attributes that indicate how they will respond to marketing. Tailoring your market mix to more manageable subgroups is called segmenting, and it can help marketing get more detailed and provide better results.

For example, say you have a pile of red, blue, and yellow books. To make this mix more manageable, you could segment the books by color, length, or genre. Once you have them set up in groups, you can start reading whichever segment you prefer.

In marketing, you do the same with your audience, splitting them into segments by age, location, behavior, and other characteristics. Through this segmentation, your audience becomes as easy to read as an open book if you have all your data lined up and researched correctly.

Focus on Certain Audience Segments

Your content and marketing strategies are contingent on your audience data because it isn’t just telling you who you want to target; it’s also telling you who your efforts should ignore. You want to create a rich customer profile that will have the highest chance of leading to a purchase, which means that your data collection can act as a process of elimination.

If you aren’t careful, you could target too broadly and miss your mark. For example, not every marketing campaign wants to target people like Ruth Random because she’s so hard to please, so this time around, your research may suggest that you ignore people like Ruth to focus on more discerning customers who are more receptive to your efforts.

Broad targeting is a marketing trap that leads back to trying to make everyone happy. If you cast your net too wide, you’ll end up with a boat full of low-quality fish. By using audience segmentation, you can determine which fish to ignore, better focus your search, and cast your net more precisely to pull in the catch you’ve been seeking.

The Audience Data Collection Variables

Audience segmentation is split into different categories that will not only help you understand your audience on a deeper level but will assist you in effectively communicating to them. Multiple methods exist to segment your audience, but the most popular forms are:

Demographic Segmentation – Consumer demographics cover your audience’s age, gender, income, education, and marital status.

Geographic Segmentation – Find your ideal audience across countries, states, counties, cities, or towns.

Psychographic Segmentation – Dive into the mind of your audience to find the ideal personality, attitude, values, and interests.

Technographic Segmentation – Discover how your audience consumes information and what device, app, and software they are using to consume it.

Behavioral Segmentation – Uncover your audience’s tendencies and frequent actions, feature or product use, and habits.

Needs-Based Segmentation – Using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you can find the product or service must-haves and needs for specific customer groups.

Value-Based Segmentation – Find out the economic value of specific customer groups to the business.

The Steps to Finding Meaningful Audience Data

When determining the best way to segment your customers, start by going through the following steps.

Decide on Customer Segmentation Goals

When you’re creating a customer segmentation strategy, determine why you’re spending time on segmentation and what you want to get out of the process. Are you trying to learn about customers on a deeper level, improve their loyalty, or identify new opportunities for products and services?

The type of segmentation you choose will determine the audience data you collect. This process is unique to you, so while you can use another company in the industry as a point of reference, your data categories will differ based on your audience personas.

An audience persona is a combination of demographics, behaviors, preferences and affinities. These are effective profiles that give you more robust insight into the different members of your target audience and the easiest ways to reach them. Ruth Random is 35 years old and enjoys red books while Margaret is 20 and likes yellow books. Based on your research, you’ll see better results by marketing red books to people like Ruth, so assuming Ruth Random represents a large portion of your audience that likes red books, you will target women in their mid-30s.

Obviously, audience personas go much more in-depth than this, but the general idea is to create a picture of what members of your audience like and how best to market to them based on their aspects.

Segment Customers into Groups

Once you know what you want to get out of the customer segmentation process and whom to target, you need to decide on how you’re going to segment your audience. Refer back to the data collection variables. You have up to seven segmentation options to choose from that can be mixed and matched to fit your campaign and audience personas.

For example, based on the consumer data and goals you’ve compiled, a geographic segmentation may be the best fit for your needs, but a different campaign may want a more demographic focus.

Using a data management platform or audience segmentation tools, you can focus on behavioral analytics and historical data to create a customer journey map. A customer journey uses data and insights to tell you how and where to deliver your message for the greatest impact, spanning across channels, platforms and formats.

Crafting specific content for each point in the journey will increase your chances of guiding the customer along to the next stage.

Finding Target and Reach

Once you choose your customer segmentation, you can then determine how you’ll target your customers across the organization. Every department should have a solid understanding of how your customers are segmented so they can market, advertise, and research effectively.

Your marketing team can create customized content meant to attract a specific audience, your sales team can identify common traits or popular selling points in certain segments, and your services team can prepare materials and resources based on the target segment’s preferences.

Customer Segmentation Analysis

Finally, after everyone is on the same page and all your variables are in order, you can start analyzing your segmentation efforts to get a deeper understanding of your customers. Uncover the purchase behavior of your target segment, check in with your departments to get opinions on segment adjustments, and experiment with new ways of grouping customers to find the most effective messaging.

Collect data to create messaging that resonates with your customers, and continue building from this consumer data to create a marketing structure that holds up over time. Make sure you review the way your customers are segmented whenever you update your product or service, rebrand or revise your buyer personas.

Even the smallest adjustments can cause big ripples in different departments, which leads to audience data that may be inaccurate without changing up your segmentation.

Gauging the Quality of Your Audience Data

It takes time to collect audience segmentation data and convert it into information that can be used for targeting, but figuring out the quality of the data collected can save you time and energy. The quality of the data determines whether it can even be used.

Ask yourself where the data came from, how it was gathered, and how old it is. If it comes from you or a trusted second party, then the data is clean.

Coming from a third party or beyond means that any data collected is difficult to verify and should only be trusted and used on a case-by-case basis. If the data was collected first-hand or through inferred data, then you can trust that it’s only operating on a minor margin of error, while modeled data is based on guesses from an algorithm.

Finally, the more recent the data the better. If you’re using information that was collected last year, you may be missing out on major changes in the audience segments, which will impact the way you view data down the road.

Using an Audience Data Provider

Using your own audience data is good, but when you need retargeting solutions for your next ad campaign, having a second set of data points keeps the process moving smoothly. Data providers are data vendors that offer either certain types of audience data, data management platforms, or a mix of both. While second or third-party data may bring to mind programmatic advertising, it can be used effectively in your search for deeper audience data.

Data providers typically offer data that can be segmented as granularly as your own targeting efforts. For example, if a campaign is focused on demographic variables like targeting single men between the ages of 20 and 35 with middle-class incomes, you can use the information given by a data provider to automatically narrow down your data search to these parameters. If the results aren’t what you expected, you will be able to pivot your target audience accordingly.

Engage Your Audience with FM Engage

Creating data-driven marketing campaigns takes a variety of resources and a lot of bandwidth before you have effective digital marketing on your hands. With FM Engage, you have all the audience data and audience segmentation assistance you need to create a rich customer profile and marketing strategies to take your insurance campaign to the next level. Start your next campaign with marketing data you can trust when you partner with FM Engage today.

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