Behind the MarTech Buzzwords: "Segments", "Customer Journeys" and other terms you need to know
By: Brittany LeMaro, Betach Marketing Analyst
Marketing as a discipline has fundamentally changed. Where in the past, companies focused on a one-way push of their marketing message to the masses, today’s consumers now demand a new relationship with brands. This relationship, powered by technology, delivers a thoughtful, seamless, personalized customer experience and enables a two-way dialogue between customers and companies.
In response to these new demands, marketing technology solutions have exploded in popularity and marketing teams have provisioned marketing stacks and marketing “clouds” to make digital marketing activities more effective and efficient.
These technologies also produce large streams of behavioral data that allow marketers to adopt agile practices through testing, measurement, and optimization of their digital marketing programs.
Simply put, MarTech is the technology that enables marketing in this digital world.
The modern customer demands to be treated as an individual; for their digital experiences and communications to be personalized and highly-relevant, and catered to match their specific needs, interests, and preferences. And while customer expectations are increasingly reaching all-time highs, their patience and tolerance for sub-par experiences are at all-time lows. As a customer, if you don’t give me the quality experience I expect; exactly what I want, how, when and where I want to experience it, I’ll simply get it from someone else who will. And companies like that utilize customized Customer Journey platforms, will make sure that I do.
The digital customer journey refers to the process a customer goes through with your brand — from browsing to purchase to post-purchase. For marketers, the key is being able to identify what stage a customer is at, and successfully curating the content they receive based on this stage as if it were served up manually and with great care.
Here is an example for a digital customer journey a marketer may follow and automate curate content toward:
Browsing. The prospective buyer has just begun their journey. During this stage, the customer isn’t quite sure what they’re looking for yet — the good news is, you’ve at least piqued their curiosity.
Building a cart. Ahh, the customer has found what they were looking for! However, they must still weigh their options — it’s not a foregone conclusion that they’ll move on to the next stage: purchase.
Purchase. The final stage. The customer has committed to making a purchase… whether a first-time or repeat transaction. Now the question is how to turn this customer into a returning/loyal customer.
Post-purchase. The majority of customers are “one and done,” and it’s harder to acquire than retain. So this stage is all about inspiring further purchases — ideally with some genuine digital hugging (see below)!
Have you heard the term digital hugging?
I certainly had not, that is, until I started researching trends facing marketers as we move further into the year. As better tech quickly evens the playing field, so to speak, strategy and creativity come into the crosshairs as the real differentiators.
Digital hugging goes beyond personalization in the sense that it idealizes the customer experience by surrounding customers with love across core channels (and also providing a relevant experience in the context and time most relevant to them).
In the Age of Digital, audience segmentation is capable of going further than ever before, leading to a new era of custom and personalised digital marketing. Successful digital marketing companies are developing platforms and strategies, that enable brand leaders to reach their potential customers. By using a set of set of preferences, digital markets can customise and accelerated the buying process for each prospect.
Consumer profiles based upon digital interactions, are constantly tracking what you like, what you buy and how you buy it on an ongoing basis. However, this information is ineffective to a digital marketing agency, if it is not segmented and targeted for the appropriate audience. Digital Marketers must also now understand the behaviors and preferences of consumers, in order to influence their purchases.
Segmentation is the process of dividing your database into groups based on a single or multiple criteria. Segmentation allows you to group your customers by similar characteristics, making marketing techniques easier and more efficient.
The main forms of market segmentation are:
Demographic segmentation. Segmenting your potential market from a ‘people’s perspective’. Age, gender, sexual orientation, and income are some ways of achieving demographic segmentation.
Geographic segmentation. Segmenting your potential market by where they are located. This can be as restricted as you see fit. For example, you could choose to segment the market based on their country or zip code.
Psychographic segmentation. Segmenting the market by customer personality traits, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles.
Value segmentation. Segmenting the market by the relevant ‘transactional worth’ of a customer. This means assessing previous transactional data to understand products purchased, how frequently the customer purchases and ultimately how profitable they are to your business.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a highly focused business strategy in which a marketing team treats an individual prospect or customer like its very own market. The marketing team can create content, events, and entire campaigns dedicated to the people associated with that account, rather than the industry as a whole.
Why is ABM so critical to B2B? Well, ABM is a particularly useful for organizations with multiple buyers or stakeholders. Account-based marketing is dedicated to decision-makers all within the same organization. Therefore, it ensures your marketing campaigns are designed to resonate with these specific people. That's one reason why it works so well in B2B - oftentimes you have to work with five or more stakeholders in a given sale.
Example 1: Sending Personalized Emails to Target-Account Contacts
This a definitely a tricky tactic. If done correctly, personalized email communications to target buyers will be the one of the easiest and most effective ABM tactics you will employ, but if executed in poor taste, will land you in the junk folder with the Nigerian princes.
Say for instance you’ve identified a group of 20 contacts at one of your top accounts who could potentially be involved in the sales cycle for your solution, but your sales team hasn’t been able to effectively engage any of them. One ABM tactic to consider would be to create a small series of emails personalized by role. Each email variation could contain content relevant to that specific person’s challenges as you know them
Example 2: Engaging Your Target Accounts With Educational Content
Your company’s top-funnel marketing content plays a versatile role in creating demand for your product. In an ABM strategy, using educational content (e.g. informative guides, blog posts, infographics, workbooks, webinars, whitepapers, etc.) to attract target accounts can be a powerful tactic if well-executed.
One of the best ways I’ve seen this done is by recognizing a target account in a blog post. This doesn’t mean just calling out a company or specific person on a whim, but writing about a topic you know they are knowledgeable in and making an affirmational mention acknowledging their expertise.
This is by far one of the most respectful ways to create an introduction with a target buyer because the way the mention is formatted typically compliments an idea or product. It also gives you the opportunity to interact with the target buyer on social media. As a rule of thumb, I like to use Twitter as the first channel for an interaction as it’s a bit more casual, but still delivers the same message: “we saw what you’re doing, and we think it’s valuable enough to publish on our own blog.”
Best case scenario, your target interacts with your content and gives you the opportunity to start a conversation. Worst case scenario, your target doesn’t interact, but likely still sees the content, thus inserting your brand in the back of their minds and subconsciously making them more receptive to future marketing material.