Market segmentation is not an exact science. Most B2B marketers can only narrow their segments to a certain point, such as “young executives” or “digital natives”. Yet, within these overly broad definitions lie numerous subsets: digital natives who adore the opera versus those that are avid sports fans and young executives who spend their weekends gaming versus those who are raising families.
How you market to these various subsets means the difference in success or failure. Using sports metaphors with the opera crowd makes you come across as low-brow and out of touch. Offering free opera tickets with your annual subscriptions to the sports folks makes you seem snotty and irrelevant.
Before big data, marketing was primarily a one-way communication. There was no way to get instantaneous feedback to fine-tune market segments and engage them in two-way communication.
Big Data Eliminates the “Shallow Dive”
Whether you are a B2B marketer or a B2C marketer, the more you know about a potential client, the better chance you have of offering that client exactly the right messaging at the right time. Big data allows you to go beyond the shallow dive and helps you dive deeper into your customer data for insights that really work.
Big Data Helps You Identify and Connect With Highly Specialized Niche Segments
Most marketers respond by targeting multiple market segments, or perhaps by trying to appeal to overly broad marketing segments. The first mistake leads to a dilution of your brand; you are not readily associated with anything. The second mistake means nobody even knows who you are. What are your options? Well, big data, of course. Big data marketing can eliminate these segmentation problems and enable you to market on a granular level with personalized, customized messages to which your B2B customers can relate and identify.
Big Data Helps You Track Your Customer Segments as They Evolve
Another thing that marketers sometimes fail to realize is that the “young executives” of today become the “seasoned professionals” of tomorrow. Their interests change; therefore, the marketing messages and techniques you use to stay connected and relevant to this crowd changes over time. You can do this without losing your brand identity because the big data tells you what articles your clients are reading online, what they are liking and sharing on social media, and what their purchase history is. Running the data is not a one-and-done; it is something you will need to keep doing to keep up with your evolving customer base.
Big Data Reveals Intent From Behavior
Do you have a means of gauging intention, or do you have to wait until the customer rings up your sales department to know who is going to buy? Big data can tell you who your most promising leads are ahead of time, so you do not waste time on those who have no intention of purchasing from you.
Is liking and sharing your Facebook posts or retweeting your Twitter posts indicative of purchase behaviors? Do the same people who tend to read your articles all the way through to the end also buy your products on a regular basis? You can use the data to determine what actions and patterns are most closely associated with buying behavior and how.
Then you can use this information to target potential clients who most closely match your current clients. Now you can spend less to market to fewer people, while enjoying a higher conversion rate than ever before. Additionally, this same information can help you up-sell and improve the lifetime customer value you achieve.
Big data is a powerful tool that will forever change how marketers approach market segmentation. The question is: how will you use the data you have?
Download the ABM Guide for Modern Marketers for tips on improving your ABM strategy by leveraging your data wisely.