Data - segmentation and profiling

Data Segmentation and data profiling

Have you ever received an unsolicited email from some poor unfortunate Nigerian Prince, desperate to save his family fortune and offering to compensate you handsomely for helping him out by simply sending him your bank details and a small advance to cover his administration costs?

If you have, you may have noticed that the email is probably poorly constructed with occasional typo’s, grammar that would make a ten-year old blush and maybe even a geographical error or two thrown in for good measure…Haven’t these people heard of spellcheck?

Well, yes they have and their English is probably as good as yours or mine. So why the errors?

Among other things, the  email scammers are weeding out those recipients that are less likely to be influenced by their ‘offer’, quite simply they are making it easy for the vast majority of us to dismiss their message as a laughable attempt to relieve us of our hard earned cash.

In doing so, they are reducing their market so that as few as 1 person in 100,000 might ‘fall’ for their scam. But, they are also focusing their efforts on that 1 person in 100,000 secure in the knowledge that as they dispatch millions of ’invitations’ every day in different guises, the newly developed database of susceptible targets becomes a very valuable asset indeed….data segmentation.

Now, imagine that you are at a networking event or social occasion and shock horror…dozens of your clients are also in attendance. Your first thought (or maybe your second, after wondering how to stop them talking to each other in case they start discussing prices) might be ‘how on earth do I communicate with them all?’

You will want to show no favour and of course you will not want to be seen spending more time with one client over another, neither will you want to speak in exactly the same way to every single person, because you know that what works for client A almost certainly won’t cut the mustard for Client Z…data profiling.

Two rather ridiculous examples of course, but both demonstrate perfectly the value of data segmentation and data profiling. You would not send a message to somebody that you knew to be uninterested in your offer and you know that when it comes to marketing, there really is no one-size fits all.

But of course you know this already, so the question is…what are you doing to efficiently use data segmentation and data profiling?

There are many ways to separate customers, clients and prospects into logical segments including business type, turnover, job title, geographic location or number of employees to name just a few. Once divided into these field you can begin using marketing strategies that will improve your CRM and add real value to your campaign metrics.

Whatever businesses you are in, the process must begin with clean data so take some time to analyse your database and determine the most effective way to divide your contacts into target groups.

Then, think about how you store your data, obviously it will be secure and the fields easily definable but are all the terms recognisable or will your CRM system struggle to differentiate between UK and United Kingdom, last order and most recent order or for web generated data, open and click?

It is worth mentioning here that as the new GDPR rules come into effect in under 12 months and a good data cleaning exercise will help you to achieve compliance ahead of any changes in the law. In case you missed it, here is a link to a recent article about GDPR which mentions the value of clean data.

Once you are happy with the format you can begin the process of segmenting the data and developing a strategy for contacting your chosen target markets.

There are of course far too many segments to mention here and often they are very industry specific, the obvious place to start however is usually by separating customers from prospects. This might seem a very basic level instruction but it is surprising how often a blanket email campaign will fall at this very first hurdle especially in B2B data markets.

Customer Contact
Obviously, you should know far more about your customers than you do about your prospects, buying habits, preferences, shipping choices and personal details such as date of birth. This all means that data segmentation and customer profiling is a great deal more straightforward and offers many more contact opportunities.

In addition to traditional market segmentation, you might also find it useful to create a profile of your ideal client/customer, the perfect prospect that should deliver the highest return on investment?

But what about cold prospects?
On the face of it, a shortage of data limits your contact opportunities, but here is where we might take a leaf out of our Nigerian Prince’s book?

Think of your email campaign as a process, not a transaction and consider your return on investment as information rather than orders. Of course, we all want the ‘killer email’ to generate funds but the data you gather, particularly in the early stages of a campaign has a value too.

Whatever email marketing system you are using will be trackable, you can see who clicked what, when and where and it does not take long before you are able to develop a database based upon these habits. Even if it is as basic as a ‘hot, warm and cold’ list, segmenting data in this way allows you to concentrate your efforts in a targeted manner.

The development of a workable contact management system or marketing automation tool will add value to any business and if used properly it will help monitor behaviour and turn leads into customers.

One final word, allow yourself some time to gather and analyse the data, of course sales will be clamoring for immediate results but as marketers we know the irrefutable value of analysis…it’s called intelligence gathering for a reason.

Kompass are B2B data specialists, we understand data profiling better than most, contact us for help with your business data requirements.

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Ian Blyth
Managing Director C & H Marketing

Disclaimer: Please note that this blog only contains general information and insights about legal matters. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.