The social landscape is evolving and is turning out to be the new frontier in customer relationship management. Organizations are actively involved in optimizing the power of social interactions in a bid to engage with customer segments online. What’s notable is that consumers are not the same and tend to have varied needs, tastes or preferences. Prioritizing consumers based on a number of factors including size, preference and potential to buy will help marketers achieve success. They need to engage consumer segments that are likely to respond favorably to product and marketing messages of a company. Research has proved that those consumers who engage with companies over Social Media are more loyal and they spend up to 40 percent more with the companies when compared to other consumers.

Taking Customer Segmentation to the Next Level

Incyte Group’s research indicates that there is a gap between the way consumers prefer to connect with companies and the way in which these companies use Social Media to reach them. The research highlighted four major consumer market segments that are very likely to find consumer communities when making vital purchase decisions. They are fashionista professionals in the age group 25-34, who are likely to be active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Linkedin; knights with shining iMacs, male professionals in the age group 24-35 who are active in social networks sharing product expertise with fellow consumers; web building techies, men in the age group 21-24 who seek social ties with fellow techies and bargain hunting mamas, women in the age group 35-44 who are essentially value-driven buyers who research and share knowledge based on research and experience.

As consumers turn resistant to traditional advertising messages and instead prefer access to social ‘peers’ who share purchase experiences, the need for consumer segmentation has magnified. What companies find through Social Media are authentic voices of consumers in real time. Most importantly, Social Media helps marketers to conduct segmentation across brands and markets at a fraction of the cost when compared to using traditional research approaches

Challenging ‘Social’ World Calls for Segmentation

Connecting with targeted online consumers is essential for any business today. For marketers to win in this complex social world, consumer segmentation is invaluable. An attempt to group consumers into segments based on age, gender, profession and income is no longer the best means to relate to your consumers. It is essential that marketers move over to sophisticated consumer segmentation including behavioural, demographic, psychographic and geographical dimensions. To tackle the biggest hurdle which is filtering the noise, it is recommended that companies segment consumers based on the message content into the various stages of the consumer decision journey (which has replaced the traditional funnel). For instance, if you are a network or security services company for small business, the market can be segmented into people who are now launching small businesses, people with established business and those seeking growth. You can then choose to invest marketing resources based on the share of voice across the various stages of the iterative and circular consumer decision journey.

Demographic or niche groups must be considered too. You can isolate Social Media interactions according to the demographic dimensions based on the nature of your business. For instance, if you want to analyse African-American skincare, you can glean insights from conversations of this particular ethnic group online and find that many are concerned over usage of sunscreen and skin cancer risk. Psychographic dimensions (as observed in brand loyalists) is also noteworthy. Geographic segmentation provides unparalleled operational value to business. It might also help companies assess and investigate specific causes of consumer issues in particular areas.

To conclude, segmentation strategies are being used by companies across the world and it is here to stay. A Social Media analytics team which is fully trained on the concept of segmentation and works in tandem with the customer insight or market segmentation teams is an irreplaceable asset to any organization.

 

Image Courtesy : Attract Marketing (Flickr.com)

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