Segmentation recognizes that consumers are not monolithic. They have different tastes, needs, desires and preferences. Marketers achieve greater success by understanding these differences and engaging consumer segments that will respond most favorably to a company’s products and marketing messages.
In the first two parts of this segmentation series, we defined social media segmentation and discussed various approaches to take with it depending on your business. This blog post covers implementation – how do you do it?
Social media enables marketers to conduct sophisticated consumer segmentation along the following dimensions:
- Behavioral. This is perhaps the most novel aspect of social media segmentation. In essence, you can segment consumers into the stages of the Consumer Decision Journey (CDJ) based on the content of their messages. For a credit card company marketing to small business owners, for example, you can segment the market into people considering starting a business, people that recently established a small business and are managing first year risks, and into established small business owners looking for growth. By comparing your share of voice across each stage of the CDJ versus competitors, you can make fact-based decisions on where to invest your marketing resources. One auto manufacturer, for example, found that it was getting an outsized share of voice for the Consideration stage (i.e., outsized relative to its market share), but that the advantage was not cascading into the higher-level stages of Evaluation and Purchase. The learnings led to more tactical marketing efforts to spur showroom visits and identify buyers nearing a window of purchase. The technique used for this type of consumer segmentation is semantic analysis on message content and intent.
- Demographic & Psychographic. Social conversations take place across hundreds of thousands of blogs, boards and, of course, social networks. By constructing ‘panels’ of specific sites, you can isolate social media discussions to a particular demographic or niche group. This approach lends itself well to segmentation by age, ethnicity, household income and similar demographic segments. If you want to understand Hispanic moms for example, you might construct a panel that includes the top social sites that cater specifically to the segment. Analyzing conversations for Hispanic moms reveals that many women are concerned with and seek advice on raising bilingual children and on staying true to their Hispanic culture.
It also works well for psychographic dimensions. A great example is looking at how Apple loyalists perceived the camera feature in the iPhone 4s. Their social discussions – gleaned from Apple-loyalist sites – indicate an intent to have the phone replace their traditional cameras. This discussion is different from the general discussion about the phone’s camera feature across all other online and social sites.
- Geographic. Social networks are increasingly going mobile. As the majority of social network interactions emanate from a mobile phone or tablet, it is possible to segment the audience and messages by geography. This can have immediate operational benefits. For example, customers are increasingly expressing their dissatisfaction with customer service on Twitter (e.g., banks, cable companies, retailers). In addition to responding to these social expressions, companies can now aggregate the messages by geography to determine if there are specific causes of poor service levels that had not been identified through traditional customer service feedback.
Have you used social to enhance your consumer segmentation techniques? We look forward to hearing from you.
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