A glorious perspective on why Micro-segmentation is worth a shot for your next business plan

What constitutes a highly effective marketing strategy? How can your organization possibly outperform the current jinx of stuck revenues?  As marketers, we often tend to go back to the very basics of our marketing fundamentals and try to start over again specially at the planning stage to get the answers of these questions that the management inevitably asks us in the board room. We are, in such circumstances and situations, intrigued to answer the most basic questions in the light of our theoretical knowledge that we had acquired years ago in order to just get a perspective of whether we are going in the right direction or possibly straying away from the objective.

What exactly could be a one-size-fit-all strategy or more precisely, a tool to reach the strategy and further keep your marketing efforts highly targeted?

We are talking about –Micro-segmentation of your existing, potential and even non-existent customers- an advanced form of market segmentation that disintegrates the broad customer group into smaller, homogeneous groups which is easy to tap and understood by the marketers.

Such Micro-segmentation of your target consumers would surely be an eye-opener for first timer marketers and reinforcing for those repeating it all over again. Theoretically speaking, micro-segmentation is further division of your market segmentation into extremely small and homogeneous customer groups thereby identifying their common traits, behaviors and consumption trends. I am not talking about the four broad segmentations that were taught a in the classrooms while we were in school namely, geographic, demographic, psychographic & behavioral. This is a much advanced version of targeting our customers effectively in the current age of changing market and business environment.

Today’s consumer is more evolved and complex. Tapping your consumer could be a hard task and quite frankly, at times, a run for your money. Today, these four segmentations could be just a broader, even bifurcation of the consumer. There are obviously further disintegrated markets, far more effective and astoundingly efficient that are waiting to be tapped. A closer look at such groups, if done efficiently, may result in an altogether new business proposition and ideas. There are micro-growth pockets of highly potential consumers waiting to be explored both by entrepreneurs and the marketers today while the bigger companies are busy targeting masses.

A point we have to keep in mind while closing on these groups for further targeting is that unless these groups are present in physical form and could be potentially brought together through any effort of your organization or any activity, there won’t be much of a sense left in just identifying them.

Where to start from?

In the beginning of your next marketing planning activity, sit down together with your product development and customer management team and try to figure out the profile of those who buy your products. If you engage a market research firm for this, well and good. Otherwise, it would be a good idea to follow the kind of customers who have already been buying your products and/or services and try to figure out a pattern in there beyond their geographical or demographic distinctions. I am assured that a marketer’s highest achievement lies in – figuring out a pattern in almost everything and anticipating future activities. Coming back to the topic of discussion, a good idea is to look at the customer grievances book which you tend to hide from the management all the time. Consumers can also be clubbed on their dissatisfaction level. In fact, these customers will be the one who will encourage and inspire you to evolve further and devise new features, product specifications, new services and much more for a greater consumption experience. For example, an eCommerce start-up was facing it extremely difficult to go to the next level and rise the revenues which were stuck since past 2 months. The marketing team was called upon and was asked to revisit the strategy. After a month long research, it was concluded that the ratio of repeat and new customers was changing. Repeat customers were dropping. After a thorough look into the matter, it was discovered that since the customer management team was changed completely, they were unable to form a new rapport with the existing customers and hence, failed to give that satisfying experience to the long-lasting customers. Some of the most covered and never to be exposed problems are often just a call away to your dissatisfied customers.

So, talking again about micro-segmentation, the second step after the identification of traits is to club together similar traits and form such micro-targets. For say- unemployed online youth. Such set of customers have common traits, could be communicated a message to instigate response, can be reached out through a platform and if positioned properly by the company, could be successfully tapped and thus, be created as brand advocates.

A tip which must be repeated here is that identification is  excellent, but before you finalize on the micro-segment, always consider the three Ws of such groups- Where, Why and What. This will allow you to stick to only realistic and workable group targeting.

Marketers are often carried away in the entire process and tend to go a little way too far in doing this experimentation and are often observed to come to a non-existent conclusion if failed to targeted realistic, identifiable and achievable micro-groups.

Just to give your imagination a wing, there are consumer groups like drug-addicts, people who stammer, gay population and animal lovers.

Remember that you cannot go ahead and bet your money on every group that you identify in the initial planning process. You will need to do a comparative analysis of the viability of such groups through different measures like the population within each group, overlaps, relevance to business, sensitivity of the culture of different countries and even cities, channels to reach-out to these groups, your budgets and resultant anticipated usability.

Acting upon the identified segments

It is imperative to design and develop specific target messaging for each group that you identify and finalize.

Have a look at this ad-

And a close look on one of the comment on  it-

53,38,843 views and counting. What struck the right cord? People related instantly to the subject since this is quite a common thing that people in general witness, but nobody pays attention to this lot.

It’s all about creating something that people might instantly relate and connect with, if not the masses but atleast a niche segment from your target market. And all this research and micro-segmentation is just to make people fall for the idea so badly that they are forced to think about the simplicity of the idea and at the same time, the brilliant observation in bringing the reality of the lives of common people and thereby making their lives simpler.

Nokia 1100 was designed initially for farmers who work on fields and was given a new feature of flashlight when it was learnt that these farmers used the light of the phone for repairing their trucks and other vehicles at night. This is what I was talking about the idea of further innovations or additions of features when you are clear on the category of customer you are targeting.

Akash tablet was launched for school children and hence, when you keep it in the light of this customer segment, it makes perfect sense to not compare an Akash tablet with an Apple or a Samsung tablet since the markets are completely different.

The agenda of putting up a topic like micro segmentation forward is to propel the idea of re-connecting attempts with your customers and how you as marketers could possibly refocus on those niche groups that are often generalized and might need a little more attention to be targeted better and in order to come up with a brilliant marketing campaign in the end. While segmentation is the beginning point, devising marketing campaigns basis these groups is the end objective that is intended to be achieved. And everything in between is what will decide the efficiency of your planning and execution bit.