Understanding when to use segments versus customer persona depends on where you are in your marketing journey. And you want to use the right one at the right time. Otherwise, you’re fishing for bass with a spin lure (and yes, that’s apparently ineffective).
First, let’s talk about fish. If you’re trying to catch bass, you want to use those gummy plastic lures you loved to squish between your fingers as a kid. You know why? They’re designed to look like bass’ favorite prey. But it doesn’t stop with the look. You also need to know how to behave to get that fish on the line. You need to let it sink to the bottom, twitching the line a few times to mimic a fish’s movements. Everything from the type of lure, its color, weight, and material to the way you need to move it, stems from understanding which fish you want to catch, and what motivates its engagement (biting that hook).
With segmentation and customer persona, you are doing the same thing—but let’s clarify that nobody thinks of customers as on a hook; it’s just a good analogy. You offer a quality product or service that they need. You just need them to realize they need it. While often misconstrued as the same thing, segments and customer persona are different, and can both help you at different stages of your marketing journey. But how?
In the Beginning, There Was Persona
Before you’ve got copious amounts of data to weed through to create segments, you can talk to your customers and survey them to find out what kind of customer experience they’re looking for. This intel will give you an understanding of their traits, journeys, and, most importantly, their attitude toward your product or service.
This information is helpful in the beginning when you’re working with a designer to build your site—you’re tailoring your web to their ideal customer experience. And the bonus of persona is that it can reach across segments, whittling down your number of targets—fewer targets, cheaper marketing.
Marketing Gets Its Groove Back with Segmentation
Zeroing in on specific customer groups is fantastic in theory, but difficult in practice. Why? Logistics—you need a lot of data, a lot. And when you’re just getting your business going, you often don’t have it. But once you’re in the swing of things and have had time to collect information about your customers, you can funnel that information into segments to better understand how to market to each one effectively. What kind of information are we talking about? For starters, demographics, purchase behaviors and buying patterns, preferences, and firmographics or affiliations.
Great! Now you know your segments and how to market to each, but wait, all that niche marketing is expensive. Is there a cost-effective alternative? Yes, here’s where we round back to customer persona to help us out.
Both segments and customer persona have their place in your marketing arsenal, but you just need to know which one best serves your needs when. Oh, and make sure you’re not committing any of these Digital Marketing (and Dating) Don’ts.
If you’re not sure how to reach your target customers with your brand, content, or copy, reach out to Two Red Crows. We’d be happy to work with you to make sure you’re using the right lure.
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