Segmentation or Personalization?

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Personalization Graphic

Is that the right question to be asking or is it a case of tomayto or tomato?

Are segmentation and personalization the same thing? Can you do one and not the other?

Can You Start with Personalization?
Personalization is the hot topic of the day. Some argue that segmentation has given away to personalization. So let’s see if that’s possible. Let’s assume we are going to jump in and create a personalized program targeted at your various audience members.

New tools are unveiled routinely that promise personalization across all possible channels. Regardless of the tools you use, to begin the process of personalization you will have to prepare content for all the types of individuals that will be coming in contact with your communications.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet for creating and collecting the content for the personas or audiences you have defined. It’s a matter of asking a host of questions that help determine how each group of individuals view and use your product or service. What are the key differentiating features (kdf’s) that are most important? How unique are these different audiences in their kdf’s and the behaviors that they exhibit across all of your media touch points?

If This, Then What?
You’ll have to create an if-then scenario for each of the possible touch points a customer will encounter. For each behavioral action—email opens, views, clicks, downloads, call or request—you should be delivering content that matches the individual’s point on their own customer journey. To determine where that is, most personalization engines will combine known demographic data with the behavioral data to “score” individuals. With each unique score based on various criteria, the system will serve up the most relevant content at the right time.

See What You Did?
Congratulations, you just segmented your audiences. Not full blown segmentation with attractiveness and mapping studies, but you’ve segmented your communications. Personalization is really just the furthest point along the spectrum of communications strategy—it’s segmentation brought to it’s fullest realization.

The beauty of developing personalization campaigns is that it keeps you focused on the customer. Customer centricity is another term being bandied about a lot lately, and that’s a good thing. It ensures that marketers focus on benefits from the customer’s point of view—the benefits they value—and not the internal messages of features and specifications.