I recently attended an American Marketing Association panel discussion titled “How will consumers be different in 2020.” The panel was comprised of thought leaders from major brands such as Coke, Georgia Pacific, Chick-fil-A, and IBM.
One of the panelists made the assertion that today “Consumers are segmenting businesses!”
At first I thought, did I hear that right?
Then, it occurred to me that he was exactly right. Marketers have been segmenting prospects for years by demographics such as income, education level and number of family members. The point of this exercise is to conduct more productive marketing campaigns by targeting the most likely buyers of goods and services.
Today, the tools for reverse segmentation (consumers segmenting businesses) are available to consumers. Simply put, opting-out of programs that are of no interest to a consumer or opting-in to one that is of interest, is segmenting the businesses that consumers will allow to target them.
Over-communication of businesses to consumers with irrelevant messages is what led us down this road. It is a simple act of self-defense. No one can possibly pay attention to all the messages that they receive in all various distribution channels, so they turn off the irrelevant messages and turn on the relevant ones.
So, what does this mean to you as a marketer?
You need to be sure that you give prospects and customers the ability to segment your business at a granular level. For example, if you have three unique brands or product lines, give consumers the ability to opt-out or opt-in to each one individually. That way, if they have no interest in one product line (such as investment services from a bank) they won’t shut down your ability to market other services which may be of interest (such as home loans).
For consumers who choose to opt-in, the ability to specify exactly what they are interested in gives them the peace of mind that you will send only relevant communications. And, that will lead to stronger customer engagement, which in turn leads to 2 to 3 times greater lifetime value of the customer.