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Why traditional segmentation alone doesnt work in the digital age

 
August 12, 2016

It used to be enough to define target audiences by age, gender, location, income and other demographic parameters. Today, however, traditional segmentation alone no longer works.

My son and I, for example, both love our iPhones and many of the same apps. My daughter and I both wear the same Nike running shoes and shop for the same kind of exercise gear on Amazon. While in some areas our interests and buying behaviors are the same, there are also many instances where they differ greatly.

And were not unique. Digital transformation has blurred boundaries and given consumers power to shape their own identities based on their interestsinterests not confined to people of the same age and income groups. And, as new products, services and channels emerge, those interests and preferences change.

So, how do brands gain a deeper understanding of each and every customer in order to deliver personalized, relevant experiences in a world where boundaries are blurring and traditional segmentation falls short?

Buyer personas offer a better approach to segmentation in todays constantly evolving digital age. They contain traditional segmentation, but they also include insights into consumers buying behavior, motivations and interests. Here are a few things that make buyer personas different. They are:

  • Based on insights from real customers and prospects including demographic, psychographic, motivational, behavioral and other qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Built for one attribute at a time. Attributes can then be combined with other attributes to describe unique individuals. For example, while I do share some buyer persona attributes with my son and daughter, we each have our own set of unique attributes that can be changed and combined in different ways to create more accurate buyer personas for each of us. This provides brands with insights into what drives each of us to make a purchase in our unique buyer journeys.
  • Agile, scalable and easy to update which is critical in the world of digital disruption where new products, services, competitors and channels are surfacing on an almost daily basis.
  • Uniquely suited to multi-channel marketing with the flexibility to map relevant communications and offers to customers and prospects across their connected customer journeys.

Personas can help you gain a deeper understanding customer buying behavior and motivations so you can better address their current and future needs. They can help you deliver relevant, personalized offers and experiences to targeted customers to enrich their customer experiences and build deeper brand loyalty.

Kathleen Holm is Marketing Director of the TCS Digital Software & Solutions (DS&S) Group. She has more than 25 years of experience marketing technology software and services to enterprises worldwide. She leverages her extensive background in enterprise software technology to help organizations develop effective marketing strategies, create targeted messaging and positioning, and implement effective go-to-market plans to improve corporate performance. Prior to joining TCS, Kathleen was a Senior Principal of technical product marketing for Oracle Fusion Middleware where she was responsible for defining the marketing strategy based on industry maturity and customer trends. She also held positions at IBM including Market Manager for WebSphere Developer Programs, Market Manager for Tivoli Integrated Service Management and Tivoli Brand Specialist. Prior to joining IBM, Kathleen worked with four high-tech startups.