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Knowing, segmenting and talking to your audience in their language, improves engagement

Information overload increases by the day, so how do organisations become smarter in order to engage with their stakeholders such as customers, prospective customers, users of a public service, employees…

Email boxes are now crammed packed with notifications of the latest offers, on-demand TV allows viewers to skip past ad breaks, we have internet streamed music with preference built play lists with no ad interruptions, there are text message notifications to overcome the issue of more and more people not opening their mail, we have internet adverts that follow you around online …. those who are responsible for engagement have a difficult task at hand to understand which channels and what messages are right to yield the desired results.

A one size fits all approach didn’t work as effectively as a targeted communication campaign 10 years ago, so now with all of the rapid and major changes in how we communicate, this approach has very little impact.

Segmentation is more important than ever and is applied and used by large retailers extremely effectively due to most transactions taking  place online and data collected as part of the process at point of sales –  this is known as ‘big data’.

It’s not all about demographics either.   We can’t assume all those 65 plus have the same preferences e.g. silver surfers Vs. traditionalists. There is huge diversity within demographic groups now and without behavioural segmentation to give a true understanding of what makes your audience tick, your communication will likely fall on deaf ears.

Getting our hands on this data can be extremely difficult.  If your services aren’t all about online purchasing and point of sales, this makes it even trickier.  It’s not uncommon for organisations particularly within the utility, public sector, healthcare, housing and education sectors to have collated large databases of various stakeholders including customers, but have great difficulty in segmenting it to communicate more effectively in order to improve engagement.

Market research is fundamental in understanding key groups and to start the process of an effective segmentation strategy  based on behaviours and preferences, allowing us to talk the same language with the right benefit messages using the right channels to our intended audience.

Our team work with a range of organisations across sectors, particularly where segmentation isn’t as straight forward. Our mix of research, marketing and data specialists will build a programme of research and segmentation strategies to help your business become more effective and smarter in engaging with stakeholders.

We have produced an infographic for anyone thinking about how they can better understand their audience:

Segmentation infographic

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The importance of ‘in the moment’

We live in a society of instant gratification. Gone are the days when we were willing to wait for almost anything. We are actually serving ourselves in supermarkets to avoid queues, checking ourselves into flights and paying for same day delivery from online retailers. Amazon is even developing drones to enable one hour delivery. The drone will literally collect your product from the warehouse and fly it to your home without the need for any human intervention; this is space age stuff!

The need for speed extends to the marketing world too, with marketers realising that although TV advertising can raise awareness and build brand affinity, it doesn’t necessarily drive sales and thus an entirely different approach is required.

Leaders in the industry are therefore investing in near field technology, enabling the transmission of marketing messages as and when a customer passes a small transmitter. Linger for five minutes in the TV section of Argos with the relevant app installed on your smartphone and you may receive a 10% discount to give you the nudge you need to make your purchase – very powerful in driving sales!

Immediacy in the research industry is another challenge. We all know the sooner we speak to a customer about their experience the more accurate their recall will be. Think about the last time you visited the supermarket; unless you slipped on a banana skin in the fruit and veg aisle or conversely were wowed by the girl on the checkout who took the time to organise your shopping by food type for you, there is probably very little you can remember. Capturing in the moment feedback is therefore increasing in importance as our lives become busier and our landscapes more cluttered with information overload.

There have been some efforts to capture in the moment feedback, traditionally this has been via exit surveying. I was in The Carphone Warehouse last week and there was a lovely lady standing at the door completing surveys with customers as they left. Unfortunately she had been stood there all day and only a handful of customers had walked through the door and thus the store’s investment in placing her there seemed altogether a waste of time. This was coupled with the fact the store’s staff, who were being evaluated, were in earshot of where she was stood meaning honest and open feedback around areas for improvement could have been very much inhibited!

You will also notice now that whenever you close a transaction a survey will be triggered and sent to you immediately. I completed a remortgage last week and instantly received an online satisfaction survey from my old mortgage provider, my new mortgage provider and the solicitor involved in the transaction! I didn’t complete any of them. They were all too long and I felt bombarded when they arrived in my inbox at the same time.

All of this indicates that there is a clear need to get much smarter about collecting in the moment feedback in the research industry. This is something we have been working on and will be making an announcement very soon outlining how new technology can overcome these challenges…