How to Segment Your Audience for Demand Generation

Demand Generation


In the first post in our series on demand generation, we talked about what demand gen is—as opposed to what people think it is—and then looked at the five aspects of a successful campaign.

Now, we’re going to cover one of those areas in detail: audience segmentation.

Knowing how to effectively manage and segment your audience and direct the right resources to the right people at the right time is the principle by which all marketing campaigns live and die. And demand generation campaigns are no exception.

At this stage, your primary goal should be to get your message in front of as many qualified people as possible, which means you’re likely casting a wider net than with a demand capture campaign. But that doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore personalization.

Considering specific parameters, like job title, industry, and location, and knowing the criteria for your ideal customer profile are vital to your success.

Why is audience segmentation important?

As marketers, we’re competing in an environment where prospects are exposed to more content through more channels than ever before. Their phones and computers never stop pinging, which means we all need to find a way to stand out among the noise.

And this applies to everyone. It doesn’t matter how niche your audience is. There will always be other businesses—as well as friends, family members, and the latest Netflix shows—competing for space in their heads.

This is part of the reason organic reach is no longer as effective as it once was. It’s also why good segmentation and genuine personalization offer such a strong advantage. They can be the difference between mediocre content and outstanding content that actually breaks through and speaks to your audience.

Data is king

Properly targeted content is now a must-have, not a nice-to-have. But getting personalization right requires one thing above all else: a firm grasp of your data.

Without good, current data, every part of your demand generation campaign will be a virtual stab in the dark.

But if your data is up to date, you can create content that is truly relevant and personalized. And that means the chances of it resonating with your audience are far higher.

With marketers increasingly under pressure to show ROI on every dollar spent, anything that can increase those chances is well worth the investment.

Five tips for effective audience segmentation

1. Define the best criteria

Of course, there’s no such thing as the “best” criteria. Only the criteria that’s best for you.

For many B2B companies, segmenting with parameters like title, industry, and role is the extent of their efforts. But that will only get you so far. You can go much deeper than that.

To make sure you’re targeting the right people at the right time, ask yourself some key questions:

  • Is your offering relevant to them?
  • How will it help them do their jobs better?
  • What are they under pressure to achieve?
  • How can you help them achieve it?
  • Are they at the right stage of the buying cycle?
  • Do you need to educate them further?

Once you have answers, you may find that your strategy changes. Why target the busy executive who won’t have time to read your content when you can target the person tasked with researching technology and reporting to them?

2. Know your platforms

Today, marketing means interacting with prospects on lots of platforms and through lots of channels—each with different rules and parameters.

When planning a marketing campaign, evaluate which channels will most effectively reach the right audience segment with the right messaging.

For instance, because executives receive so many emails, they’re less likely to read messages from unknown sources. But they often find useful reports and information while scrolling through their social media feed before a meeting.

To deliver the most impactful campaigns, make sure your team knows these platforms inside out and understands the best way spread your content on them.

3. Treat data as your marketing lifeblood

We’ve already touched on the importance of having detailed, relevant, up-to-date data.

But information changes quickly. In fact, according to research by MarketingSherpa, databases naturally degrade by about 22.5% each year.

So, pay close attention to your data hygiene. It can increase your marketing effectiveness exponentially.

This may require a paradigm shift in your organization. Many companies operate today with the same basic data strategy they used when CRMs first launched. That certainly won’t provide you with a competitive advantage so you may need to lead a data overhaul.

4. Don’t stop at demand gen

You should continue your targeting well past the demand generation stage. And don’t worry—it gets easier over time.

Once a prospect begins to engage with your content, you will get an increasingly clearer picture of what they’re interested in (as long as you’re tracking your data effectively).

Use this information to continue to fuel your lead nurturing efforts by personalizing and tailoring content and messaging for your prospects throughout the funnel.

5. Learn from successes—and failures

When demand generation campaigns fail, it’s usually because their strategies were based on bad data or because their outcomes weren’t properly measured.

So, measure everything. Make sure you know what worked and what didn’t. And use repeatable processes to ensure your segmentation gets more successful every time.

Want to learn more? Check out our introduction to demand generation webinar.

Watch it now
Blog CTA 5.15.19