Marketing is a lot like fishing. Hopefully prospective customers have a more positive experience than a captured trout. But similarities certainly exist between angling for fish and angling for leads:

  • You identify your target.
  • You prepare your tools.
  • You scope out your environment.
  • You bait your hook.
  • And finally, you wait for the fish to start biting

Of course, some marketers prefer to do their fishing a bit differently. Instead of baiting a hook to catch a specific kind of fish, they rely on nets. By casting a wide net over a large area of water, they’re able to drag a much larger selection of possible leads back onto the boat.

Unfortunately, along with the valuable prospects that are likely to convert, these marketers also spend their energy dragging in plenty of less-interested buyers as well. Once the good leads have been separated out from all the rest, marketers may find that they’re expending a lot of effort for very little reward. After all, there are a lot of fish in the sea, but most of them aren’t the prize catch.

A wide net isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but to really ensure that you’re getting the most out of your marketing efforts, you need to target your customers more specifically. For that, you need to consider your approach to market segmentation.


What is market segmentation?

Market segmentation is a technique used to enable a business to better target its products or services to the right customer. It’s the marketing equivalent of fly fishing — you gather data to the point where you know exactly what kind of campaign your target lead is going to be most interested in.

To do this, you must identify the specific needs and wants of customer groups and use those insights to provide products and services that meet those customer needs. Used well, market segmentation makes it possible for you to market the right products to the right audience, no matter who that audience may be.

Of course, if you trade the imprecise wide range of the net approach for a highly targeted process that only reaches a single lead, then you’re not much better off. Therefore, the key to effective market segmentation is to reach a large number of prospects, and to have each prospect feel as though they are being addressed personally. That way, you get the range of the net with the precision of the hook. To do that, you need the right tools.


Advanced tools make effective market segmentation a reality

Providing 1-to-1 marketing journeys for each and every qualified lead may seem like an exercise in futility, but the truth is that it’s not only possible, it’s quickly becoming expected.

According to the fourth annual “State of Marketing” report, 60% of B2B marketers say they’ve been more focused on improving audience segmentation and personas over the past 18 months. Additionally, 52% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t make an effort to personalize its communications to them.

The solution, then, is to rely on advanced CRM-enhanced technology to capture, analyze, and recall essential customer data. With that data as part of the marketing tackle box, and with each individual piece of contact information kept organized and available on a reliable data platform, marketers can give leads the personal attention they deserve, and do so across as wide an audience as necessary.

Here are some of the specific features that make this possible:

  • Profile and behavioral targeting: Before you can set your leads on a personalized marketing journey, you need to know who those leads really are. Profile and behavioral targeting allows you not only to define and identify your key demographics, but also to factor in relevant personal data — including preferences, purchase history, and even web-browsing activity. You can then focus on building a marketing campaign that addresses the unique needs of every customer.
  • Easy-to-use segmentation tools: Building effective segmented marketing campaigns can be a daunting task, which is why intuitive segmentation tools are so vital. Segmentation tools can give you a detailed overview of your entire audience at a glance, and then allow you to drag and drop individual elements to create segmented groups sharing common factors. These tools allow you to quickly filter your data down into something more accessible.
  • Omni-channel marketing options: New technology has created an ever-expanding ocean of media channels, and chances are your target audience uses them all. As such, you need segmentation tools that are likewise capable of operating across those channels. From email and mobile to web and social — wherever your clients are, you need to be able to establish your marketing presence, and seamlessly share data across every channel as you track their marketing journey.
  • Seamless integration: There’s no such thing as a “marketing only” client. As you define and segment your target audience, that information needs to be available in real time across every department, for a 360-degree view of the customer across the entire business. Sales teams need to understand the best way help each lead through the pipeline. Service teams need to be able to address customer issues quickly, directly, and knowledgeably. A cloud-based segmentation tool designed to integrate with existing processes gives every department the advantage of having the right data, at the moment it’s needed.

Segment your marketing net

There may always be commonalities between marketing and fishing. However, while fishermen need to make the choice between the precision of the baited hook and the wide range of the net, marketers get to enjoy the advantages of both. With the help of cloud-based, CRM-enhanced marketing platforms, marketers can segment their audience based on reliable, actionable data insights, and then employ advanced automation technologies to give every audience member a hyperpersonalized marketing experience.

Market segmentation gives you the power to market to all of the fish in the sea, and to do so in a way that is targeted, precise, and effective. Check out Salesforce Marketing Cloud today and see for yourself how effective segmented marketing can be.