The new approach to personas, 'micro-segments'

Author: Caroline Schmid | Categories: Digital Marketing, Customer Acquisition, Financial Services, Online Marketing, B2B Online Excellence

If you're a credit union marketer and you don’t use personas yet, it’s time to start. Personas are characters that define the complete profile of a customer. They are based on a buyer’s behavior and needs, rather than traditional demographic information like gender and age. It is likely you’ll have more than one target persona, and defining them will help you optimize the buying journey for your ideal customers.

The linear customer persona process is an excellent way to start building and understanding your customer personas as a part of the overall customer experience. Given there were rapid changes in the marketplace, some marketers had moved from this model to leveraging a new way of dynamically segmenting the same set of customers into small micro-segments. This process uses a similar approach with leveraging customer data, but it also adds predictive modeling to identify key interaction points and the best-fit approach for each customer. Membership in micro-segments is calculated for every customer daily, or even in real-time. 

Customer Acquisition

Source: Marketing Sherpa

Criteria for micro-segments may include combinations of factors, such as longevity (length of time customer is in the database), specific website/app activities/behavior, spending patterns, campaign history, customer lifetime value and churn. The intention is that the customer will receive most relevant and appealing messages/offers at that particular point in her journey.

This approach according to Pini Yakuel, founder and CEO of Optimove, a provider of automated retention marketing services for customer-centric businesses in “Managing Infinite Customer Journeys” is:

•    Dynamic and adaptive - Customers are treated based on the micro-segments in which they are presently located, they continuously adapt to changes in behavior.

•    Easy to scale and evolve – By simply adding more and more micro-segments and the most effective communications for each, the number and sophistication of the customer journeys handled can increase rapidly, even exponentially, without having to re-engineer anything.

•    Greater customer coverage – Focusing on customer micro-segments allow the marketers to easily cover hundreds of unique customer segments/events/scenarios.

•    Higher-volume customer marketing – Because no customer is left behind, this approach can easily blast relevant messaging to every customer, at every point in the journey. There is no need to limit treatments to particular junctions on particular pre-planned paths.

The benefit is that there is no static journey, the marketer needs only to consider and address a customer’s “behavioral DNA” at any point in time with no thought to how the customer reached that point.

This, in combination with predictive analytics to sending offers to customers based on what it appears they are going to do/want/buy, is driving credit unions closer to one-to-one digital marketing.