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Segmenting for a more engaged audience

Most people have experienced true personalisation in marketing nowadays, whether it’s Spotify telling you what music you’ve listened to most, or Ocado suggesting a new variant on a grocery product you’ve bought frequently in the past. This is true personalisation, not adding some personal details to a mass mailer.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been involved in a local election campaign for an independent candidate. Without the political parties’ baggage of ‘the way we do things’ weighing us down, I’m rather proud of what we’ve been able to achieve. To the political parties, personalisation means mail-merging a name and address into a one-size-fits-all letter. They still think that’s quite clever.

But for many recipients, this has the opposite effect of the one intended. As a voter, I don’t mind getting an identical leaflet to everyone else discussing issues which turn out to be irrelevant to me. That’s going to happen. I do however get quite irritated by one which addresses me personally and then talks about irrelevant topics.

Now, we can’t produce an individual leaflet for every voter, but we can segment them down into groups with different concerns. An ideal one is issues related to their street. The ‘personalisation’ here is not to do with their name, but their location. Everyone in the street gets the same leaflet, but it’s about their street, and it’s far more effective than a mail-merged leaflet featuring their name which talks about the rest of the town.

The marketing lesson is that all of our customer bases can be subdivided into groups which can be addressed specifically with relevant material. If we do this consistently, we’re going to get a much more engaged audience.