Data segmentation is dead; Long live human instinct marketing

Data segmentation is dead; Long live human instinct marketing

Good old fashioned data profiling and segmentation is still touted by some as the panacea. You can gather lots of lifestyle information on someone, link it to a product purchase, average and index it all out and hey presto you get a picture of who’s going to be a sure fire bet to buy your product in volumes. Great, but riddled with flaws.

Through the mass of claimed interests and behaviour it may give you an idea of what conversation topics are most likely to go down well if you ever invited your customers home for dinner. But from a marketing perspective you’ll be missing out. You will lack relevancy and immediacy. And the minute you step outside of any lifestyle data that is not directly linked to a category and go fishing for others to join your clan just because they share a few characteristics with people who already subscribe to you, the chances are that your attempts will fall flat.

Why? Quite simply because by the time you get to any meaningful pattern of coupled up shared interests and shared brand behaviour to deliver a prediction of future intent, then the volume is so low as to render mass marketing diluted beyond useful levels, and highly targeted attempts both expensive and time intensive. Software developments are of course lending improvements to higher levels of small batch targeting but let’s not forget the instincts that data can sometimes be guilty of suppressing. Human instincts, emotional instincts and reactionary instincts.

This is the pool where you need to be seeking out the pointers for your marketing ideas. A place where the now out dated “data profile” has never come close to occupying. For example, my motivation as a consumer, to choose a brand of tea is unlikely to be driven by my enjoyment of ‘cycling holidays’. Rather it will be the impact that its taste has on my taste buds and mood, the occasion that it represents for me, the associations of spirit that I conjure with the brand when I see the name. It will also be further motivated by the time or moment when I feel most in the mood or affected by the desire for tea. A random and assumed association between lifestyle pursuits as a purchase driver is not a goer. And the resulting segmentation, may be neat but ultimately it will mislead and confuse.

This new form of human instinct data may be harder to acquire but it is out there – in social, across digital platforms where response and reaction are now recorded and evidenced for all who choose to look, listen and learn. Rapid response to evolving real time human trends, actions and requests is what is needed. Time and resources wasted on meaningless segmentation driven by irrelevant and dated data could be redeployed so much more effectively.

It just needs a conversational approach. Something we at Spinnaker pride ourselves on.

About The Author

Robert Goldsmith

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