Beyond personas: strategically embed segmentation insights for lasting impact
Is your segmentation work gathering dust on the shelf? Discover our approach to embed segmentation insights across your organization and drive impact.
30 November 2023
4 min read
Segmentation work is a great gateway into better customer understanding. And while developing such frameworks is important, that is just half the battle. How will you ensure that the insights gained are truly driving strategy? There are many ways we can activate on the knowledge gained throughout a segmentation piece – and each way could be ‘right’ for different reasons. The power lies in prioritising and leveraging those insights that will drive the greatest impact for your internal and external stakeholders. In this blog, we will share how organisations can lean into the to elevate their segmentation story and drive impact through engaging with the right stakeholders.
From immersion to commitment: crafting a tailored segmentation story
Different segmentation work will require different activation content. It’s about tailoring the approach to fit the business needs. We use our activation spectrum as a guiding light where activating a segmentation piece can go from educating stakeholders while leaving any action open for interpretation, to sharing insights in a more directive way, focused on building commitment and defining concrete next steps.
When a project falls on the left side of the spectrum, we package the content in a story that’s much more educational in nature. Think about explaining the methodology, providing an in-depth overview of all segments, and bringing them to life. For instance, by creating immersion stations with infographics, video snippets, and artefacts representing each segment. The goal is to educate and inspire the audience, not necessarily define concrete next action points. This is also what we did for a pizza chain that needed its segmentation insights to serve as a reference point for future marketing decision-making. To truly bring their customers to life, we created engaging playbooks detailing customer preferences, needs, wishes and how the brand best connects with them. Accompanied by infographics and videos, we truly gave a human voice to the persona.
On the right side of the spectrum, segmentation insights are shared in a much more directive way, focused on next steps and specific action. Instead of delving into all segments in-depth, we provide a high-level overview and use strategic frameworks such to prioritise actions. With this approach, we make the output more actionable and increase belief in segmentation work as a powerful tool to accomplish organizational goals. Typically, we package the story in a working session where we prioritise which segment(s) to focus on, decide on use cases (when, why, how to use the segmentation insights), and establish clear commitments (‘I will go after segment X, because …’) to drive action. An example of applying such a directive, focused approach is the work we did for one of our clients around a teen segmentation. They needed a story to convince leadership of the organization’s depth and breadth of teen knowledge, as well as opportunity areas. Because we knew that the key stakeholders were not previously ‘bought into’ the importance of the teen segment, we conducted immersion workshops to bring the teen lifestyle to life. But the business needs clearly extended beyond education. After these immersions we co-created the action plan with the stakeholders. This allowed them to feel in control of deciding their actions and laying out a roadmap for the future.
Engaging stakeholders: strategies to drive action
But the activation journey doesn’t end with packaging segmentation insights according to the needs of the audience. The next step is all about engaging that audience – internal and external stakeholders – around the relevant segments for their brand or category. Let’s look at the six strategies we put forward to do just that.
- Embed the segmentation into existing systems: Challenge yourself to identify existing systems or open or ongoing projects where your segmentation insights can be embedded into – creating immediate impact on current work. For instance, project owners might need to link a core segment to their project when registering it in the system.
- Get high-level backing: Obtain wide-spread buy-in by prioritizing the support from leadership and key stakeholders. Once these stakeholders recognise its value, it’s crucial to disseminate that understanding among the teams directly touched by the segmentation. Think about inviting the leadership team to send out notes or be present in meetings where they can stress the value and importance of the segments. Likewise, involve internal stakeholders – those that will use the segmentation pieces – early on in the process so that they can hear the voice of the leadership team and get involved in gut checking priorities and brainstorming about solutions.
- Reframe the conversation: Evolve the dialogue surrounding segmentation from its face value to a strategic framework – highlighting the impact that the insights bring to the organization. Segmentation work extends beyond mere personas; make sure everyone sees that. An example of how we do this, is by layering the segmentation with other organizational frameworks, making the work more strategic and focused, facilitating prioritization of segments.
- Welcome teamwork: Share the ‘selling story’ behind the segmentation’s value with teams unfamiliar with the insights. You can bring other teams on board by hosting a working session, merging consumer, market and business goals to align and ensure you prioritise the right actions.
- Expand external traction: Showcase externally the value of proprietary data and its potential benefits for external partners. Many partners will have their own segmentation insights, so explore how your insights align with theirs or consider adapting to fit their segmentation framework.
- Commitment to long-term sharing: Shareholders require multiple communications over time about the segmentation. These could be reminders of its existence, success stories to build credibility and updates with feedback or new developments to keep the momentum going.
You’re investing the time and resources necessary into your segmentation work – but if you’re not investing in activation, your investment is not reaching its full potential. By marrying segmentation with an activation strategy, organizations are able to harness the power of meaningful insights to drive human-centred growth.
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