Segmentation is the wrong tool for customer engagement!

Marketers need to be better at knowing when to use the right tool for the right job


For decades marketers have used segmentation as a smart way to target customers with the right value proposition. This made sense as the primary means of engaging customers a decade or more ago for print, radio and television marketing. But as we continue in this digital age, applying segmentation as your targeting tool to an interactive, two-way medium is using the wrong tool for the job.

The new digital customer has high expectations for the brands they select to engage with. When these expectations are not met, they decide to move to a different brand or retailer.

We can all see this in our own behaviors as consumers. When shopping on sites or seeing advertising, segment oriented marketing more usually looks ham-fisted and awkward. It’s what you’d expect from a medium that really is based on averages and not on the individual.

And exactly because it is an average it misses the individual more often than it hits the individual.

Stop using segmentations tools. You need something more powerful.

Segmentation is not personalization

Many technology companies market their segment-oriented products as personalization. This is an abuse of the term. Personalization is a one-to-one experience. It is built around the individual, not a segment and not an average.

As digital marketers, we need to stop trying to use segmentation in our direct interactive experiences with customers. This is particularly true in e-commerce. It damages the brand, fails more often than it succeeds, and misses a huge opportunity for revenue increases.

If you create a truly personalized experience, the new digital consumer will reward you with return traffic, high engagement, increased conversion, and greater brand loyalty.

What are you waiting for?

For a head start, take a read of our latest Industry Analysis piece:

Segmentation is not Personalization; Don’t be Fooled

Cameron Conaway

Cameron is the Director of Content at Reflektion. His work as a journalist and content marketer has appeared in Forbes, Newsweek, and The Guardian, among other outlets. Connect with him here on LinkedIn and on Twitter @CameronConaway.