Getting to a Segment of One

May 29, 2012 Chris Miller

I think it’s clear to most marketers that there is a need to change the conversation with customers – to make it more compelling, more personal, more relevant –  so the bigger challenge — the elephant in the road — in getting to a segment-of-one seems to be the “how”, not the “whether” or “why”.  And it’s a technology problem.  Yes, people and process are still part of the mix, but without an enabling technology or platform, getting to a “segment of one” is just a pipe dream fraught with frustration and spreadsheets!

Just to lay it out more clearly, the volume of change and variation required to send something that is truly personalized and targeted can be daunting.  For example, something as simple as a legal disclaimer, perhaps required by law and varying by state, would mean 50 base ‘templates’ are required, even before you did any targeted messaging that would actually be read by a customer.

The number of templates might expand again, simply based on the types of relationship you have with your customers. For examples: Do they own car or auto insurance? Are they a gold or platinum card holders? Or do they have individual coverage or family coverage? And to what programs?  Those 50 templates now expand by the number of larger segments of customer types you have. And you still haven’t said anything meaningful!

Now, take a stab at some sub-segments – perhaps ownership of a certain make of car, or health condition, or volume of points in an  award’s program .  You’ll find yourself spawning additional templates now for each of those sub-segments.  And if  you’re trying to drive effectiveness through improved communication, you’ll need to go beyond just the core segments and drive to micro-segments of ownership, activity, behavior, so your volumes of variation will multiply (and that, yes, exponentially).

And that’s just managing the different document templates around a common theme, perhaps a monthly statement which you’ll repeat, well, every 30 days.  And what about all that content — who will own that, manage than, input and verify the contents, approve it?  How many jobs are you running to process all of those segments, and sub-segments and micro-segments?

Clearly, this is not a fingers-on-keyboards problem — we can’t just throw bodies it.   We need a software platform that can help both automate, streamline and manage the complexity, handle the volumes,  and let the right people own the right parts of the process, without upsetting the apple cart of today’s operations. A tall order, for sure, but one that messagepoint was designed to address.


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