Organizations need tools for listening.
Employees throughout the company must understand how customers think and feel.
While marketing segmentation distinguishes people according to their buying behaviors, mindset segmentation identifies people based on their emotional desires and expectations. These psychological personas or archetypes reveal how customers perceive a company’s brand; whether their values are reflected in the company’s values; and how the company’s products fulfill their personal needs for self-esteem or security.
Simply put, there’s more to customers than their willingness to purchase products. When employees see the human side of customers, they can develop communications and services that sustain customers’ trust.
Further, mindset segmentation produces customer identities that span silos and promote interdepartmental collaboration through a shared psychological understanding of customers. Employees throughout an organization learn to communicate in a way that makes customers feel understood.
The key to good decision-making is not knowledge. It is understanding.
We are swimming in the former and desperately lacking in the latter.
In most companies, very few people ever come face-to-face with a customer. However, these same employees make decisions daily about how to meet customer needs through product development, service enhancements, and communications. To align an organization around customers, employees throughout the company must know and understand how customers think and feel.
During the era of mass production, which characterized much of the 20th century, marketing segmentation created tremendous value for manufacturers. As companies produced ever greater quantities of their products, they sought ways to attract customers with greater precision. Thus segmentation and the processes that enabled businesses to systematize, measure, and improve brand marketing performance became central to marketing strategy.
While these practices remain important for brand marketing teams, they do not help communicators connect with customers on a human and emotional level. To develop rapport with customers, communicators need to understand customers as people, not just consumers.
Mindset segmentation illuminates the heart and mind of a customer. Communicators then craft messages that are rooted in understanding, as if derived from a personal conversation. It is a process of building rapport, which begins with listening; it is not a process of telling or showing.
Most importantly during a crisis, there simply isn’t time to conduct focus groups or polls to gauge customer sentiment. Agility is essential in a crisis and guesswork is exceptionally dangerous. Therefore, learning about customers must occur during periods of relative stability so that the company can sustain their trust when it matters most.
|Mindset Segmentation||Marketing Segmentation|
|View customers through the
lens of their own emotions
|View customers through the lens of
a company’s products and services
|Personality profile||Buying profile|
|Rational and emotional data||Largely rational data|
|Three-dimensional Customer –>
Social Values –> Product
|Two-dimensional Customer –> Product|
Myths About Marketing Segmentation
Myth #1: Segments enable companies to understand the full market picture.
Marketing segments are identified by their likelihood to purchase the company’s current suite of products and services based on rational data points that do not change over time.
The only valuable customer archetype is one that evolves. Marketing segmentation does not.
Myth #2: Segmentation helps companies understand their customers.
Marketing segments help companies sell products to customers, not understand them. The data collected in marketing segmentation is designed around a finite goal: marketing.
Myth #3: Marketing segmentation helps companies build relationships with customers.
Relationship selling begins with understanding a person’s fears and reservations. Sales people have always understood this.
“People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.” – Zig Ziglar
Marketing segmentation is about targeting customers. Sales is a process of gaining people’s trust. Only mindset segmentation can truly support the sales process.
Myth #4: Marketing segmentation can support business’s needs in 2015 as well as it did in 1985.
In 1985, customers valued consumption. In 2015, customers value experience and fulfillment.