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The six core segments.
Y’all, it’s time to get serious about better comms. When no one is in the same room, we can’t rely on body language or stealing a quick glance to communicate.
We are relegated to Brady Bunch grids, chat room antics, email, and other styles of getting our message across. This goes for talking with coworkers, your team, or even your customers.
If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s this: Most companies are terrible at email.
It’s usually because one too many people are on the thread, or it could be that someone on the team sent an irrelevant message to the entire database.
Today, email is not the only channel for most people. But for the purposes of today’s conversation, we will focus there because it has been a constant across the decades of modern marketing. We will focus more on choosing channels in an upcoming issue.
When I ask folks questions like “Why are you so terrible at email?”… I usually hear something like: “We are great at email. We send out e-blasts to everyone once a month!”.
They are “spraying and praying” that their “blast” will make it rain as Camille is illustrating below.
When I think about that, I weep a little for their team and for their customers.
The strategy there is all about cadence, and not about personalization.
What happens when a message isn’t relevant at all to the cauliflower and kalamatas?
When I am done shedding tears, I think “There has got to be a better way.”
Wouldn’t you know it? There is.
It’s called segmenting your list!
Now, while this may sound complex, we don’t always need to get fancy with it.
In fact, we can take just a few minutes and go from chopped salad to nice and organized. Even if we allow for the occasional overlap.
The truth is that there are very few “one size fits all” formulas in business. But I have found that there is a decent baseline. Hopefully, you will find this helpful to self-diagnose your own segmentation strategies or to get you started.
The Six Core Segments
Just about every company contact database can be chopped up this way.
1. Customers (segmented in many different ways)
You’ll have little slices in here too: new, active, inactive, “slipping”, “hasn’t logged in in over 30 days”, segments by Plan, etc…
2. Employees, Teams, and Internal Marketing
Marketing your initiatives and mission to your employees is more important than ever now that we are separated and no longer under the same four walls.
3. Future Customers
This is a big bucket. One of the major segments is “in Active Opportunity”. You are in active relationship building mode and may want to send things from their rep.
4. Partners, Resellers, and Affiliates
These are the folks who are your extended sales team. Teach them how to share the message you want to be spread In the world.
5. Friends, Fans, and Subscribers
There are some folks who just are fans of the brand and may not be in the weeds of your product. How do you want to share your message with them? Should brand marketing have different positioning when you launch something new? Of course, it depends.
6. Shareholders, Insiders, and Alumni.
These are the folks that care to see the company succeed for all sorts of reasons. How can you keep them updated so that it doesn’t feel like a chore or they are being marketed to?
Note that shareholders is last. I know in business school everything was focused on increasing shareholder’s wealth. But the only way to do that is to take care of your customers and your team first. That’s why it’s last on the list. No less important, but make sure you are communicating regularly with the other segments first.
Now, that is better.
Each one of these segments can be chopped up even further, and there will be overlap between the two. But when you have each of these segments clearly defined in a dynamic smart list in your contact database you can start to do magical things.
You can send to a list, but exclude another list. (Inclusion/Exclusion are a demand generation pro’s secret weapon.)
Here’s a concrete example of how you can use these segments in tandem.
(+5,-3) All friends, fans, and subscribers; but not those with open opportunities.
This will allow you to more closely control a product marketing message by having your sales team personally send out that announcement to their open opportunities.
There are infinite combinations, and we will dig into them as time goes on.
Your homework is to set these segments up in your CRM now. We may be using them in the future. ;)
Your company just made some fly merch… which of the core segments would care? Which should you send for free? Offer for free? Offer for sale?
If your company’s merch looks like this👆, just sign me up now. Add a segment for Chris to your CRM now. I’m buying.
I want know from The Outlaws, what major segment do you use that I did not cover? Hit reply and let me know.
Thanks for reading today’s newsletter. If you have thoughts, I’d love to hear them. And as always, consider subscribing to becoming a premium member so you can gain access to additional issues each week.
The Actionable Framework, published Tuesdays
The Weekend Project, published Thursdays
P.S. I’ve put together some worksheets with further detail that premium subscribers are going to dig into on Tuesday. My daughter found one and has already gotten started.