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In part two of our series of livestreams on How to Create a Killer Marketing Plan, we concentrated on the juicy topic that’s segmentation.

Our Director, Nici Gomme, met back up with Meet’s VP of Marketing Success and Insights, Glenn Southam, and Levin’s Marketing Director, Chelcie Harry, to take a deeper dive into the subject only briefly touched on last week. 

In our previous episode we delved into Chelcie’s extensive persona mapping exercise – something she said had really helped to shape the direction of their marketing plan. Glenn, on the other hand, had admitted not using personas. Following up from the livestream Nici posted a LinkedIn poll asking whether people used personas – the responses were just as mixed.

Love them or hate them, you can (and should) still segment. Here’s a roundup of our thoughts from our second livestream of the series. 

Segment vs Persona

The two go hand-in-hand but here’s the difference: a segment is how to slice and dice your market (for recruitment, think industries, job titles, etc.). Personas, however, are profiles created to help communicate with people within that segment.  

Chelcie explained, “With personas you’re talking to a person rather than just blanket shout out across a lot of markets…Personas allow us to target them a bit more effectively and talk directly to someone.”

Her team created their own personas through data and looking at success metrics. They split them based on things like the fact they’re multi-hirers, work on higher terms, or are known to hire more senior roles. They also investigated whether these people had demographical links, similar pain-points, and whether they engaged with their marketing material, before coming up with a plan of how to best target them in terms of content and value add info.

Glenn, although not currently using personas himself, does think they’re worthwhile if done correctly. He said, “Sometimes as marketers, we’re at risk of creating personas because we feel like we need to, because that’s what the textbooks say, but you have to have the other elements in place otherwise it’s just a persona.” 

So, don’t forget to add other elements and back everything up with data to create effective personas for your business. 

Why segment your database?

We’re massive advocates of Marketing owning a company’s CRM. Why? Well, it can (and should!) be so much more than a consultant search tool. If Marketing can take charge and segment a database into client and candidate groups – tagging categories relevant to marketing and to winning business – your CRM will become a lot more powerful.

Glenn agreed, “Further down the line your distribution’s going to be a lot better. Your content’s going to be more targeted and, in theory, the results a lot more measurable and valuable.” He may not use personas, but he still uses ‘buckets’, segmenting behaviours of clients in terms of their commercial activity, revenue, etc. 

Approaching segmentation (internally)

There’s no right and wrong when it comes to segmenting your database. It goes back to what we were talking about in our last livestream – success is totally dependent on you understanding and aligning with your business objectives. 

Meet’s strategy, for instance, is to talk about their industry a lot more. Sure, financial stats are important, but realigning with the changes that are happening in their industry (life sciences), and how they can influence those changes, is Glen’s current focus. You can still value gut feel and listening to people but be data informed with feedback and sentiment analysis for better understanding people’s motivators, values, and interests. Go out and speak with your customers. And as a marketer, don’t be afraid to lead on this kind of research (there’s more on this below).

Don’t forget to get consultants involved too. This was essential for Chelcie at Levin.  As a relatively new business, their attention’s on growth. To increase sales, it’s important to identify client objectives and pushbacks – much of this info can come from consultants. Talk to your sales team to understand what they say during a pitch. Ultimately, this kind of insight will help in defining your messaging, so encourage weekly and/or monthly catch up with commercial teams, go along to meetings, or sit in on client calls.

Getting first-hand insight for segmenting (externally)

Wanting direct input from your customers? What’s the best way? For Chelcie, she actually had a better uptake on clients agreeing to be interviewed than surveyed. But that’s not going to be the case for everyone – remember to consider what may work best for your target audience and tailor it for your plan. If your clients are too busy to open emails, come up with alternative ways of reaching them. There’s no right and wrong here, so think about what’s right for your business.

If you’re wondering about candidates, don’t worry, we’ve not forgotten about them. But we’re great believers that if you’re identifying the pain points of your client, you’re often speaking to your candidates too. 

In fact, in terms of segmenting candidates, we think it’s best to air on the side of caution. Why? Well, with candidate personas, there’s a risk you’re excluding some strong candidates.

Chelcie pointed out, “Whereas you normally have an ideal client type, there’s no such thing as an ideal candidate. Different skills, cultures, etc. can all do the same job – there’s no one ideal person. You could have ten people who can all do the same role well – if one person left, they’d be replaced by someone else.”

But if you feel you do want to go down the candidate segmentation route, why not look at  values and motivations? That’s safer than other demographics which discourage diversity.

Quick recap? 

We’re all in agreement that personas have a place in marketing plans. They help us to choose marketing channels and create more targeted messages that appeal to our audiences. 

And in terms of how, run workshops/meetings internally with your sales and commercial teams. That’s a great place to start. 

For deeper insight, head straight to your clients. As a marketer, don’t be afraid to go carry out surveys and interviews to capture as much data as you can. If personas (such as Start-up Steve) feel a bit too cheesy, stick to simpler names like Personas 1, 2 and 3. 

But don’t avoid segmentation completely. It’ll make a world of difference to the overall success of your marketing plan. If you liked this episode, you’ll enjoy Part 3 of ‘How to create a killer marketing plan’ livestream. And if you want to learn more about how theLEAP can help you with anything we’ve covered above, get in touch.

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Nici, Founder of theLEAP, loves supporting recruitment businesses on their journey to success.

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