Data and Segmentation

We are fortunate to have access to a tremendous amount of data, maybe too much.

As organizations get larger, it is harder to have a single system manage all of the data. The more systems, the more collection points, the tougher it is to use the data in its aggregate.

The second problem is our ability to gather, organize, and then segment the data in order to best communicate with our customers and prospective customers.

In a perfect world, we’d customize every communication based on the recipient, but we often can’t because we’re dealing with thousands or even millions of customers or prospective custmoers.

The better we customize, the better our chance of capturing a little of their attention.

So often marketers create carefully crafted segments, establish required fields in forms, collect information, and either don’t have the resources to craft 117 different messages to those segments or they move to another company and a new person starts the exercise all over again to make their mark on the company.

After years of this cycle of activity, companies are left virtually unable to segment their data.

In this case, simplification is best practice. Consider your resources, your most desired targets, and re-organize your data around them. It may not be as perfect as a previous segmentation, but it will be much more actionable.

This past week I spent a considerable amount of my time attempting to assign records to one of three personas and a handful of medical specialties.

This was after having merged records from roughly nine different sources.

I established early on that close to 60% of the records didn’t contain enough information to make any assignment. The low hanging fruit made me feel good, but it represented roughly 5-10% of the total records.

The rest took work. I had six fields to look in, and I began pinging them with fuzzy searches, scanning results, and running update queries when I felt reasonably comfortable with the results.

Work remains to be done, but it was worth the effort as my company now has 5x the amount of contacts to communicate with and they can be sorted by persona and specialty, so we can communicate to a happy medium between individually customized and generic message to all.

If you want results, simplify the complex and create closed-loop systems whenever possible.


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