Volume 119: 10/15/05

No Segment Left Behind

It's a brave new world out there. We're witnessing the birth of a media-rich environment filled with tons of alternative information resources for customers who are increasingly in control. And these customers are becoming more resistant to marketing's "push." Finding customers via targeted mass media vehicles these days isn't enough. Marketers must be able to leverage all their market segments, maximize ad expenses and message with pin point relevancy.

So, how many market segments do you have? How diverse are their needs? Their motivations? Their demographics? How do you market to segments that have interest in your product or service as their only common denominator?

A Terribly Brief History of How Marketers Segment

Traditional marketing segmented by 'broadening' the appeal of the ad, throwing a little something into the message for everyone. Offer this message through a mass market media vehicle, and you're bound to catch a little of every segment. But with the increasing fragmentation of media, large audiences are elusive and prohibitively expensive. On top of which, over-saturation makes these generic messages easy to ignore. Marketers had to find something better.

Then came the age of targeting, wherein marketers would target one particular market segment at a time. They would identify a demographic, find the demographic in some targeted media and create a message touting some features. This generated some advertising success. It also created the need to prioritize and decide when, where and how to spend the ad budget across the segments.

How priorities are then assigned

Up until now the most common means of prioritizing market segments was simply finding the path of the least marketing resistance. Marketers would say that if the research suggests (let's pretend) that 58% of men make the decision to buy a DVD, you should target DVD sales to men. Targeting 'dudes' would be the wise first choice since they are a majority. So you'd give 58% of the advertising budget to men and 42% to women. Sounds great right? But what if that research doesn't mean women are less willing to buy? What if it actually reflects your inability to sell to women?

Other companies prioritize more profitable customer segments, leaving other segments the scraps or ignoring them completely. Again, what if the low-profit segments are the result of ineffective marketing and sales efforts? What if, given the right time and nuture, you could persuade these segments to perform as admirably (or even more so) than your current high quality segments?

Then there are those companies that try to push the lower-profit segments into behaving like the high-profit ones. This tactic is guaranteed to fail in an economy where customers must be pulled.

The Brave New World of Persuasion

With the advent of the internet and a new wired world, savvy marketers are sensing there is a more potent means of marketing for maximum ROI. But the question remains. If traditional marketing methods don't work anymore, how do you prioritize market segments?

In a word: Don't. Instead, treat them all equally!

Take a peek at how Best Buy approaches their market segments. Best Buy treats each segment with the same respect and assigns it the same effort and budget. Individual business managers are given responsibility for a single segment, with the sole focus of developing it. A manager researches what drives her particular segment, then devises strategies and tactics for marketing in a way that is meaningful to that segment. That's selling, in a "pull market," to "individuals" on their own terms!

And that's Persuasion Architecture in practice - the only way to stay ahead in this morphing marketing fun house!

Here's a couple of tips to get you started on the path to achieving pin-point relevance:

  • Create personas to represent each of your market segments.

  • Look beyond the demographics of your market segment. Demographics rarely tell us what we need to know about what is relevant to each segment's buying process. Instead, look to dominant personality types, the topology of your business and the dimensions of complexity in your sale.

  • Consider EVERY brand touch-point as an opportunity or step in the persuasion process for your segment. Even post purchase touch points.

  • For mass media efforts, find needs and motivations that are shared across several personas (segments), and use those to create the most potent messages.

  • Where a persona (market segment) has a deeply felt need that is unique and divergent from other segments, seize the opportunity to develop a strong message. It may not be a mass appeal message, but if executed properly, it can be very effective.

  • Avoid stereotyping your personas (market segments). All IT buyers do not share the same motivations. All women do not behave the same. All Hispanics do not have the same goals. You get my drift.

Why continue squandering or sacrificing the potential in your audience when the same media-rich landscape that puts your customers in control also offers you unprecedented opportunity to speak to everyone?

This article is courtesy of Anthony Garcia, Senior Persuasion Architect for Future Now, Inc. and Dude Extraordinaire!

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New Services

We've been busy bees over the holidays.  Check out our services page - new services have already been launched and more are coming!

New Publications

You'll also want to keep an eye on our publications page.  We've been working on creating resources that will help you put many of our principles into practice more easily and more efficiently.  We're just about to release several of our newest products, including Which Sells Best?: A Quick Start Guide to Testing for Retailers and The Conversion Experts Handbook.

A Persuasive Online Copywriter is Worth More

Last time I examined the qualities we value in a persuasive online copywriter. The way we look at it, copywriting for persuasion is about significantly more than using power words and devising catchy phrases. It's also a lot more about speaking to your visitors' buying process than it is pushing your sales process (that piece of the equation may be your raison d'être, but it must remain transparent to your visitors).

So, let's say there's this copywriter who understands and is skilled at writing for Persuasion Architecture. A client asks this copywriter to quote a price for a job. The copywriter tells the client $150 per web page. There's a moment of silence before the client informs the copywriter she has another quote for $70 per web page.

How would the copywriter justify the higher price - and why would the client agree to pay it? Here's how the copywriter should reply.

I'm Worth More Because ...

I am an uncovery specialist

Uncovery provides the foundation for developing a successful persuasion architecture. The skilled copywriter understands:

The copywriter's ability to understand and incorporate this knowledge is essential to the preparation of persuasive copy and content - without this information, a copywriter can do little more than stab in the dark.

I know how to write for the search engines

Search engine spiders crawl sites for content, looking for the relevance they will in turn provide in search engine results. Preparing that content is not merely about inserting keywords. The copywriter must know where those keywords belong, how often keywords can be used before the site risks black-listing, how to incorporate critical keywords into links and how to construct the relevant copy surrounding the keywords (which will reinforce the persuasive quality of the search engine result). The copywriter also understands that the goal of optimizing for search engine ranking, important though it is, cannot take place at the expense of the site's ability to persuade and convert.

I know how to write to different personas

The persuasive copywriter understands there is no such thing as the "average" customer. Different people approach the decision to buy in different ways - they ask different questions, and what matters to one may be immaterial to another. It is the copywriter's job to create copy that speaks to different personas in language that both engages and motivates.

An essential ingredient when writing to different personas is being able to empathize with each of them, even when those personas have little in common with the copywriter. The ability to speak to "the heart of the dog" (given they can sense falsehood a mile away), regardless of breed, distinguishes your run-of-the-mill copywriter from your exceptional copywriter.

I know how to take advantage of the web as a unique medium

The web is neither a print nor a direct marketing medium. Persuasion Architecture helps you carry on a dialog with your visitor that takes place on a computer screen. Online copywriters know how to lay out copy for an effective presentation - they understand how to highlight, how to carry the message of the page through headers and subheaders, how to arrange copy to take advantage of eye-tracking principles and how to embed text links.

I know how to create persuasive momentum

Most copywriters understand the integral role of "the click." Your skilled persuasive copywriter knows the ability to create and sustain persuasive momentum depends on the careful crafting of call to action and point of resolution links - this copywriter understands what these links are meant to accomplish, how to use them to best effect and how to word them so they are truly persuasive. You'll never find this copywriter settling for "click here."

Simply Sign on the Dotted Line

Just listing this stuff has me thinking that $150/page is looking pretty darn reasonable. If you're the skilled persuasive online copywriter, I guarantee there is more demand for your time than you have time to give (and send me samples from your client portfolio while you're at it!).

If you're the client shopping for the copy that will have your conversion rates dancing jigs, these are the answers you want to hear - must hear - from your prospective copywriter.  You don't hear these answers, it's red flags ... and that $150/page you wanted to justify is going to start looking like a pittance!

Volume 119: 10/15/05

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