Segmenting and Target Marketing: Psychographics

In today’s edition of “Back to Marketing Basics” we’ll talk about segmentation and target marketing. First a little background:

  1. Market segmentation – market segmentation is the process of separating a market into segments or groups of consumers who are similar, but different from consumers in other groups. For instance, female consumers are different from male consumers in terms of their needs, attitudes, and lifestyles — after all, women are from Venus and men are from Mars.
  2. Target marketing - segmentation divides a market up into subgroups. Target marketing involves deciding which segments are most profitable. For instance, you might segment the market into 5 groups based on demographics — millenials, Gen X, Gen Y, Baby Boomers, and Seniors
  3. Positioning – involves creating a product image that appeals to a target market or several target markets. For instance, you might decide to position certain products for millenials. You might use music and celebrities important for millenials.

Tools of segmentation

Commonly, we use demographic variables (age, income, education, gender, etc), geographic variables (country, city, state, neighborhood, etc), psychographic variables (lifestyle, attitudes, beliefs, etc), and behavioral variables (usage, etc).

For many years, marketers used demographic and geographic variables in defining their target markets. Now, most marketers are more sophisticated; using psychographic and behavioral variables that are MUCH more effective. We now refer to buyer personas rather than target markets.

Buyer personas are much more valuable for marketing than earlier target markets. However, they’re more difficult to construct.

Steps in creating buyer personas

Constructing buyer personas involves more research to build a clear picture of the psychographics defining each persona. With rich social media data, constructing buyer personas is much more effective and less costly.

In constructing buyer personas, marketers must go beyond the superficial and use insights to create buyer personas. Marketers must understand the buyer’s personality; what TV programs they watch, what music they listen to, what their household looks like … Many firms don’t do enough research and come up with inaccurate personas. This problem preexists buyer personas and I remember firms constructing target markets comprised of:

35-60 year old women who care about clean clothes.

Not particularly insightful and likely inaccurate.

Understanding social class, lifestyle, and personality

Social class is really a compilation of demographic characteristics. For instance, middle managers are commonly educated, own homes, send their kids to college (and maybe prep schools), they vacation via airlines or cruises, have good incomes, and busy lifestyles.

Lifestyles may be divided several ways. One of which is the 4 C’s from Young and Rubican and looks like this:

The 4Cs

Resigned Rigid, strict, authoritarian and chauvinist values, oriented to the past and to Resigned roles. Brand choice stresses safety, familiarity and economy. (Older)

Struggler Alienated, Struggler, disorganised – with few resources apart from physical/mechanical skills (e.g. car repair). Heavy consumers of alcohol, junk food and lotteries, also trainers. Brand choice involves impact and sensation.

Mainstreamer Domestic, conformist, conventional, sentimental, passive, habitual. Part of the mass, favouring big and well-known value for money ‘family’ brands. Almost invariably the largest 4Cs group.

Aspirer Materialistic, acquisitive, affiliative, oriented to extrinsics … image, appearance, charisma, persona and fashion. Attractive packaging more important than quality of contents. (Younger, clerical/sales type occupation)

Succeeder Strong goal orientation, confidence, work ethic, organisation … support status quo, stability. Brand choice based on reward, prestige – the very best . Also attracted to ‘caring’ and protective brands … stress relief. (Top management)

Explorer Energy – autonomy, experience, challenge, new frontiers. Brand choice highlights difference, sensation, adventure, indulgence and instant effect – the first to try new brands. (Younger – student)

Reformer Freedom from restriction, personal growth, social awareness, value for time, independent judgement, tolerance of complexity, anti-materialistic but intolerant of bad taste. Curious and enquiring, support growth of new product categories. Select brands for intrinsic quality, favouring natural simplicity, small is beautiful.(Higher Education)


We think about usage behaviors such as having Turkey at Thanksgiving in the US, as well as the 80/20 principle that says 80% of sales come from only 20% of your market. Not all markets have an 80/20, but markets like dog food — where big dogs eat most of the food — do. So does the domestic beer market.

Behavioral segmentation also includes benefits sought from a purchase. For instance, some consumers might want a simple, inexpensive computer, while others want an Apple, even though it’s more expensive, because of its reputation for innovativeness.

Using psychographic segmentation

Obviously, there’s no real reason for creating psychographic segments or buyer personas unless they help you market better.

Psychographic segmentation helps you in digital advertising, such as PPC and Facebook advertising, where you can select psychographic segments more likely to click or buy your product.

Psychographic segmentation helps construct products or position them in a way that makes them more appealing than competitors. Creating perceptual maps helps you understand how consumers see your brand and allows you to position your brand for maximum benefit.

Need help?

Whether you need a complete analytics strategy, some help with brand marketing, or some consulting to optimize your existing social media marketing, we can fill your digital marketing funnel. We can help you do your own social media marketing better or do it for you with our community managers, strategists, and account executives. You can request a FREE introductory meeting or sign up for my email newsletter to learn more about social media marketing.

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5 Easy Steps to Successful Brand Marketing

brand marketingbrandingFirst, let’s take a look at brand marketing so we’re all on the same page. Let’s start with, what is a brand?

According to the American Marketing Association, a brand is:

name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.

That’s like saying you are your name, which is ridiculous. You’re so much MORE than your name. You’re a person, with an appearance, a set of relationships, some accomplishments, beliefs, …

Maybe this is why there’s so much confusion when talking about brand marketing. To some folks, brand marketing has to do mainly with finding a good name. To others, brand marketing is mainly about creating a logo, color scheme, and other visual representations of the brand. Both definitions fit within the AMA’s definition.

But, is that all there is to a brand? Do we choose which brand to buy based on its name, logo, color scheme, etc? Probably not. So when you’re doing brand marketing or hiring someone to do it for you, be sure you’re both working with the right definition of brand marketing.

5 easy steps for successful brand marketing

If brand marketing is more than just a logo and brand name? What is brand marketing and how do you do successful brand marketing?

Lucky for you, I’ve identified 5 easy steps (OK, maybe their not so easy) to successful brand marketing:

Step 1. Strategic competency

Since successful brand marketing involves differentiating yourself from the rest, the first step on your journey is to look inward. What are your strengths as an organization?

In the case of my firm, I have lots of things we do well:

  • we’re on the cutting-edge of marketing and social media
  • we’re mostly young and very tech savvy
  • we have low overhead and a business model that makes us very competitive price-wise
  • we’ve built a strong network that supports our clients
  • We have a strong online reputation

Step 2. Competitive advantage

After looking at what you do best, now look at your competitors. What are they doing very well?

What you’d like to find is that sweet spot where you have strong competencies and your competitors are relatively weak. We call this competitive advantage. Competitive advantage is critical for the success of your endeavor, especially when it matches the needs of some customer segment — a target market.

In my case, I have strong analytical skills and require my Account Executives get certified in analytics, just like me. That way, we’re positioned to provide data-driven marketing strategies to our clients.

Step 3. Create a message

Now, create a message that differentiates your business from your competitors by stressing your competitive advantage. Make sure that message clearly resonates with your target audience.

If you’re Apple, you create commercials comparing Mac with PC. These commercials clearly articulated the value of Mac over its PC cousins. Microsoft copied the commercials when it introduced its Surface tablets because they were so successful in creating a distinctive image for their new brand.

Step 4. Walk the walk

Deliver on your promises. Don’t just create the message about your competitive advantage, use it. And build on it.

In my case, I write about social media analytics, including working on a new book — grab a free chapter here. I also read and continue training to improve my skills and deliver highly data-driven strategies to clients. If you’re Starbucks, you work hard to create the atmosphere many call the third place by using comfy chairs that invite customers to linger over their coffee.

Step 5. Monitor

Make sure you’re brand is seen the same way by your target market as you see it. That not only means monitoring sentiment, but monitoring what customers think about your brand.

I’ve often worked with clients who think they are one thing and their customers think they’re something else. For instance, Ford used the slogan of “quality is job #1″ for a long time while customers defined Ford as “Found On Road Dead”. There was a disjoint that hurt the brand. Now Ford focuses on the youth market by providing vehicles linked to their social networks and integrated with their music.

BTW, if you’re interested in learning more, check out this post from Forbes on brand marketing trends. It’s a little dated, but still worth the read. Meanwhile, let me know how your brand marketing efforts are going and what you find contributes to successful brand marketing.

Need Help?

Whether you need a complete analytics strategy, some help with brand marketing, or some consulting to optimize your existing social media marketing, we can fill your digital marketing funnel. We can help you do your own social media marketing better or do it for you with our community managers, strategists, and account executives. You can request a FREE introductory meeting or sign up for my email newsletter to learn more about social media marketing.


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Optimize Content Marketing Strategy in 7 Steps

optimize content marketingUnless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year, you know content marketing is the BIG thing in digital marketing today. But, do you know how to optimize content marketing strategy to reach your goals?

I ran across this infographic the other day and thought it made a good start on how to optimize content marketing strategy and it’s only 7 steps!

7 steps to optimize content marketing strategy

Step 1. Goals

Any marketing strategy revolves around your goals so your first step is creating goals — preferably SMART goals. You need goals related to market performance, such as leads and sales, but you also need goals related to your marketing funnel. A marketing funnel reflects HOW your network gets to the point where they’re a lead or sale.

Here’s one example of some factors you might include in your goal setting as they impact market performance.

Actions supporting your market performance

At this point, it’s also a good idea to create KPI’s (key performance indicators) that you’ll use later to evaluate how well your content marketing strategy is doing.


Step 2. Research

Now it’s time to research your target market. Develop a deep knowledge of the folks who are likely to buy your product or service — what’s important to them, how do they live their lives, in B2B you need to also understand who is involved in buying and what the process looks like.

Then, segment your target market into subgroups — segments — if appropriate. We talk about creating personas to reflect these segments. You’ll later create content for each segment. For instance, a client sells novelty t-shirts. His target is primarily teens and young adults, so we create content they’ll find interesting and using language that resonates with them. We also create content for their parents who we attract to buy the shirts as gifts. Obviously, this content is different.

You’ll also want to research what others are talking about in this space, as this helps in creating content. Note, this research is an ongoing part of an optimized content marketing strategy because you’ll want content that’s topical. Use keywords that represent users searches to optimize your organic search traffic and even help with paid search.

Step 3. Plan

I find a content marketing calendar invaluable in creating consistently high quality content on a frequent basis — normally 2-3 times per week. The more detail contained in your content marketing calendar, the easier you’ll find the next step — creating content. I like to include a working title (which may change before publication), keywords optimized, target market, desired actions and outcomes, and images I’ll use in creating content.

A good content marketing calendar ensures you don’t face a blank screen, which often creates writers’ block and makes content creation harder. But, don’t be afraid of varying from this calendar as outside events dictate.

Step 4. Create content

Value should be the overarching goal in your content marketing strategy — value for your audience. Only after you provide value can you THINK about gaining value from your audience. Most experts recommend an 80/20 distribution between content your audience will find valuable and content you’ll gain value from.

I focus most of my attention on creating content for my website since that’s where visitors can perform in ways that help reach my goals — such as becoming a lead or consummating a sale. I use Slideshare and YouTube to host content I’ll share on my website. I use Instagram to host videos I’ll upload to other social networks as part of my content creation strategy.

Curating content is equally important. I scan my RSS feeds daily to schedule content for shares on my social networks. Again, focus on value. Plus, content curation helps build a network of folks you can use to help amplify your content.

Step 5. Share

You’ll want to share your content across your social networks. Ensure you optimize content marketing for each social platform and don’t over share your content, which just looks spammy.

Step 6. Promote

Carefully promote your posts using email marketing, paid promotion on social networks, and PR.

A more successful strategy involves energizing your social network to amplify your content. Often, this involves a tit-for-tat after you’ve shared their content or provided some other service. Engaging your audience is also a good way to amplify your message.

Step 7. Analyze

Use the KPI’s created earlier to monitor your performance. Keep doing things that work and tweak things that DON’T work or get rid of them.

Need help?

Do you need help to optimize content marketing strategy for your business? Whether you need a complete content marketing strategy, some help with Adwords, or some consulting to optimize your existing social media marketing, we can fill your digital marketing funnel. We can help you do your own social media marketing better or do it for you with our community managers, strategists, and account executives. You can request a FREE introductory meeting or sign up for my email newsletter to learn more about social media marketing.


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9 Essential of Content Marketing

SEO Dilemma - Content Marketing versus Link Building
MOZ Blackboard Friday on Content Marketing versus Link Building for SEO

Content marketing is increasingly important in a world dominated by the Google algorithm and for good reason. Google’s constant tweaks of its search algorithm seeks to present searchers with the most relevant, timely, and valuable content and defeat the aims of techno-nerds who try to game the system to get their crappy content to rank well. Bing does a similar thing with their algorithm.

In fact, in a recent post, Rand of MOZ (formerly SeoMOZ) made some great arguments in favor of content marketing — not the least of which is that content marketing uses multiple search and social channels to build your online reputation and is thus less at risk from Google’s whims. Check out their Blackboard Friday on Link Building versus Content Marketing implications for SEO.

Why content marketing ?

This presentation contains some great data supporting the use of content marketing including:

  1. 70% of consumers prefer to hear about your products/ services through articles than advertising.
  2. 55% increase in web traffic when a company adds a blog to their website.
  3. 97% more inbound links (the most important element of traditional SEM campaigns) when a company adds a blog to their website.
  4. 60% of consumers feel better about your brand after reading your content.

Implementing content marketing

These are great arguments for a sound content marketing strategy. But, how do you implement a content marketing strategy?

  1. Identify your target marketing and their pain points.
  2. Discover who’s already talking in this space. I use SocialEars and SproutSocial to help me hear conversations out in Cyberspace. Share their content on your own social networks and gather ideas to support your content marketing strategy. Link to these sources liberally. SocialEars has a unique feature allowing you to upload your content and search for additional links to similar content. Remember, content marketing should be about both creating and curating valuable content for your target audience.
  3. Plan an effective content marketing strategy that keeps creating fresh content for your blog on a regular basis. This is really important for SEO. Curate content from trusted sources on a daily basis. Be sure to share this content in a format appropriate for each social platform — Twitter works best with links, Facebook with images, Pinterest with images, YouTube with video, etc.
  4. Vary content types. The Internet is increasingly visual so be sure to include a variety of visual format types. Create a YouTube channel and produce videos on a regular basis. Embed them on posts, but be sure to summarize the content as there’s little SEO value in just embedding a video. Create a Pinterest account. Currently, more traffic comes to websites from Pinterest than any other social network.
  5. Ensure quality content by researching each post and writing carefully. Edit your posts before pushing the publish button. Create a voice that resonates with your target audience and avoids jargon unless your target audience shares your vocabulary. Don’t write “teaser” copy that promises solutions that the content doesn’t provide — I find Hubspot particularly guilty of this.
  6. Write great headlines and snippets to entice readers to read your posts. On Facebook, don’t use the easy link sharing. Instead, upload your feature image and write a short description that makes fans curious to read the entire post.
  7. Craft each post around SEO keywords. Use Hashtags on Facebook and Twitter to make your posts more findable. Use effective on-page SEO (I use the Yoast plugin to help with this).
  8. Follow-up by answering comments and thanking folks who share your content. Your content marketing should be the basis for building your online community.
  9. Measure. Analyze. Decide. Don’t just post content and hope it resonates with your target audience. Analyze posts to determine the best times and days to post and which content resonates most.

Need Help?

Let us help you create a winning content marketing strategy or subscribe to our email newsletter to learn more about content marketing, analytics, marketing, and other advice for optimizing your marketing strategy.

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Content Marketing: Making Your Content Great

Yesterday, Listly posted a content analysis of 22 top blogs. They analyzed and coded the last 25 posts from each blog based on the types of content represented within these blogs. Their obvious assumption is that the more varied the content, the better the blog. But, is that the REAL definition of great content? Let’s explore a little.

Content marketing

Is it the quality of your content marketing or the variety of your content marketing that makes for great content?

While it might sound simple, the answer may not be so simple.

The reality is that searchers look for content that solves their problems. So, that implies the quality of the content is much more important. But, searchers must first FIND content before it solves their problems.

So, while quality content is obviously better for solving searchers’ problems, having content on various platforms, such as YouTube, Scribd, and other content management platforms helps make content easier to find as each platform enhances search with its own tools and metrics.

To be valuable, content must be in a form that’s usable by the searcher. That means you need multi-format content to address different learning styles as well as solve different types of problems. For instance, if I’m looking for information on creating a blog, detailed instructions are less valuable than a YouTube video demonstrating step-by-step how to create a blog or a checklist of tasks that I need to accomplish in creating my blog. To see the value of video for aiding understanding, see my video on installing the WordPress SEO plugin. Or, if you want to give a lot of information, embedding a .DOC on your site is much better than a series of posts that break up the content into little snippets. For instance, check out my doc containing the first 2 chapters of my new Social Media Analytics book. Adding this content also helps by using my community to help edit the book.

Content marketing must also support your brand

But, your content really must do more than solve searchers’ problems. Your content marketing strategy should also support organizational goals, such as:

  1. Build your brand reputation
  2. Inform readers about your ability, competitive advantage, and other information that motivates purchase
  3. Move visitors toward purchase
  4. Encourage visitors to develop a relationship with your brand
  5. Improve brand sentiment
  6. Bring more visitors to your website or ecommerce platform

Luckily, with a robust content marketing strategy, you create both value for searchers and for brands.

Creating a robust content marketing strategy

So, what goes into a robust content marketing strategy?

1. Understand your target audience and their pain points

2. Search, learn, and discover about topics your target audience needs help with.

And, become an expert on topics that solve their problems. Or feature folks who ARE experts on these topics. Creating content without a high level of expertise on the topics, isn’t quality content.

I once read a statement that if you read 2 books on the subject, you’re an expert. Balderdash. And, that’s why several of the blogs identified by Listly are really not worth the read. Sure, they have lots of visitors to their sites, but they’re fighting a loosing battle to keep those visitors because they rehash the same superficial content over and over. Or, they’re so concerned about selling their training or books or other products, they don’t give visitors valuable information.

A key element of your content marketing strategy should be continuous learning and sharing of cutting-edge insights on topics your target audience needs help with.

3. Understanding the platform

To achieve your content marketing goals, as well as meet the needs of your target market, you need to understand the platform.

First, you need to understand SEO and search engine marketing (SEM) to help your target audience find the answers you provide.

Second, you need to understand how to create a marketing strategy using your content. Creating elements such as landing pages and enabling easy sharing help you reach your marketing goals with your content.

Final thoughts on content marketing

So, enough for today. I’d love to hear from you. What do YOU think makes quality content? How do you develop your content marketing strategy? How do you discover WHAT your target audience needs?

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