The Context Caveat in Microsegmenting for B2B Demand Generation

Let’s define microsegmenting and how the rest of your marketing practice should support it.

Compared to traditional database segmentation, microsegmenting is hailed as the smarter route to tighter targeting and high-performance campaigns. As Zoominfo president Sam Zales explains in a recent article for BtoB magazine,

“Marketers are turning to keyword searches that search across multiple parts of each individual’s or company’s record…Using a combination of search criteria, you can create targeted lists of b2b buyers by job title, specific experience (e.g., finance professionals who have IPO experience), board affiliations and even colleges attended and personal interests, like sailing or golfing.”

Yes, a more sophisticated level of database search enables you to develop a target list based on more detailed criteria. All well and good…but databases don’t exist in a vacuum (even if the endless spreadsheets make it seem that way).

Although a well-defined list is essential, microsegmenting is still only as effective as what comes before and after it.

Before: The ideal target

How do you decide which microsegmenting search terms are relevant? To put it another way: How do you decide that targets with a certain title, in a certain size company, in a certain region, with certain experience will be receptive to entering a dialog with you?

Before you look for people who fit a profile, you need the profile, or persona. Buyer personas reveal what your ideal targets care about:

  • Their daily and long-term business concerns
  • Their level of technical experience and understanding (if applicable)
  • How they measure success
  • Their professional aspirations

Before and during: Content planning

Once you have a deeper understanding of your ideal targets, you can plan your approach. What will you show/tell/ask them? Through what channel might you reach them most effectively? When should you reach out? Which types of content should you offer, at which stages? There’s a lot of overlap at this point. As you microsegment your list based on what you know about your ideal audience, you gain a sense of your campaign’s scale and scope, which will influence content production and selection.

After: Passive profiling

Targeting doesn’t end with the first touch. Thanks to web analytics, you can continue refining your targeting and lead categorization throughout a campaign or program. More specifically, you can use web analytics to track which pieces of content your targets choose and categorize those targets (and their stage in the buying process) based on their content consumption. If you have a list of targets but don’t know their stage in the buyer journey, you can point them to a site populated with content appropriate to various stages, then identify each target’s stage in the buyer journey by the content they consume. For instance, if a target downloads one or more technical whitepapers, that indicates they’re at an early educational stage of the buying journey. (Naturally, you’d map out how each piece of content relates to the buying stages prior to launch).

With the big picture firmly in mind, do check out the good, specific microsegmenting tips Sam Zales offers over at BtoB.

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