5 Tips for Building Online Communities Around Different Segments of Your Brand
The divide-and-conquer segmentation strategy isn't new when it comes to driving digital engagement and appealing to different audiences. Think Coke and Diet Coke.
However, segmentation is not just a strategy for big brands with big budgets. Focusing on different aspects of a brand and promoting them individually can offer rewards for brands of all sizes.
Most marketers are familiar with the idea of market segmentation - identifying different areas of a given market and targeting them in different ways. Brand segmentation is a way marketers can take that concept even further. By breaking individual aspects of a brand into segments, the organization is better equipped to address different pain points within the overall market.
A marketing agency provides a good example of how this strategy could be put into action. An agency might offer a laundry list of services, including SEO, PPC, reputation management, website design, website maintenance, content marketing, integrated advertising campaigns, and more.
Even though that marketing agency's target client might be, say, SMBs, each of those SMBs will be looking for a solution to a different pain point. The SMB owner looking to correct the nightmare of numerous bad online reviews experiences a different pain point than the SMB manager who desperately needs to update a circa 2008 website.
In this case, the agency can build a separate online presence around each pain point by executing multiple marketing campaigns simultaneously using different websites, Twitter accounts, online profiles, promotions, and so on.
Here's how to divide, conquer, and build communities online:
1. Build targeted personas
Building a successful multi-campaign approach is about more than simply regurgitating content using additional Twitter handles or new URLs. Just as you'd segment the audience for a primary product or service you'll need to segment audiences for the different aspects of your brand.
Consider demographic and behavioral information, but remember to factor in pain points as well.
2. Determine which segments will deliver the best ROI potential
It's a fact of business life that resources are limited, so it often makes no sense to break down every potential segment for your brand. Instead, consider which aspects of your company offer the highest potential for meeting business goals.
For example, you may find it makes sense to build marketing campaigns around only two or three segments.
3. Segment with purpose
Segmenting a corporate brand can also enable the organization to run trial balloons for new ideas and concepts and to explore new markets.
Beverage companies do this from time to time, with new energy drinks or flavors they want to build a following around.
Coke Zero is a good example of a segmented marketing campaign targeting a very specific demographic: men who associate diet drinks with women. It has its own website and social media identities, and it prompts visitors to "join the conversation." Likewise, its tone is vastly different (and more provocative) than that of the brand's primary product.
Maybe mining new markets isn't as important to you as attracting top talent. This may be particularly true if you're ready to launch a new line or service or are in the throes of exponential growth. In that situation, it might be worth investing in a marketing campaign built around recruitment. Building a "careers" segment of your brand can help attract the eye of plugged-in prospects.
4. Segment for recruitment
To see a good recruitment campaign at work, check out Life At Google. It's a robust, engaging segment of the Google website dedicated to recruitment. The title of the campaign illustrates quite clearly the type of candidate Google is hoping to attract: "Bring questions. Build answers". Best of all, it begs its target audience to start a discussion.
Google also connects with its audience through individual Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter accounts that share relevant content, such as tech meet-up pics, resume tips, and Women's Equality Day messages. When viewed all together, the campaign paints a clear portrait of the company's culture - a portrait specifically designed to attract tech's best and brightest.
These are, of course, examples from large companies with many diverse divisions and nearly unlimited marketing resources. However, the concept they're employing is relatively straightforward: Segment. Build. Promote. Engage.
5. Segment, but retain consistency
It's called "consistency of brand". While messages vary from segment to segment, it's important to maintain a consistent look across channels and platforms.
For example, if you're deploying separate Twitter handles, try to use the same base term for each one and then customize for the segment at the end of the handle - it might look like this: @Web1Reputation, @Web1Design, and @Web1Talent.
Brands able to execute this multi-segment approach to marketing will empower themselves to grow relationships, brand loyalty, and profit.
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