Friday, July 30, 2010

A Salad Shop Spoils a Segmentation Opportunity

Have We Met Before?
The quick-service sandwich and salad restaurant near my office launched two new salads several weeks ago. I have ordered both new salads via the restaurant's online ordering system several times since the salads debuted. So why did I receive an email just yesterday that introduced me to their new salads? I've already met them — many times — and I like them a lot. The store should know this since my online ordering account uses my email address as my username and stores all of my previous orders.


I know exactly how this happened: The marketing team at this restaurant decided that it would be a good idea to announce to their customers the arrival of their new salads. So, they whipped up a nice email, gathered all of their email addresses, and clicked "send." Nobody stopped for a minute and asked, "but what if someone regularly orders our new salads? Shouldn't we send that person a different email?"


This restaurant should have sent me an email thanking me for ordering the new salads, inviting me to submit a testimonial about the salads for their website, and given me some salad coupons to share with my friends.


Data-Driven Segmentation

If businesses are going to collect information about their customers — even the most basic information like their first and last names — they must use it to their advantage. There's simply no excuse for sending marketing communications that aren't personalized or targeted based on demographic data or purchase behavior. Consumers are bombarded by hundreds of marketing messages a day. They need to feel that your company understands them and has a relationship with them. One way to do this through marketing communications is to use the data that you have about each customer to segment them in a way that makes your message to each group highly relevant and lets customers know that you are paying attention to them.


Add This To Your To-Do List
If you're not customizing your marketing messages, start simply -- just use a personalized greeting. Include the name of your customer in your emails and letters. If you work in a restaurant and don't know the first names of your regular customers, it's time to learn them and greet them by name. If you are able to collect more information about your customers, use it wisely. Based on what you know about your customers, about what would they be interested in hearing from you? Can you group customers by their purchase behavior or demographic information? Would men like a different message than women? Test different messages and see if you can improve your response rate. With just a little effort, you'll be well on your way to an advanced segmentation strategy.


There's never a lack of ideas.