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Creating Better Marketing Campaigns with Clustering

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Clustering improves marketing campaignsIf you’ve recently created an umbrella marketing campaign to target all of your customers, it’s probably because you want (and need) to make a big impact with your marketing message.

The secret to creating more effective marketing campaigns begins with a process called clustering.

Think of clustering in the same way you think of cooking. Just as you have certain foods and recipes that make your mouth water every time, each of your customers has unique tastes and sensibilities, and will therefore respond differently to different marketing messages.

While you may need to effectively target a large portion of your customer base, those customers can’t (and shouldn’t) be marketed to in exactly the same way.  Hey, we are all unique!

Your customers are made up of individuals with individual tastes, needs, and wants. They come from different backgrounds, have different income levels, and have different levels of intimacy with your brand.

Because of this, it’s crucial to break your customer base into clusters. Each cluster you create should segment your customers based on demographic information like age, gender, ethnicity, income level, education level, and buying behavior.

Next, take a look at your umbrella marketing campaign. Your marketing message can be developed and adjusted for each individual cluster in order to create more specific communications that encourage engagement.

Once your audience feels like you understand them and their needs, they are much more likely to increase their trust in your brand and purchase from you.

Clustering allows you to serve the needs of each individual customer segment in a more targeted way. Not everyone in your customer base is ready to buy right now, or ready to buy the same exact products. Through clustering, you can meet the customer on their level, addressing where they are in the buying cycle and positioning your products to solve their problems and meet their needs.

Here is how this process works in a 3-step cycle:

1. Define the goals of your overall marketing campaign and look at your customer base as a whole.

  • What is the main goal of your umbrella campaign?
  • How will this campaign serve your customers and solve their problems?

2. Cluster or group your customers based on purchasing habits, age, buying behavior, gender, and so on. Consider your campaign’s message in terms of each individual cluster.

  • Does your message ring true for each cluster?
  • Is your goal the same for each cluster?
  • How can you adjust your marketing message to appeal to each cluster and to solve their unique problems?

3. Develop targeted marketing messages for each clustered group. While you don’t necessarily need to reinvent the wheel for each customer segment, it’s a good idea to adjust each communication to meet the needs of each group. Small, specific changes to your campaign can make a huge impact on engagement, which in turn leads to improved customer loyalty and increased revenue.

Food for Thought

Clustering customers based on demographic data reminds me of my recent cooking experiences with French green beans. While many love ‘the green bean casserole’ made with cream of mushroom soup and French fried onion rings, I wanted to try something different. After a shopping trip to Costco, I came home with a 5-pound bag of frozen French green beans and the inspiration to experiment with my mother’s long-lost recipe for “Unusual Green Beans” – made with celery soup and water chestnuts!

My love for this unique recipe reminds me of the importance of clustering. Not everyone loves traditional green bean casserole, just like not every customer resonates with the same marketing message.

By mining your customer data and using it to create targeted marketing messages for each cluster, you’ll be able to give each segment exactly what they want (even if it’s a bit unusual!).

Do you need help clustering your customers and categorizing your data so you can make better strategic marketing decisions? Massa & Company is here to help. Call (312) 463-1050 or click here to contact us now.

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About the Author:

Bonnie Massa is Founder and President of Chicago-based Massa & Company, Inc. She works with companies and nonprofits to make the best use of their information about customers, partners, donors and sponsors. With more than 30 years of experience in marketing and predictive analytics, Bonnie is passionate about helping clients make informed, data-driven decisions to increase the value of their customer base. She works with organizations of all types to attract new customers and constituents, segment existing customers and analyze customer behavior to predict future behaviors. She speaks fluent “geek” and is an effective translator between business executives and technology experts. Bonnie currently serves as President of American Marketing Association Chicago Chapter, a volunteer position leading the best marketers in the city. She strongly believes that making pasta and ice cream from scratch are worth the effort, and she spends much of her free time testing and re-testing that theory.