How segmenting communications makes all the difference

Or, "Tell me about vanilla yoghurt", by Simon Andrew

31/07/2017
Categories: Tech, HR

Segmenting communications is not a new idea; companies have been doing it for years. As technology is improving, it is becoming much easier.

Let me tell you about my letter from Tesco, and how you can embrace the idea of segmentation.

What is segmentation?

Segmentation is a means of breaking a population into smaller groups for better targeting. The idea being that these smaller groups have common demographics or behaviours that would help you tailor your message. It’s widely accepted that such an activity would help you make your content more relevant – and, well; RELEVANCE means ENGAGEMENT.

 

Dear Mr Andrew

The other morning, a letter arrived from Tesco. Whilst tucking into my four nut and maple crisp cereal (bought from said shop) I opened it up and read quietly to myself. As with any modern letter it was addressed to me personally but it went on to encourage me to try a particular vanilla yogurt for free, enclosing a voucher for me to use. Now, not only am I a fan of vanilla yogurt, but it was a lacto-free yogurt. And recently I had been buying products from the lacto-free range. Amazing!

Did Tesco send a man in a trench coat to sort through my rubbish with a pen? It’s possible, I have seen some strange types out the back of the flat recently. But I think what’s more likely is that they were able to gather all of the data from my transactions, and segment their communications to target my preferences. Had that been a letter about coriander (my arch nemesis) then it would have gone straight in the bin. What happened instead is I stuck it to the fridge with a magnet, and it awaits my next trip to the supermarket.

 

The need is obvious

Weekly at Benefex, our new starters spend time with every team. When they come to the Communications team, they get treated to a workshop, to show the need for communication strategies and the experts we employ. Part of the exercise includes asking about people’s spending preferences. It’s clear – even with a few people – that everyone is different. One person’s vice may be video games, another may be meals out, another trainers. As we explain, if we create a promotion about a discount at the PlayStation Store, then we may engage one of the three. But then, what if they have an Xbox? The more we know about people, and the better we can target, the more successful our approach will be.

 

What you can do

The first obstacles in segmenting a campaign are the data and the technology. With our recent product developments, I’m quite proud to say that, at Benefex, we have both! Armed with these at your disposal, here are three stages to successfully segmenting your very own email campaign:

 

Stage 1 – identify your segments

In an ideal world, we would send the trench-coated man to each person’s house – but, let’s be honest, that would be expensive and, some may say, unethical. So, instead we have some options:

  • Research the workforce – understand how preferences vary across different areas.
  • Look at industry data – see what research from other sources says about predictors of behaviour (previously age was thought to be a good one, but from research we have done and read, this is not the case).
  • Create personas – build a picture of your employees in different business units/functions. This could be as simple as a call centre employee, an engineer, and a member of HR to start with. Put yourself in their shoes and build yourself a picture.

 

Stage 2 – create a strategy for each

Once you have your targeted areas, you need to work out how you will approach each. What does your research show you? What can you ascertain from your personas?

The merits and values of segmentation will need to be balanced with the time and effort you want to spend. Let’s remember, each different version is another communication to create/review etc. You’ll want to consider what is ideal and what is achievable. We have a fantastic tool called Communications Manager, which will save you time!

The simplest approach is to create one overall strategy for all, using your insight to tailor the message in each. Back to my example of the Communications team induction, maybe we have one trainer-themed communication, one video game-related, and another about discounted meals out.

 

Stage 3 – deliver the communications

Armed with your target areas and your strategy, you need to create your communications and get them out to your workforce. It may be you do this in-house, it may be you use the Benefex experts. Either way, our technology, OneHub, can help do the rest.

When it comes to email communications, you can have your segmented campaign up and running in minutes. With employee data already loaded, you can target your workforce through a variety of demographics, grades, locations and the benefits they have. Maybe we want to tell everyone who bought holiday about a new travel account. Maybe we want to tell everyone in Sheffield where they can save money with their dining card. Or maybe we just want to tweak the message we send to each different business unit. The point is, we can.

So if you’re a fan of vanilla yogurt or not, Tesco will know, and they’ll work accordingly. What they can do with yogurt, we can do with benefits. I’m not saying I’d recommend sending out free vouchers. What I am saying is, let’s be more personal, more relevant, and give employees a better experience.

Find out more about Communications Manager and see how it can solve your email problems with a trackable, personal and beautifully crafted solution.

Need more proof? Find out how we worked with Plusnet to design an award-winning, tailored communications plan.

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