As an effective content marketer, you have put the time into understanding the characteristics of your audience. You’ve developed and validated personas. You or your strategist has created an editorial calendar that will knock clients’ socks off. You’ve produced exceptional content. You’ve written targeted messaging to introduce that content. You’ve got a plan to get it out to the masses.
But are you sure your team can effectively execute on your strategy?
Have you closed the reporting gap?
To take full advantage of all that careful planning and gain maximum benefit from your efforts, the list segmentation within your database of record must align with your personas.
Here are some basic fields you should use to track and segment lists in your CRM:
Job Level & Job Function – More than just a title
Tracking job titles is common in most CRMs. But do you have an effective way to categorize the titles into meaningful, easily segmented groups? We recommend taking data on job titles a step further.
- Job Level – Use this field to group titles based on their management level. Recommended segments include: C-level titles (CIO, CEO, COO, CFO, Owner, Board Member, President), VP-level titles, Director-level titles, Manager-level titles, and general staff titles. These allow you to further target your messaging to speak to the different challenges that occur at varying levels within an organization.
- Job Function – Use this field to group titles based on their role in the organization. Is this person in Finance, HR, Sales, Marketing, Product Development, IT administration, Operations, etc.? This level of segmentation will allow you to speak to the benefits you offer to the different roles in the organization.
Company Size – More than just a number
It is not difficult to uncover information on the annual revenue and employee count in an organization. But, to make this data more relevant in your targeting and reporting, categorize the organizations based on how that size may impact the relationship or role of the staff. For example, a CIO at a 10-million-dollar company may make the same decisions that an IT director at a 100-million-dollar company may make.
- Employee Range – Rather than using a field for the employee count, categorize the number of employees into ranges. For instance: 0-25, 25-100, 100-250, 250-500, 500-1000, 1000-5000, 5000+.
- Revenue Range – Some organizations target off of annual revenue rather than employee count. Similarly ranges should be established for segmentation. Ex. Under 5m, 5-20million, 20-100million, 100-250 million, 250-500million 500-1billion, 1billion+
Industry & Sub-Industry – More than an SIC code
Industry can be one of the more difficult fields to track and analyze effectively. In some cases, you may want to view the industry at a high level and at others you may want to pinpoint the specifics. The problem with listing every industry in the SIC code list is that it becomes difficult to translate into effective targeting and analysis. We recommend a tiered approach to industry management.
- Industry – This field should be used to determine the highest level industry the organization belongs to. For this grouping, the fewer the better. We recommend consolidating to no more than 20 industry values at the top level. Examples include: Manufacturing, Technology, Retail, Finance, Business Services, and Healthcare.
- Sub-Industry – This field is used when you need to dive a little deeper. Sub-industries can be used to refine your industry targeting when needed, but prevent a cluttered report and list segmentation when it is not. Sub-industries should be tied to specific industries.
- Ex. Industry = Finance, sub-industries may include:
- Investment Managers
- Mortgage Lending
- Ex. Industry = Healthcare, sub industries may include:
- Hospitals and Clinics
- Private Practices
Geography — More than just a state
Ideally you should set up your database so you can segment differently, depending on what type of message you want to send. Sample breakdowns include: city, state, county, region, etc. The more disciplined you are with your naming conventions, the simpler it will be to pull, and report on, a list.
- Territory/Region – Grouping states into a territory or region allows you to align your messaging with relevant case studies, put a name to the message using the appropriate salesperson, and have a general idea of your brand’s footprint beyond just a state-by-state focus.
- States – When tracking state information, be consistent. Restrict the data input to only allow for the state acronyms or the full state names to allow for easy segmentation and reporting output.
To take full advantage of this newly created system, define your segmentation in your original strategy.
Once the fields are in place, your analysis can start to reflect your original strategy. Segmenting your buyer persona(s) within your CRM system is a fantastic way to get an abundance of information on your target audience. It shows you their behaviors, what intrigues them enough to open your email, and what doesn’t work in easily digestible groups.
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