Five Steps Toward a Sound Data Segmentation Strategy

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The sheer amount of Big Data—both structured and unstructured—streaming into organizations today often makes data collection and analysis an overwhelming task even for the most analytically minded business leaders. Even those organizations which have mastered the ability of gathering data, often stumble when it comes to actually taking action on the insights, making the adage “data rich, but insight poor” a stark reality for many businesses.

The problem is that despite the best intentions, business leaders are often taking the wrong approach when starting to deal with data. Already stretched marketing teams try to “dip their toes in the water” and are quick to shy away as soon as they hit a stumbling block. They quickly put data back in the ivory tower, only to be seen but not touched.

But today’s companies don’t just benefit from data-driven insights; they require them in order to compete in the marketplace. This is especially true because customers expect to receive messages that resonate with them, so shooting in the dark is no longer an option. Organizations need to dig deep into their data to determine what messages resonate with different segments. Here are five steps for a sound data segmentation strategy:

1. Start without assumptions:

Data can be tweaked to tell you what you want it to, but this is a mistake. You don’t want data to reinforce your assumptions, you want it to tell you the truth. Instead, look at data with an open mind and allow it to tell you the story. Remember that the entire purpose is to produce actionable insights that improve results, not necessarily to support the status quo.

2. Pick the most likely powerful starting point:

Once you open the door to data, you will start seeing opportunities, perhaps many of them. Make the most of your resources and pick the strategies that are most likely to yield the biggest returns based upon what the data told you.

3. Engage the proper expertise:

You need someone with Big Data knowledge and expertise, someone who is able to manipulate the data and present usable insights in an actionable format. Either hire the right people or reach out to third-party experts or partners. You also must empower your sales force to act on the insights provided.

4. Calculate the necessary resources:

Determine your desired business outcomes and then work backward to establish the resources needed to achieve those outcomes.

5. Commit to your strategy:

A common mistake that organizations make is not committing the needed resources to make their strategy a success. If you’ve followed the steps recommended here, you should have a reasonable idea of what resources will be needed to ensure success of the project. Only then will you be on your way to making your data segmentation strategy a success.