Basic Types of Segmentation for Marketing Automation - dummies

Basic Types of Segmentation for Marketing Automation

By Mathew Sweezey

Segmentations tend to be dynamic when using marketing automation. However, there are actually three main types of segmentations. Knowing your goal for each list helps you to determine how to craft your segmentation correctly. Consider the following model when determining your goal:

  • One-time use: Static segmentation

  • Keeping track of a specific action: Semi-dynamic list

  • List that needs to be regenerated every day: Fully dynamic list

Basics of static segmentation for marketing automation

Static segmentations are lists that are populated with names only once. For example, if you set up a static segmentation to find all leads who are VPs in New Jersey, your marketing automation system will find that list. But after a static list is generated, people will never be added to the list again.

This is typically the only type of list that people are familiar with before using marketing automation. The most common uses for static lists are as follows:

  • One-off campaigns: Campaigns you don’t run on a regular basis.

  • Targeted sales support: If you are supporting sales, and sales is asking for a specific email to go out, static lists are great to make quick work of the job.

  • Creating personas:Personas are a very common segmentation of people based on demographic information. They are based on data points and need to be run only once. You can get very advanced with these and make them fully dynamic, but to start, use static segmentations to create your personas.

  • Basic reporting: Segmentation can easily help you see how many people have performed a combination of specific actions, which can be helpful in reporting.

Static campaigns are the lowest level of segmentations. As you look to increase your use of marketing automation, you should consider using static lists for the aforementioned specific purposes, as well as learn to use dynamic lists for your automated programs.

Basics of semi-dynamic segmentation for marketing automation

Semi-dynamic segmentations are lists that can add more people to, but not subtract people from, the list. For example, if you set up a semi-dynamic segmentation of VPs in New Jersey, your marketing automation system will find all the people who meet the criteria and add the new people who meet the same criteria every day.

Because semi-dynamic segmentation does not allow for subtractions from the list, if someone changes a job title from VP to CMO in your database, it will not remove him or her from the list by the same automation that put that person on the list. Removing the person would require another semi-dynamic segmentation.

Some uses for semi-dynamic lists are as follows:

  • High-level segmentation on engagement: For example, if you want to keep a list of everyone who’s ever attended a specific webinar, a semi-dynamic list is a good choice because your follow-up marketing probably doesn’t depend on whether those people attend another webinar in the future.

  • Segmenting on product interest: A list of people who have shown interest in a specific product segment is a good example of a list that does not need the capability to remove people from it.

The advantage of semi-dynamic lists over fully dynamic lists is the speed at which they can run. Depending on your marketing automation tool, speed may be a large concern. Most semi-dynamic lists use less computing power and can work larger sets of data quicker. This means that your segmentations can run more times per day.

Basics of fully dynamic segmentation for marketing automation

Fully dynamic segmentation means that a person can be added and removed from the list based on the same data point changing. For example, a fully dynamic list of prospects who have visited your website in the past 30 days is a list that will grow and shrink every day, based on visits to your website.

Subtracting people from a campaign is called suppression. For example, marketers who want to subtract leads in an opportunity stage from their email blast often refer to the subtracted list as a suppression list. CRM data is a very common data field to use for suppressing leads.

Here are some good uses for fully dynamic lists:

  • Drip nurturing: When setting up a nurture list, you should use a fully dynamic list. This allows you to add people to the list and to remove them after they no longer need to be nurtured.

  • Keeping up with lead stages: Many companies break down their marketing cycle into stages. Fully dynamic lists segmented by the marketing cycle stage are always up-to-date with a clear picture of your lead funnel.

  • Estimating future lead flow: If you are using a fully dynamic list to keep up with a segment of leads with a specific score, you can easily estimate future lead flows.

  • Marketing campaign execution: When your campaign requires a conditional list of people and the list might be different from day to day, fully dynamic segmentations are a must.

  • Segmenting for personal touches: Segmentation can be very useful when trying to find your most influential and most vocal fans. Setting up segmentations to find them and keep them together makes identifying people for case studies and testimonials very easy. When looking to set up a segmentation for vocal prospects, consider looking at lead score, social engagement metrics, and overall activity as key identifiers.

  • Segmenting for reporting: Segmentation can be very helpful in reporting. By tailoring your report to a specific segment of people, you have a much more granular and specific report. For example, you could segment all prospects who ever engaged with a drip nurturing campaign and run a report to see whether they have a higher close rate than leads who do not.