Every organization will have huge framed posters in their front office by showcasing their mission, vision, and values. Do all of your employees think that’s what you stand for?

You also have a nice list of value proposition points in your marketing department. But, is that what your customers think of you? How do you know? Where did those value proposition statements come from? Possibly from customer research methods that deliver spurious results.

The most important thing you can optimize is your value proposition. Your value proposition is not what you write in your marketing planning documents. Your real value proposition is what your customers perceive. It’s what the world thinks of you.

Each person is different. Each of us looks at the world through different eyes. Your visitors have unique frames of reference that are colored by their perceptual filters. It’s as if they each wear different glasses that change what they’re looking at before it reaches them.

That’s true. Everyone is unique and perceives uniquely. That’s one of the reasons your small member qualitative research doesn’t apply to your overall market.

Many today are striving for a technological utopia where you can divine individuals’ uniquenesses, place each prospect into a personalized box and target him and her with self-actualizing, psychologically-triggered ultra-messages.

But, as much as technologist would have you believe that you can speak uniquely to each and magically hit their individual needs and wants, life isn’t like that. It’s not so simple, and there’s a better way.

The key is in finding relevant prospect groups. Your goal should be to find the most significant pertinent possible segments that can be aggregated. Yes, I said the “largest possible.” Gasp!

But, hang on for a moment, Satheesh. Don’t you buy into the drive to solo-segmentation?

In a word: “NO.”

But, segmentation *is* important.

Segmentation is important for relevance. But too much segmentation is harmful to your results. It’s just like carrots. You know they’re good for you, but too many could give you adverse side effects.

The most important thing you can optimize is your value proposition. And the drive to infinitesimal target segments hurts your value proposition discovery.

Customer segments allow you to group people with similar needs and information filters. As a marketer, you need to look for more commonalities among customer needs rather than just differences.

Here are the 5 reasons why you should create the most significant possible target segments: 

  • It allows you to optimize

Testing and optimization require traffic. Traffic gets much less useful when it’s split up into dozens or hundreds of tiny segments.

  • Clarity trumps personalization

Clarity of your most important value proposition is more valuable than individually unique customization. You’ll make more significant improvements with finding the right message for your product than individualizing your message.

  • Macro insights beat micro improvements

The faster you can find business-wide insights in messaging, design, layout, content, eye-flow, copywriting style, etc., the quicker you can make improvements that generate colossal revenue lift company-wide.

  • Small data lies (Trust me I’m not lying)

Too much customization is based on increasingly spurious data. You can’t know anything about a person based on a handful of actions. Over-customizing messaging increases Distraction and reduces Clarity.

  • Over-personalization is creepy

Unless you’re targeting digital marketers like yourself, who are excited to see examples of personalization, your customers are creeped out by how much you know about them.

In my previous job, I have done n number of segmentation and tried to send relevant communication to a set of 100 users as a part of lead nurturing. And I can tell you that, as mind-bendingly complex and technically you can’t personalize a content after an extent, and your messaging will become overarching.

Yes, technology and tools exist to target infinite segments. But, just as with any shiny, new marketing toy, the benefits must outweigh the costs.

Emphasize value proposition testing

Start by testing your value proposition to find out which points are most important to emphasize. Then, segment your messages with discipline, only creating new target segments that are proven to respond uniquely.

What do you think? How do you optimize your segmentation? What segmentation methods have you found most useful? Add your comment below.