The root of any successful brand is understanding your customers. To successfully understand your customers, you must be able to accurately identify and target your desired audience. You can target your audience in many ways, and one of the best ways to organize your efforts is by using collected data to inform your target audience segments. These “segments” are essentially the grouping of your overall audience pool into smaller “sub-segments” of customers with similar characteristics which are more specific and often include demographics or behaviors.
In the 2022 markets, the common consumer is multi-dimensional and does not fit “cleanly” into one general audience segment. Because of this, many companies are turning towards data collection to aid their efforts to accurately target their audiences.
Identifying Your Software Tech Target Audience
Your target audience is essentially the customer pool that you want to buy your products, or more precisely, the audience that you center your products and brand around. To narrow down your target audience, you want to ask yourself:
- What software need does my tech firm fulfill for customers?
- Who is likely to be interested in my products?
- What makes my technology better for consumers than the competition?
When answering these questions, the more specific you can answer the more accurate your determined target audience will be. When looking closely at your ideal consumers that make up your target audience, it is important to consider segments such as:
- Education status
- Physical location
- Religious affiliation
- Relationship status
These are the most basic audience segments that many brands begin with, and nowadays marketing teams must keep in mind that many of these general audience segments have endless variations that overlap and create “offshoot” segments within themselves, which ultimately makes modern target audiences multilayered and more complex. These complex target audience segments require diligent care to correctly identify, and when done so correctly the results can contribute to brand awareness and generate sales – ultimately driving company success.
The Basics of Audience Segmentation
Audience segments begin as general – with age or physical location, etc. – and then within those broader segments there are even more refined “sub-segments” that are more complex and involve multiple customer characteristics. For example, your brand could target 18–30-year-old women, and then within that segment of age and gender there are many sub-segments such as:
- 18-30-year-old women who go to the gym
- 18-30-year-old women who most frequently use social media
- 18-30-year-old women that own a dog
- 18-30-year-old women that travel regularly
While all of these different 18–30-year-old women all share the same general segment of their age and gender, they all have differing sub-segments which make them easier and more distinct for brands to effectively target. Likewise, it is important to note that some of these sub-segments could overlap – i.e., 18–30-year-old women who own a dog AND travel frequently. With an audience segment this specific, your products would have to appeal to a need that dog owners experience while traveling – other products that do not fall into this demographic from your brand would then need to be marketed and segmented uniquely, such as with a product for women who own dogs but work from home. While the general segment of your target audience for this product remains the same – women who own dogs – this time the subject has differing needs as someone who works from home, and therefore is in a different sub-segment of your overall company’s target audience.
How Data Collection Can Inform Audience Segmentation
When it comes to identifying the unique audience segments for your target audience, the key is to use solid research and collected data to inform your decision. Today, collecting data on audiences has never been easier. With social media becoming increasingly more popular with every new trend that arises, it is easier to connect with and engage customers than ever before. As of 2022, there are an estimated 3.96 billion social media users – and the online behavior of each of these users is constantly being recorded and analyzed to be translated into usable data.
With social media, companies are able to launch paid or organic marketing and branding campaigns and then immediately begin seeing how consumer interactions with the content translate into data that can be used to inform branding/product alterations or changes. With social media being readily available at the consumer’s whim, data is constantly being collected. From what type of content you follow and interact with and even what other websites you visit on your browser, there is seemingly infinite data to be collected about consumers, their habits, and their needs.
Data collection can be used to segment your audience with ease, as it essentially already narrows down your segments for you, to an extent. You can take all data you have available about your consumers or those who interact with your content and products and closely examine what different characteristics have combined to make them a member of your target audience. Through social media, you can see your customers’:
- Behaviors – including emotions
- Spending Habits
From here, you can organize your general segments into more specific sub-segments. Being able to identify and understand your customers on a more personal, detailed level via social media allows you to structure your marketing efforts to be more successful when run, as they are polished to appeal to your specific identified audience segments. You must also take into consideration the customers’ overall digital behavior – online shopping habits, communication preferences, news material interests, and so forth – as well as the consumers’ offline behavior, both of which influence your audience segments substantially.
Although social media may be the easiest way to gather data that will allow you to successfully segment your target audience, when it comes to the 2022 consumer, it is important to use multiple methods of data collection to gain the most accurate understanding of your customers. Data can be collected via internal methods or can be purchased or obtained via a third party, which is where the selling and transmitting of customer data comes into the picture. The use and transfer of this data is done with the consumers’ permission, as it is stated in the policies and permissions provided by companies who collect, analyze, and transfer data. Having consumer data from a variety of sources allows you to understand your consumer and their behaviors, interests, and needs in a more universal way. You can gain a more complete understanding of your customers’ identities, and from there you can effectively pinpoint your target audience segments in a way that encourages traffic and generates sales.
Data Collection in Software Technology
Data collection and transmitting is especially easy for software technology firms, because they are the brains and power behind the platforms and systems to facilitate data collection, analysis, and transfer. Whether your tech company specializes in web browsers, antivirus, databases, word processors, or one of the many different software applications, there is data to be gathered and interpreted. You can collect data about your users that can be used to inform software updates and future products and can also gather data that can be sold and traded with other software technology companies and related industries. The beauty of data collection for software technology brands is the ease of integration into their products and services. As with social media, software tech brands can build automatic data collecting functions into their products, streamlining the process and removing the need for a “middle man” when it comes to data collection and audience segmentation.
How Audience Segmentation Can Yield Data
Audience segmentation can yield data itself as well. For starters, with each marketing and branding effort, data on its success – and what made the campaign successful – can be collected and analyzed to inform future updates to your strategies. For example, say you run a paid advertising campaign on the websites of 3 different companies from 3 different industries. From that campaign, you have collected who interacted with your ad, from which site, and how many times your ad was viewed but NOT interacted with. This data is produced by a more general segmentation of your target audience, and it can be used to inform future efforts so that your company can narrow down your target audience segments to be as direct as possible – generating the most success.
Every time consumers interact with your material – webpages, social media content, and more – you are generating new data to analyze when it comes to your audience and their identity. Not only can this data be used to gain insight into your target audience, but it can also be used to innovate your products and services to offer nothing but the best to your consumers.
How to Benefit the Most from Audience Segmentation
When it comes to audience segmentation for any brand, it is crucial that you take time during the data collection and analysis processes to identify specifics when it comes to your ideal and current consumers. You should consider what type of consumer currently buys your products, as well as what type of consumer you want to draw in with your products. The secret to saving time in the long run is to take the time to carefully research and collect consumer data to get the most complete and clear understanding of your audience. By doing so, you are going to hit the mark the first time, thus avoiding having to return to refresh your strategy frequently and allowing you to focus on making sales and forming long-term consumer relationships.
Audience segments are constantly evolving to grow along with your consumers and their changing needs and interests. As a result, you must periodically revisit your designated audience segments to update them and keep them relevant. Gaining insight into how your target audience has changed over time can be quite simple, as you have already identified the general segments of your target audience, and instead are updating how their habits, emotions, and needs have changed. One of the best methods to gain an understanding of how your audience currently feels about your company and what their current needs are is by conducting customer surveys. With the ability to easily send customers online surveys that immediately forward their results back to management, you can ask questions that apply specifically to your software, and your consumers can give the amount of feedback they feel is necessary. With customer surveys you should consider prompts such as:
- What brought the customer to your company?
- What software need was the customer hoping to fulfill – and did you meet that need?
- What was the deciding factor in choosing your software?
- Does the customer feel confident in recommending your software to others?
Because consumer surveys are typically sent to those who have already done business with your company, they are excellent for understanding how to maintain customer partnerships, but also give a lot of insight into how successfully you have identified and utilized your unique audience segments. The secret to gaining the most benefits from audience segmentation is to do your research diligently and establish a stable strategy for refining and maintaining accurate and distinct segments of your target audience over time.
Audience Segmentation at its Core
All in all, the secret to a strong software technology brand is a clear and cohesive understanding of your target audience, and all the characteristics, behaviors, habits, and needs that make up their identity. Every consumer is unique, and because of this your target audience will consist of many audience “segments” that categorize your overall audience pool into smaller groups of customers with similar, more specific characteristics, to effectively identify and target your products and services towards them successfully.
Using data collection to inform your audience segments can help your brand market its products and services accurately, reaching the correct audience in a meaningful and memorable way that generates business. Identifying your distinct audience can be tricky, and hiring the help of an experienced marketing firm can help you navigate the process a lot more seamlessly. The right agency can help you collect and analyze useful data to pinpoint your company’s precise audience segments and see the maximum benefits from your efforts.
About Millennium Agency
Millennium Agency is a nationally recognized, top woman-led boutique creative branding, storytelling/messaging and digital marketing strategy firm with a passion for accelerating your business growth. By uniting creative branding and data analytics, our expert teams combine your vision with our marketing expertise and methodology to deliver exceptional results. With offices in Boston and New Hampshire, and a worldwide presence, the professionals at Millennium Agency would like to learn more about your business. Visit www.mill.agency or book time here.