When I go running, I’ll put my music on shuffle. Back in the days when I was using an iPod Nano 2, I controlled all the music stored on the device. But with my iPhone 6, I noticed something sinister: a whole bunch of odd, totally not my taste songs playing as I was trying to do speedwork. I’m sure that Apple thought it was doing me a favor, introducing me to new music, but if the company paid attention to customer segmentation, not a single one of those songs would have been automatically downloaded.

Customer segmentation is critical in content marketing. You’re not going to please all of the people all of the time, and that’s why you’re going to create content for each of your customer segments. There is not a single customer or prospect who wants to receive every single piece of content you produce. Some will want to focus solely on your HR software, while others will be interested in accounting or ERP modules.

[tweetthis url=”http://christineparizo.com/?p=495″]There is not a single person who wants to receive every single piece of content you produce.[/tweetthis]

Additionally, customers and prospects will be at different stages in the buying process. Some will be just starting their research and may not even know they have a problem, or how to put their problems into words. Others will be longtime customers interested in upgrades or general support. And, of course, there is everyone in between, pricing options and talking to your sales team and trying to learn exactly how your product will solve their business problems. That’s a lot of customer segmentation.

Fortunately, you have more tools for customer segmentation at your disposal than Apple apparently uses. (I’m in the dark as to how my most recent downloads, which are Taylor Swift, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Elle King – okay, and a ton of 90s pop, would indicate that I’m interested in indie rock or electronica.) When prospects visit your site and download a white paper, they indicate what they’re interested in on the email capture form or simply from the download itself. A prospect downloads a white paper on HR management software, and you automatically know she’s interested in receiving information ONLY on that. Your email capture form can also ask your prospects when they plan to buy, which can help your sales team know when to start calling. That way, you don’t blanket your prospect with every blog post, newsletter, or email campaign you produce, nor do your sales people start calling too early.

When you’re working on your next campaign, work on proper customer segmentation. Don’t try to be everything to everybody – and don’t send everything to everybody. I doubt they’ll be as irritated as I was, angrily hitting the skip button as I ran and deleting a bunch of not-my-taste songs from my iPhone as I rehydrated, but it is a pain in the neck to be constantly wading through emails and content that doesn’t mesh with a current situation.

You can even take that a step further on your website and segment your content by product. Instead of a generic “white papers” or “resources” section, sort the resources by product or solution set. Make them easy to find. Ask for information in your email capture form – but not too much. Then segment your customers, offer them what they want – and then build a relationship with them before you start suggesting indie rock or electronica or a cool new CRM module.