Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” – Groucho Marx

It’s strange in some ways how similar business can be to politics. Both are too often subjective, and open to assumptions that lead people down blind-alleys. In business and marketing we all too often look for opportunities, find it everywhere, subjectively assess it, and apply strategies that we hope will work but in the end struggle to evaluate. Why?

Because like many politicians these days, we’re too often uninterested in the people we’re talking to. We assume that our hard work, expertise and passion for our products or services will automatically be recognised and valued by our hopeful customers-to-be. Logic tells us that this will never usually be true, customers are usually fickle creatures subject to their own whims and desires. But still many businesses large and small persist in following their product or ‘research’ led strategies, with little focus on the personas that make up their customer segments.

This is changing. After all, we’re all selling to people, whether in B2B or B2C businesses. Our business ‘personality’ should be able to establish a level of positive engagement with these people – because for them to become customers, first we should at least engage with them.

What is engagement in this situation however? Is it ‘reciprocal altruism’? Is it an odd form of ‘kin selection’? Maybe politics or ‘reputation protection’ come into it? Or does it simply come down to familiar marketing terms like ‘Brand Affiliation’ or ‘Cognitive Association’?

The answer is… we just don’t know, no-one does – until – we’ve produced an accurate provable value based segmentation of both our own customers and also the potential customers in our market segments.

In the modern world of content and inbound marketing, companies enthusiastically sit in workshops and brainstorm personas of the different types of customer they have or are seeking. These then become amalgams of every prejudice and self reference the participants have and at the end the group has created a series of fun titled personas to help marketing develop and target their activities.

In some cases, unfortunately this just plays into the stereo type of ‘fluffy marketers’ as these personas have no real relevance to finance, product, operations or any other department. Its just marketing making pictures again.

So what if these personas were accurate reflections of not just the customers your company has but also included the potential value to the business going forward and their likelihood to leave you. If these personas talked the language of finance and risk and operations and everyone truly bought into their accuracy. Suddenly not ‘fluffy marketing’ anymore but engaging marketing science.

Using predictive marketing analytics to create your companies value based customer segmentation and turning these into marketing personas can create a powerful common language for the organisation that clearly identifies opportunities, evaluates them and has the potential to also identify the strategies necessary to capitalise on those opportunities.

Truly understanding the people we want to engage with, finding the right opportunities and executing the right remedies. We could all use more of that…and not just in politics.

So ask yourself do you want fluffy marketing or respected science?

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