"Smart organizations will use (social) technologies to empower customers to self-segment."
Once there were three people, from different walks of life, who met a Guru. They all sought the blessings of the Guru for only one thing: happiness.
The first one, who was a sanyasin (people who renounce the world). He said: “I want happiness”. Guru replied: “Forget about “I” and “Want”, what is left is only "happiness.”
The second person, a grahastha (a householder), too made the same statement. Guru advised, “Forget about “Want” and “Happiness”, what is left is “I”. You-as-I are somebody to someone: you are a husband to your wife, father to your son, and so on. Therefore, just focus on “I” and do your duty, you will be happy”.
“I want happiness”, was again the position of the third one, who was a businessman. Guru suggested, “Forget about “I” and “Happiness”. Just focus of "wants” but of the householder, you will know how to earn money and be happy."
A business is about finding “wants” of (and or creating for) people with some purchasing power, and who have “jobs-to-do” to fulfil their role as a father, engineer, activist, or whatever identities they have for themselves, and satisfy them.
To do that, companies have to first know/define/segment who their customers are. Traditionally, they used information/variables related to age groups ("baby boomers") or purchasing power (this method is known as demography), and then based on their behaviour, and recently, on their interests-activities-opinions (called, psychographic segmentation).
With social media, companies now have a new, amazingly rich source of information to accurately define customers, by seeing what they like-share-comment. This is psychography with a social touch - I call this likeography. A recent report (titled: “ Social Media Risks and Rewards”) by Grant Thornton LLP, involving ove 100 senior-level executives from public and private companies in the US, says that the third important reason why brands used social media was to “Identity participants/customer profiling and identification”.
No algorithm or Big Data tools are required, because your (social) customers are already telling you who they are with their profiles, and likes - that is, they are “self-segmenting”!
Recently, I interviewed Michael Schrage of MIT who authored the bestseller, “Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become”. This was for Younomy’s GuruSpeak section. One of my questions was this: “Social networks like Facebook give visibility to multiple identities or interests people have. Do you think this visibility can help an organization choose the types of identities customers have and provide them platforms to nurture certain identities that are strategic to its business?”
Michael Schrage thought it was “an excellent question”. His answer: “My view is that smart organizations will use these technologies not just to better identify and 'segment' their customers but also to empower customers to 'self-segment'. This will make marketing and targeted customization/innovation more agile and cost effective. Anything that transforms the economics of customer identification, selection and segmentation should be good for a business - and industry.”
While we aim at generating leads, we could also take the lead and look at “self-segments” generated by our social customers.
Managing Partner, Younomy, Mobile: 91-9790276206