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      Salesforce Marketing Cloud

      A Practical Approach to Customer Segmentation in Salesforce Marketing Cloud

      Oct 30, 2023

      5 minute read

      Customer segmentation plays a pivotal role in modern marketing scenarios.

      47.1% of companies that exceed their revenue goals have admitted to maintaining customer personas using segmentation[i].

      Therefore, businesses must use advanced tools for customer segmentation as they come with dedicated functionalities to perform the actions. Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a powerful platform that can help businesses of all sizes execute better marketing campaigns. And one of the key features of SFMC is its ability to segment customers, which allows businesses to deliver more personalized and relevant messages.

      In this blog post, we will be discussing how you can create customer segments in Marketing Cloud and a few best practices to do so.

      Leveraging Salesforce Marketing Cloud for Customer Segmentation

      Salesforce Marketing Cloud provides businesses with advanced capabilities that allow identifying, categorizing, and engaging distinct customer segments. Thus, empowering marketers to move beyond traditional practices and tailor their campaigns to maximize impact, and return on investment.

      Audience segmentation using marketing cloud

      Here are notable features that Salesforce Marketing Cloud provides for customer segmentation:

      1. Data Integration: Salesforce Marketing Cloud can integrate with a variety of data sources including your CRM system, website, and marketing automation platform. This allows you to bring together all customer data in one place, which makes it easier to segment the customers.

      2. Data Analysis: SFMC provides functionalities such as filters to select specific records, a contact builder as a drag-and-drop tool, and SQL Queries for writing custom queries to extract customer data. This allows you to identify patterns and trends in customer behavior to create more effective customer segments.

      3. Segmentation Rules: Marketing Cloud allows you to create segmentation rules set on criteria such as demographics, interests, or purchase history. Once you set the rules, they will automatically segment your customers based on their characteristics.

      4. Segmentation Reports: Salesforce Marketing Cloud provides a variety of reports that can be used to view your customer segments. These reports can help you understand your customer segments and to track the performance of your marketing campaigns.

      5. Predictive Analytics: This platform uses predictive analytics to identify customers who are more likely to take a certain action. This information can be used to create targeted segments with higher chances to convert.

      6. A/B Testing: SFMC allows A/B testing of marketing campaigns so that you can measure the effectiveness of your segments against desired results.

      Best Practices for Customer Segmentation in Marketing Cloud

      1. Start With Your Goals

      What are your objectives in implementing customer segmentation? Are you aiming to boost sales, enhance customer loyalty, or pursue other specific goals? After you have narrowed your goals, you can start to identify the customer segments that will help you achieve them.

      2. Use a Variety of Data Sources

      Don’t just rely on your CRM data when creating customer segments. You can also use data from your website, social media, and other sources to get a complete picture of your customers.

      3. Create Clear and Concise Segment Criteria

      Your segment criteria should be specific enough to identify the customers you want to target, but not so specific that they exclude too many people.

      4. Test Your Segments

      Once you have created your segments, it’s important to test them to make sure that they are working as expected. You can do this by sending a test email to a small group of customers in each segment.

      5. Use Your Segments in Your Marketing Campaigns

      Once you have tested your segments, you can start to use them in your marketing campaigns. You can use segments to target specific customers with the right message at the right time.

      6. Evaluate Your Segments Regularly

      Your customer base is constantly changing, so it’s important to reevaluate your segments. Make sure that your segments are relevant to your goals and that they are still accurately capturing your customers.

      How to Create Segments in Salesforce Marketing Cloud?

      By categorizing your customer base, you can deliver personalized experiences and targeted messages. The process of segmenting customers generally comprises 5 different categories. These include demographics, behavior, preferences, psychographics, and custom audiences.

      There are two ways to segment data in Marketing Cloud:

      • SQL Queries: SQL queries are a powerful way to segment data based on any criteria you can imagine. You could use SQL queries to segment customers by purchase history, age, gender, or any other data point that you have stored in Marketing Cloud.
      • Data Filters: Data filters are a more visual way to segment data. You can use them to create simple or complex filters using drag-and-drop features.

      Creating Customer Segments in Marketing Cloud Using SQL Queries

      To create a segment using an SQL query in Marketing Cloud, you will need to use the Automation Studio tool. Here are the steps involved:

      1. Go to Automation Studio > Create Activity.
      2. Select SQL Query.
      3. Enter a name for your search query.
      4. In the Query field, write your SQL query and click the Next button.
      5. In the TARGET DATA EXTENSION field, select the data extension in which you want to save the segmented data.

      After saving the query, you can use it to create a segment by creating a new automation that includes the SQL query activity. In the automation, you can specify the conditions to filter the data such as only including customers who have purchased a certain product in the past month.

      Once you have created the automation, run it to create the segment. The segment will be stored in a new data extension. You can then use this data extension to target your marketing campaigns or perform other analyses.

      Creating Customer Segments in Marketing Cloud Using Data Filters

      Here are the steps on how to create segmentation in Salesforce Marketing Cloud using data filters:

      Use Case: Create a data filter to segment customers by gender and purchase history in Email Studio.

      Here are the steps involved:

      1. Go to Email Studio, then Subscribers, and select Data Filters
      2. Click on Create.
      3. Provide a name for your filter in the designated field.
      4. In the Data Extension field, select the data extension that contains the data you want to segment.
      5. Drag and drop the fields that you want to use to filter the data into the filter workspace.
      6. Use the AND and OR operators to create complex filters.
      7. Click Save.

      Once you have saved the filter, you can use it to create a segment. To do this, you will need to create a new email campaign and select the filter in the Subscribers section. The campaign will only be sent to subscribers who match the filter criteria.

      Wrapping Up

      Customer segmentation is a critical component of any successful marketing campaign. It is based on a variety of data points such as demographics, interests, purchase history, and behavior. This data can help in creating segments that are highly relevant to specific customer groups. So, when you use Salesforce Marketing Cloud with the right audience segmentation, you are sure to deliver personalized marketing experiences that resonate with customers.

      Want to Unlock the Power of Personalized Campaigns With Salesforce Marketing Cloud? Talk to Us!

      Our team of seasoned Salesforce experts will help you harness the capabilities of Salesforce Marketing Cloud for effective marketing campaigns. For more questions, simply drop us an email at [email protected] and we will take it from there.

      Statistics References:

      [i] Business Wire

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