By Jane Marie O’Connor
Higher profitability is the ultimate result when developers and builders focus on segmentation, a necessary but most overlooked component in today’s success stories. When segmentation is applied with knowledge and purpose utilizing sophisticated tracking methodologies, analysis of the resulting metrics can help laser focus product and messaging like never before. It’s no longer an option; it is the way of doing business in the 21st Century.
The definition of segmentation according to Webster’s Dictionary is the process of dividing into segments. Within the 55+ housing market, many segments exist: single family homes; multi-family apartment or townhouse offerings; independent senior apartment rentals; multi-generational master planned communities; Life Care or CCRC communities and Assisted Living/ Memory Care residences. Each housing segment contains mini-segments within their operations that assist in driving business, help to analyze performance and make educated projections to forecast their future opportunities.
There are two areas of segmentation most critical to sales and marketing strategies today: CRM systems (Customer Relations Manager) and video marketing segmentation, two areas of segmentation that are universal to all of the market segments mentioned above, but surprisingly most underutilized and misunderstood in terms of their immeasurable value.
Thoughtful segmentation strategies start with having a sophisticated CRM system; there are many available from which to choose and customize. This must-have tool reveals critical analytical metrics for the various data segments listed below. The challenge becomes that the data collected for analysis is only as good as the accuracy and timely entry of information consistently fed into the CRM system. Populating the data into the CRM software is facilitated in two ways: digitally through online lead sources and website forms; and manually by sales team members.
From years of observation, I understand the challenge and resistance of team members to live and breathe in their CRM’s. Often times they misunderstand the importance of recording segments of information, largely to their own benefit. In addition, management at times does not understand the value and utilization of the collected data.
Primary analytical segments that can be pulled from a good, customized CRM system that every company should know are:
- Number of incoming leads
- Number of leads to customer/visits conversion metrics
- Daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly/annual traffic reports
- Weekly/monthly/quarterly/annual sales reports
- Average number of on-site visits to sale
- Primary market segment of buyers
- Sales data activity: all leads with their sources, inbound and outbound phone calls logged, sent emails, brochures sent (digitally or hardcopy), drip campaigns utilized, follow up schedules, appointments, notes & history of customer and categorized as A, B, or C customers with projected closing dates for pipeline monitoring and progress
- Sales cycle of customers (including averages)
- A, B, or C customer segmentation, (i.e., 0-6 months, 6-12 months, 1-2 years, etc.)
- Scripted and automated messaging to segments within CRM, i.e., A, B, or C customer messaging
The opportunity for analysis of data along with projection strategies are many. For the purpose of this discussion, I am focusing on utilizing it in a marketing and sales capacity. In that regard, the ability to slice and dice various segments within the CRM provides more targeted messaging to various segments within your database, that is, A, B, or C customers. Out of accurate segmentation comes more dynamic and resonant messaging to customers. Would you send the same message to a customer who is ready, willing and able to purchase—your “A” customer—that you would send to a customer who is on your long range “C” segment? Of course not. Messaging must resonate with the recipient in a way that raises their emotional buy in. How are today’s 55+ buyers inspired to take action? How is your messaging raising their emotional buy-in first? As we know, people buy on emotion, then justify with facts.
Video Marketing Segmentation
According to Pew Research Center, the internet represents a fundamental shift in how Americans connect with one another, gather information and conduct their day-to-day lives. 88% of those 50-65 use the internet and 73% of those 65+ are regular users. And what are they consuming? Everything video—from social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram as well as spending more time on housing websites watching video messaging.
According to Will Honan, Owner and CEO of Helix Media Marketing, it’s all about video today. “In telling one’s product story through various content mediums, there is no more powerful way to convey your messaging than through the video segment. What makes video different are the “Four E’s.”
- First, video is Engaging. It is a great way to tell stories; our brains are hard-wired to engage in storytelling.
- Second, video is Emotional. Seeing real people on camera can stimulate different emotions that the written word can’t and video provides a great opportunity to connect more emotionally with prospects and buyers.
- Third is Educational. Our brains process visual information faster than text and we store it in long term memory and text in short term memory.
- Fourth and perhaps most importantly is Empathetic. Video gives the ability to establish greater empathy with the audience by having real people talking in authentic genuine ways and getting rid of the jargon and sales speak.
Rethink, Retool, Refine
When rethinking your business strategies to position your company for greater success, retool your existing CRM’s to provide accurate, up-to-date metrics, the underutilized tool that will guide your success; refine and utilize video marketing segmentation to drive more emotional buy-in leading to increased sales absorption and higher profitability.
About Jane Marie O’Connor, MIRM, CAASH, CAPS, CSP, CMP, CPDF Analyst, CPB Analyst
Jane has been assisting builders, developers and 55+ industry professionals to Rethink, Retool and Refine their strategies for over two decades. She provides guidance to public and private builders and developers specializing in the powerful niche 55+ market segment including: strategic product and concept refinement; product development incorporating easy living design principles; marketing & sales positioning; top and mid-level management leadership coaching; and sales training and brain science services to active lifestyle communities nationally and internationally.
Jane has earned numerous awards during her career from the local to the national level for her work in the active lifestyle and seniors housing industry. She is active in numerous industry organizations locally and nationally. She is a Trustee for the 55+ Housing Resource Council of NAHB. She is a regular educator/speaker at industry events nationally and internationally.