Why You Need to Use AI for Needs-Based Segmentation

needs-based segmentation

On the surface, needs-based segmentation sounds intriguing and effective.

Why wouldn’t you want to segment your leads and audience based on their needs?

Once you do that, you can create effective content, distribute it, and nurture leads towards a purchase.

Unfortunately, things don’t work out so seamlessly in practice. Here’s a look at why segmenting your audience by needs often goes wrong and what you can do instead.

needs-based segmentation

What is Needs-Based Marketing?

As a concept, needs-based marketing involves segmenting your audience based on their unique problems, concerns, and potential solutions.

Seems simple enough, right? You do some reconnaissance, figure out what your audience wants, and target them with relevant content.

Here’s the biggest problem (or problems) with manual needs-based segmentation in B2B. The buyer’s journey isn’t linear. Plus, the company needs change – sometimes even while they’re going through the buying process and conducting research.

On one hand, segmenting your audience based on needs is indeed effective for creating relevant content. You can learn about your leads and potential future leads to develop hard-hitting content for them.

Once it comes time to distribute the content, however, manual needs segmentation isn’t enough.

To top it off, needs segmentation for content creation is only as good as your worst intel. If your data isn’t accurate – and for 62% of B2Bs, it’s not – that throws off your content creation strategy.

Why is AI Vital for Needs-Based Segmentation in B2B?

No matter how you slice it, when you segment your audience to deliver content, you’re working retroactively.

Instead, artificial intelligence can provide your visitors with relevant content based on their behavior, intent data, and behavior of similar past visitors.

In other words, every visitor still gets a needs-based experience because the AI system can pinpoint everything faster and more effectively than a human. Here’s a quick look at some of the algorithms:

  • Content similarity models: The algorithm watches what a visitor consumes on your site and recommends similar pieces of content.
  • Collaborative filtering: The algorithm looks for patterns in the current user, compares it to behaviors of previous visitors, and recommends similar pieces of content.
  • Session-based similarity: The algorithm follows the path the visitor takes and recommends relevant pieces of content based on the sessions of previous visitors.

But AI doesn’t just help you distribute content. It can also help you remove fake leads and purge bad data from your system.

40% of B2B databases contain massive problems like duplicate fields, missing entries, or outdated information. That causes massive problems when you try to use the data to base your content marketing strategy.

Instead of collecting a ton of information from leads, all you need is an email address. AI will use publicly sourced information to finish the rest. Plus, it can update as things change so you’re always working with fresh and exact data. Here’s a snapshot:

enrichment process

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How to Use AI for Seamless Behavioral Segmentation, Value-Based Segmentation, and Needs-Based Segmentation

If you’re not using manual (human) needs-based segmentation, how can you provide your leads with the personalized experience they expect?

Research shows 85% of buyers will completely dismiss a brand that doesn’t personalize the very first touchpoint. So what can you do to meet this need?

AI offers a few solutions to personalize every visitor experience with content recommendations. Here are a few tools you can use almost immediately.

Adaptive Content Hubs

Most blogs don’t work well with broad personalization strategies. When a visitor finishes reading a blog post, they must scroll backward through your content or browse different broad categories until something sparks their interest.

Instead, adaptive content hubs use artificial intelligence to learn about every visitor’s needs and provide personalized content recommendations.

You don’t have to follow up with leads through email quite as aggressively because they can research, learn, and educate themselves while they’re still on your page through personalized recommendations.

Self-Nurturing Landing Pages

Self-nurturing landing pages function similarly to Netflix. Instead of leaving your visitors at a dead-end and single call-to-action, self-nurturing landing pages offer your leads a continuous stream of personalized content recommendations.

Yes, it’s kind of hard to comprehend because traditional marketing tells us every landing page needs one CTA to demand instant conversions.

However, it’s important to acknowledge that over 90% of your visitors aren’t ready to commit so you need to give them the tools to nurture while they’re still on your site.

Plus, the AI system instantly identifies intent, needs, and stage of the buying cycle so it can choose content that gently guides your visitors towards a conversion.

Personalized Exit-Intent Popups

Exit-intent popups are effective but most B2Bs don’t use them properly.

No one wants to fill out a lead magnet form as they’re trying to navigate away from your website.

Instead, AI gives them a personalized popup with content recommendations. Again, the algorithms use behavioral data to detect needs, interests, and intent so it can choose content that both reduces bounce rates AND nurtures your visitors towards a purchase or lead conversion.

People are much more likely to stay on your site and eventually hand over an email address for follow up correspondence when you aren’t asking for their personal details.

Human Lead Verification

As discussed a little above, human lead verification makes sure you’re only collecting highly qualified leads and accurate data.

The beauty here is that you don’t have to ask leads for a ton of personal information like their phone number, company name, and job role. All you need is a business email and country.

Instead, the AI uses public information on LinkedIn to build comprehensive profiles AND weed out fake leads at the same time.

Use AI to Create the Valuable and Personalized Experience Your Leads Expect

Hushly AI allows you to harness the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide every visitor – whether known leads or anonymous browsers – with unique experiences.

You can easily add features like adaptive content hubs, self-nurturing landing pages, and personalized exit-intent popups to your site right now and watch lead conversions skyrocket by 51% guaranteed!

needs-based segmentation

How to Easily Create a Data-Driven B2B Segmentation Strategy

B2B segmentation strategy

Segmentation in marketing is not a new concept – technology has just changed the game at a rapid rate.

While consumer brands have always had plenty of data to work with, most businesses must rely on a couple of hundred customers at best.

Tech advancement has made the job easier but it’s still a struggle. You wouldn’t be reading this if it wasn’t.

Nielsen reported back in 2009 that B2Bs had “discovered” segmentation. Ten years on, 80% of businesses still fail to implement successful personalization strategies.

Let’s break down the basics on how to segment B2B customers and getting your B2B “demographics” in order.

Your B2B Segmentation Strategy Should Start with Clean Data

Not only do consumer brands have larger datasets, but their data also tends to have a longer shelf-life. A retail brand can reasonably assume that a parent is still going to need children’s clothes for the foreseeable future.

B2Bs don’t have that luxury.

A quarter of all B2B databases contain critical errors and 62% of all businesses are working with data that’s up to 40% wrong.

Data in B2B quickly go stale: People change jobs, companies change names and grow, and phone numbers change.

It’s critical to start with a clean database. The results of your B2B segmentation strategy will drive the personalized content you create so it’s crucial that you’re working with accurate intel.

At Hushly, we recommend getting rid of lead magnet forms and using human lead verification. Lead verification systems will ensure that you’re only collecting high-quality data from real people.

Personalization isn’t only for converting new leads. You need it to maintain the customers you already have, too.

65% of businesses say they’ll consider switching vendors if a company doesn’t make any effort to personalize communications (think blog posts, email campaigns, social media adverts). An effective segmentation strategy is vital.

How to Segment B2B Customers

Once your data is cleaned up and ready to go, you can start creating an effective B2B segmentation strategy based on your current customer base and leads.

B2B “Demographic” Segmentation

B2B demographic segmentation looks a little different than B2C. In B2B, demographic segmentation is called “firmographics.”

The firmographics you choose to segment will depend on your target audience, current customers, and business goals. Here are some of the most common B2B demographics.

  • Job title
  • Job role
  • Department
  • Location
  • Industry
  • Buying power

Those are all useful B2B demographics for account-based marketing. You can also segment based on company details.

  • Company size (employees and locations)
  • Company revenue
  • Market share
  • Public/private status
  • Profit trends
  • Years in business

Each one of these groups has unique problems and concerns. See why understanding how to segment B2B customers is so important for building loyalty AND attracting leads?

B2B Segmentation Strategy by Tier or Intent

Remember the days of Myspace and choosing your top-8 friends? We tended to pick our friends who were most similar to us, right?

Tiering your audience is kind of similar. Think of tier segmentation as the lite version of account-based marketing.

You’ll break your audience into groups based on factors like

  • How closely they resemble your ideal customer
  • Lifetime customer revenue potential
  • The lead’s intent behind visiting your website

Using intent data can help you maximize your tier-based segmentation strategy.

B2B Segmentation Strategy by Content Type

Since you’ll be using your segments as a foundation for content planning, it’s wise to break your customers up based on which type of content they like to consume.

  • Video
  • Podcasts
  • Authority blogs
  • Thought leadership
  • eBooks
  • Whitepapers
  • Email newsletters
  • Webinars

Research shows that 49% of B2B buyers watch videos during the buying journey which a whopping 91% value webinars – but buyers at which level in the company? With about seven people involved in every B2B transaction, nailing down your content segments is critical for creating the most relevant content.

Needs-Based Segmentation in B2B

Firmographics and content are important, but they don’t paint an accurate picture on their own. Instead, use behavioral data to implement needs-based segmentation in B2B buyers.

Use information based on where a lead signed up or which blog posts a customer read on your site to get an idea of their general needs.

You can also just come out and ask with surveys, but behavioral data tends to be more accurate.

Will Your B2B Segmentation Strategy Work?

Numbers and statistics mean nothing if your strategy doesn’t actually do what it’s supposed to do. Once you create a few meaningful segments, ask yourself the following questions before you start investing in content, email campaigns, or paid adverts.

Does the Segment Stand Out in a Meaningful Way?

Make sure each segment is totally unique.

Remember that you’ll be assigning future leads to each segment as well so you need to have some concrete personas figured out here either for entire teams or specific roles if you’re planning on using your B2B segmentation strategy for account-based marketing.

How Many Companies/Accounts are in Each Segment?

Of course, this will depend on your company size as well. As a general rule of thumb, however, your segments shouldn’t include just one or two companies/accounts.

It’s not cost-effective or wise to spend your time and money creating content for just two or three accounts (unless you really believe it’s worth the risk in the case of account-based marketing).

Does Each Company/Account Fit into a Single Segment?

Each company or type of account should clearly fit into a single segment. Don’t worry, your segment can have several attributes that we’ve mentioned above (ex: end-users at mid-size companies who need efficient software and consume podcasts).

The reality is that it may take you some trial and error to get the system right. Just try to make wise decisions before investing your time and energy.

Level-Up Your B2B Segmentation Strategy

Hushly makes it easy to create the personalized landing pages your leads expect. With real-time personalization features like adaptive content hubs, content bingeing, and exit intent popups, you can take your segmentation strategy to the next level with high-quality behavioral data and more!

See how Hushly works to get started!