Demographic segmentation still rules

Despite all the lip service being paid to behavioral targeting, segmenting by age, gender, and income still pays the biggest dividends in targeted marketing campaigns, according to marketers responding to a new survey.

Demographic segmentation of their email marketing efforts returned the best results, said 39% of the nearly 300 enterprise-level marketers surveyed by Lyris for its 2012 Digital Optimizer Survey. The next most effective segmentations were purchase history (28%), open rates (26%), and click-through rates (25%).

The methods direct marketers use to evaluate what’s effective could be called into question, however. Half of them said they tested 25% or less of their campaigns, with 10% admitting to doing no testing at all.

Even so, corporate silos still block the way to better marketing through Big Data, says Lyris CMO Alex Lustberg. “Everybody understands that we need to do more of it, but it’s just difficult to get behavioral segmentation,” he says. “It’s the disconnected nature of the digital marketing landscape. We’re all going to make use of social data, but at the end of the day it’s different teams, budgets, and databases.”

Mining the data generated by social media may remain a work in progress, but marketers are very much involved in the medium. More than 80% of those polled said they’ve deployed programs on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Pinterest registered the lowest level of usage at 54%. Facebook will continue to receive the bulk of respondents’ attention and funds in 2013, with 51% saying they would increase spending on the network. Next on marketer’s lists for spending hikes came Twitter and Youtube.

Large percentages of marketers said they found value in integrating social media with traditional email campaigns. More than two thirds said the most effective tactic was communicating the same message in emails and on Twitter and Facebook.

More than half of respondents said they currently integrate CRM with emails or plan to in the near future. The top three types of CRM behavioral data effective for engaging customers, they said, was email behavior (48%), transactional data (43%), and Web behavior (39%).

“They’re not just looking at lead scoring but looking at data elements that are outside of the system,” Lustberg says. “Let’s say you want to email someone who has opened three emails and bought something in the past month. That can be challenging without integration.”

Surprisingly, 39% of marketers did not know their company’s mobile marketing tactics or didn’t respond to the question. “Less than a fifth of respondents said they were focused on mobile optimization, even though they know it is a huge concern,” Lustberg says.

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