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The era of micro-targeting B2B decision-makers with narrow targeting attributes is over. Opt-outs are surging, data collection is limited, and once-granular targeting options are fading.

It's time to face reality: Segmentation, as we know it, is dead—and marketers need to find new, better ways of creating engagement.

So, what's the game plan in this new landscape? How can we navigate this sudden shift?

Here are four essential steps for B2B marketing success in the post-segmentation era.

1. Embrace algorithms

As detailed segmentation fades away, the stars of the algorithmic age are taking center stage.

Consider generative AI and its ability to craft dynamic content that resonates deeply with each decision-maker. Add in predictive analytics, capable of crunching gigantic datasets to uncover valuable insights into buyer behavior.

Together, those tools empower us to shape and refine brand-new marketing strategies. We can harness the power of real-time insights to identify high-value prospects at the ideal moment. Then, we must drive deeper engagement—by speaking directly to each stakeholder's pain points and aspirations.

2. Unveil decision-making insights

When we use algorithms for data processing, pattern recognition, and similar tasks, we can pinpoint subtle patterns and correlations about our target decision-makers that we couldn't figure out otherwise.

For example, let's say that while analyzing data across content pieces we notice a surge of interaction on articles that discuss a specific industry challenge. From there, we can infer what the shared priorities and concerns are for our target accounts.

That type of information lets us create psychographic segments, moving beyond superficial demographics to delve deeper into the psychological drivers influencing buying decisions. Think of it as understanding the "why" behind the "what," uncovering shared attitudes and preferences for your prospects.

3. Hypothesize, test, refine

Once we've grouped our stakeholders based on shared values and interests, the next step is understanding what motivates them. For instance, if we identify a segment that prioritizes sustainability, we might guess that environmental commitment plays an important role in their purchasing decisions.

To test that idea, we can develop messages highlighting eco-friendly aspects of our product or service, whether that is sustainable materials, recyclable packaging, or industry-leading environmental initiatives. We can then track metrics, such as engagement, clickthrough, and conversion rates, to gauge the effectiveness of the message. Based on the results, we can refine our approach. If the initial messaging worked well, we might experiment with small variations. If not, we might try new hypotheses.

That iterative cycle is the cornerstone of success. As we test more hypotheses and gain more data, we can use those insights in future campaigns, making our approach more focused and effective.

The ongoing cycle of guessing, testing, and refining allows us to adapt our strategies dynamically.

4. Craft captivating content

To fully explore our hypotheses, we must have emotionally resonant content that presents the vivid ideas we want to test. That means crafting messages that connect with our target decision-makers on an emotional level. After all, B2B buying decisions are often influenced by emotions and values, too, not just logic.

For instance, imagine a video that unfolds the entire lifecycle of a product, from raw material sourcing to smart recycling. Every stage is thoughtfully narrated, shedding light on ecological considerations often overlooked by other companies.

That visual journey is a strategic message crafted to resonate with stakeholders who prioritize environmental responsibility—to build resonance and turn leads into loyal customers.

* * *

As the landscape of B2B marketing shifts once again, let's not waste time lamenting the loss of familiar tools—such as detailed segmentation. Instead, we should focus on the opportunities opening up ahead.

By harnessing the power of algorithms to uncover hidden motivations and preferences within target accounts, we can craft messages that forge real connections and build trust.

The crux of success in our current era lies in aligning with decision-maker values and evoking emotions. Now is the time to boldly test new tools and ideas—and push our creative boundaries. It's how we will unlock deeper engagement and drive results.

More Resources on Segmentation Practices

Market Segmentation: Where Companies Go Wrong and Why You Need Differential Advantage Analysis

Five Segmentation Gaffes (And How to Avoid Them)

How to Use Scenarios to Create Buyer Segments

Target-Audience Segmentation: Why You Need It and How to Do It in Five Easy Steps

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Segmentation Is Dead: Rethinking Micro-Targeting (And B2B Marketing) in the Algorithmic Age

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image of James Mullany

James Mullany is the group director of agency media at integrated performance marketing agency Beeby Clark+Meyler. An expert in direct response campaigns, James is an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University.

LinkedIn: James Mullany