Marketing roles are confounded from the noise produced by social and new media, both of which are treated like a shouting match by many companies. Having a presence isn’t enough. Having a strong presence with active involvement doesn’t cut it either. It only adds to the noise.

The problem with all these measures is that it fails in being able to isolate a target market. It’s akin to setting up shop and calling out to a client base when the fog’s too thick to see who’s out there. In order to get it right, companies need to be able to identify their core customer base. Once that’s done, businesses can take a tactical approach that does two things: (1) establish market segmentation, and (2) strategize campaign implementation.

When a company segments the market, it means they’re stepping away from a marketing plan with wide appeal. No company will appeal to everyone, and as such it’s a waste of time and other resources to try and appeal to a general consumer base. Segmentation is also often used to develop several different types of customer profiles. The average business can safely segment their customers into 4 categories: geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral. Geographically, an owner might target customers in a specific zip code, while in a demographic market segmentation research he might discover that his best bet is targeting married couples above a certain income. Alternatively, psychological segmentation targets personality and lifestyle whereas behavioral profiling “analyzes characteristics such as desired product benefits, price sensitivity and brand loyalty,” which are best used to determine buying patterns.

The next step is digging elbow deep into research tactics that produce a wealth of data about your customer base, which you can then segment into appropriate profiles. There are several winning strategies out there and key among them is the survey. Surveys should include a diverse panel of target types, including “current customers, past customers, non-purchasing prospects, in-process prospects, leads, and website visitors.” What gets filtered into a survey depends largely on when you’re requesting a survey. General surveys should cover a broad range of issues. They should include questions that specify demographics and other factors that would help marketers segment the profile. Because it can be challenging to solicit survey replies, marketers should take advantage of key opportunities to get survey responses. These are post meeting and post sale surveys; the latter can also include surveys 3-6 months post encounter to ensure continued customer satisfaction and take advantage of any opportunities for a follow up transaction.

To get the best segmentation results that can help further campaign reach, try and create unique surveys per business type. As a rule of thumb, customers can get 25 or fewer questions; prospects 15 or fewer; and leads 10 or fewer. The result of any survey is to help flesh out a profile, which will be particularly useful when “targeting ad buys; writing effective marketing messages; creating promotions and purchase incentives; developing and pricing products and assessing competitive threats.”