Read the room. Analyze user data. Talk with customers. Understanding your audience is the best way to engage people with technology in a meaningful way. Without understanding users’ needs and thought processes, your digital team can only hope to create a “good idea” in a vacuum, where it is of little to no use.
But, discerning an audience’s needs and interests is no simple task. Even after you have completed audience segmentation analysis, you may have to account for a continuum of needs within that group of people. Understand their subtleties and accommodate them. Use audience definition and segmentation analysis to enhance the longevity of your digital solution.
4 Mistakes to Avoid in Audience Segmentation
Software development needs to involve some give-and-take. This is no one-way street. As a team narrows in on a problem it wants to solve, segmentation analysis defines the users it’s solution will help — the target audience. It’s fair to devote much attention to potential end-users.
But development teams should take care to provide opportunities to reverse feedback channels.
When end-users can ask as many questions as development teams, audience segmentation becomes more effective. Most importantly, it generates better software.
Not pursuing audience segmentation can diminish your ROI. When working to meet the needs of your target audience, here are some common audience segmentation mistakes to avoid.
1. Don’t Forget Your Own Needs
Sweating the details when determining effective ways to segment and serve the needs of your target audience with solution capabilities is good — to an extent. Stakeholders ideating the user experience cannot forget a key component in their layout of their digital solution: the app administrator.
Typically, a tool offers several user pathways that expose individuals to specific services and resources, depending on their needs as identified by the ideators behind the tool. The solution must also support an administrative user role that facilitates troubleshooting and general customer service interactions.
For example, a software development team designs and app for use in the mobile health industry that supports secure communication channels between patients and their doctors. The app might work great. But, what happens when a password needs to be changed or if a link is broken?
Small problems like these can derail not only the user’s pathway, but also her interest in the product as a whole. The viability of the product is compromised when channels that facilitate user-admin communication channels are nonexistent.
The take away: equip your solution with capabilities that will enhance the vitality of your product by facilitating interactions between real users and developers.
2. Scant Segmentation Analysis
It’s easy to become protective of a good idea. But when a good idea evolves in a vacuum, how good can it really be?
You’ll never know until it might be too late.
The dizzying rate at which new apps and digital solutions appear in the market can foster a culture of secrecy in some tech circles. It’s tempting to keep your idea locked up — devoid of user research, beta testing and marketing — until product launch. But these closed door meetings may threaten your ROI.
Without user feedback channels and continuous revision cycles that shape apps to meet user needs, your good idea risks missing your target audience altogether. Instead, asking for product feedback from your target audience and pursuing audience segmentation analysis will make it easier for you to respond to the real needs of your users. If your solution is off track, it’s better to find out early in your process than at the end, when a pivot may be prohibitively expensive.
3. Too Much Segmentation Analysis
In discerning user roles through audience segmentation, it’s also tempting to build out your product’s scope entirely. Ambitious types will want to incorporate full functionality from the get-go. But don’t do too much too soon.
Investing large amounts of time and resources into building out specialized features puts the product’s ability to scale later on at risk. The features of a fully realized product will hinder its ability to adapt to the needs of users as they interact with the tool. Bloated scope will cost you down the road when a significant pivot from existing functionalities must be made to adapt to user needs.
4. Failure to Advance With Software
Just as software is never finished, neither is audience segmentation analysis.
As the features and functionality of your product advance and change, your users will continue to interact with and potentially find new weaknesses in the user experience. Your improved software can support richer user role segmentation. But as each one is tweaked, evolved and added to the mix, will they all cohere at the end of the day? When one small problem is fixed, will a button change colors or a page crash?
Integrate audience segmentation analysis with QA. Include you designers and developers: adding new functionalities will influence the look of each user experience, and vice versa. Everyone needs to be on board.
Don’t Make Assumptions About Your Audience
Audience segmentation requires developers to explore the depths of their target audience’s needs. But software design can and should be a two-way street. As teams push to understand and solve an end-user’s problem, they should also give end-users the green light to enter a conversation that informs the creation of a more robust software solution.
Engaging in better audience segmentation analysis practices by consulting end-users from the target audience positions your software on the road to success.
Image Source: Unsplash, Ethan Hoover