Segmentations are special database tools which allow you to define groups of your database for various purposes, including Dynamic Content. Segmentations are pre-set database divisions that run automatically in the background and are much faster than Smart Lists.
You must use Segmentations to take advantage of the Dynamic Content features of Marketo. Essentially, a Segmentation is a high-level category of your database, broken down into Segments which are the sub-categories. Marketo says “A Segmentation in Marketo refers to your target audience…Segments that define unique groups with that target audience.”
Possible Segmentations could include:
- Segmentation: Industry
- Segment: Aerospace
- Segmentation: Region
- Segment: Americas
- Segmentation: Function
- Segment: Default (or “other”)
- Segmentation: Buyer Persona
- Segment: Mary Marketing Manager (Influencer)
Segmentations apply to all Leads. A Segment will apply to only some Leads based on the criteria chosen. If a Lead does not match any of the defined Segments, it is placed in the Default Segment for that Segmentation. Thus, you may see that Default is the largest Segment in your Segmentation – this is perfectly normal. (It also might mean you need to do some data appending).
Since Segmentations apply to all Leads, whenever a Lead qualifies for a Segmentation’s Segment, it will join it automatically…but only for the first Segment it qualifies for. (I believe Marketo runs this batch nightly, however).
Why use Segmentations instead of Smart Lists? Segmentations are much faster than Smart List counts. Even with a Cached Smart List, a Segmentation is much faster. It’s more like a “dynamic” Static List. You can also check Segment changes or use the Segmentation in Flows with faster results. And finally, Segmentations enable Dynamic Content generation, which speeds up your ability to send out the right message at the right time to the right person.
Things to Know Before You Begin a Segmentation
The best practice for Segmentations is for major database divisions like Region, Product Interest, or Function. Use Smart Lists or Static Lists for more granular divisions.
Limits: 20 Segmentations with 100 Segments each. That is 20 Segmentations for all Workspaces.
Rules: Segments use Smart Lists to create hard-coded groupings for dynamic content. Choose these rules carefully because they define the Segment and the first time a Lead qualifies, it joins the Segment forever.
Priority Order Determines Segment Membership:
- Leads in the database belong to ALL Segmentations, but will only qualify for 1 segment in each Segmentation.
- The FIRST segment the lead qualifies for (based on priority order) is the one that it belongs to. The Lead can no longer join other segments.
- If a Lead does not qualify, it joins the Default Segment.
Warning: a Lead can only belong to 1 Segment in each Segmentation. The first Segment it qualifies for or the Default Segment.
How to Create a Segmentation
To create a Segmentation, follow these steps. In this example, I will create a Region Segmentation to group Leads by Americas, EMEA, and Asia.
Step 1: Go to the Lead Database
Step 2: New > New Segmentation
Step 3: Add Segments
Press Add Segment and name each segment as shown.
Step 4: Adjust Segment Priority Order
Remember, this is key to ensuring the right leads end up in the right places. If it is possible for a lead to end up in several Segments, then you absolutely need to prioritize the order. This is more likely when creating Buyer Personas or Product Interest segmentations.
Make sure you have the priority correct. The Default Segment has the lowest priority at all times; it is the catchall. The Priority order is less important for geographic adjustments, however, for a Segmentation like Employee Ranges or Business Type, you might have to use a waterfall approach to ensure borderline Leads are in the preferred spot.
Step 5: Press Create.
Now the Segmentation is available to edit. Your Segmentation is not yet operational!
Step 6: Define Each Segment
Now you need to tell Marketo which leads to put in which Segments.
Select the Segment, then use the familiar smart list filters to define each Segment. For Americas, we will use the filter Country, then copy in the countries in the Americas. You can use my handy ISO Country List for a premade list of countries for Marketo.
Each Segment looks very similar to a Smart List, except that it will become a permanent fixture of your database.
Important – certain filters are not available for use here:
- Member of Smart List (?? seriously)
Step 7: Approve the Segmentation
Once each Segment’s Rules are defined, you can go to Segmentation Actions > Approve to make this available across the system.
Approval activates a process to move each Lead into one of the three Segments, or the Default Segment. This can take some time before it is complete. Marketo will notify you or you can watch the little icons change to the green check marks.