- ABOUT US
You’re a unique human being with your own interests, background, and values (so am I!). You want to be treated like the specific individual you are, not like an anonymous nobody amid a faceless mass of other anonymous nobodies. We all do! It’s human nature. That’s why we like to be around people who we feel truly understand us — and the same thing is true for brands. People like brands that treat them like individuals, that make them feel seen and heard. So how do brands achieve that? Through audience segmentation.
People have always liked to be treated as individuals, but the demand for personalized, individualized messaging has exploded in recent years. With the rise of social media and customizable digital content, and an increasing disinterest in traditional hierarchies, people today just don’t respond to generic messaging anymore. This means that brands need to create messages that speak to a specific individual and their values, interests, and so on. Of course, this can be challenging, because messaging that works perfectly for a particular subset of your consumers might alienate another subset. This is where segmentation comes in.
Essentially, audience segmentation is the technique of using data about your customers and prospects to organize them into different groups based on similarities. Once you’ve divided your audience into these groups, or segments, you can create more tailored messaging for each group. You can also develop different marketing strategies and tactics based on what would be most effective for different groups.
Segmenting your target audience allows you to deploy a ton of different marketing and retention strategies that grow and strengthen your user base. With audience segmentation, you can clearly define your target audiences and then create messaging that resonates specifically with them, without alienating anybody else. Depending on the segmentation criteria you use (more on that below), you can also use segmentation to meet a specific need the customer has, which helps drive up conversion rates. Delivering tailored messaging through segmentation also builds stronger relationships with existing customers, helping to bolster customer loyalty as well as referrals and word-of-mouth growth.
In a world where people want to feel like content was created just for them, audience segmentation is the only way to come close to achieving that goal. In fact, it’s such a no-brainer that 91% of market leaders use audience segmentation!
So once you’ve decided that you want to segment your target audience, you need to make a number of decisions. The first and most important is: what criteria will you use to segment them? There’s a ton of different information you can gather about your users and prospects, so you must carefully discern which pieces of information are most relevant when it comes to your particular product or service. For instance, if you run a company that sells artisanal coffee beans, you probably wouldn’t want to segment your audience based on political or religious beliefs, but it could be helpful to segment based on employment level (they want coffee before work!), family (do they have kids? Coffee helps with that!), or location (someone in New York may be more interested in beans from a local Brooklyn roastery than one in, say, Kansas).
There are countless different criteria you can use to segment your audience, but some of the most common are:
If you want to really zero in on specific people, you can also create subgroups within your various segments. For instance, if you decide to segment by demographics, you may have a segment for married men under 40. You could further segment this by adding an education layer, dividing the group into those with no degree, a B.A., or a graduate degree. The variations and level of detail are endless!
Once you’ve decided how you want to segment your audience, it’s time to start gathering your data — data is the seed from which segments can grow. There are lots of different ways to gather data, from the old-school to the high-tech. Some options are:
Once you have your data, you can begin to create different personas based on what you’ve learned about your users. These personas should be as detailed as possible to create a thorough representation of the type of person included in this segment. For example, you might have a segment represented by a persona named “Monica,” who is a married, childless woman in her late 30s, living near a major urban center, who enjoys staying active and outdoor activities.
Personas help you communicate authentically with your target segments by transforming them from data points into flesh-and-blood people with names, families, and interests.
So segmenting your target audience requires 1) deciding how you’ll segment them; 2) gathering data; and 3) creating your segments and personas for each. Those are the broad strokes of the process, but to be truly successful with market segmentation, you should also keep in mind a few best practices:
You know who you are as a company, and that’s what makes you a good brand. But for that brand to reach the right people, you also need to know exactly who your customers are. By segmenting your audience, you’ll be halfway there.
Subscribe to our weekly blog.