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August 25, 2015

An insight out approach to segmentation

“Males and females, 25-54 years of age, living in urban areas.” Heard this before? We have. Unfortunately, this type of description of a target audience ‘segment’ in the world of branding and marketing is as common as it is unhelpful and, rather than providing valuable insight, it simply leaves everyone to play a game of ‘guess who’.

Without any real insight into the target audience it is almost impossible to determine the best way to position a brand so that it can make a meaningful connection with their minds, their hearts and their wallets.


Guess Who - Segmentation IMage


So, once you’ve done the market research, how do you then go about creating segments that are both insightful and actionable? Here are three tips to help you get more value from your audience segmentation.

1. Focus on what makes them tick

While demographics are often important, such as if you are marketing a product designed specifically for retirees, they are rarely the most useful descriptor. For example even if your consumers do share a common age, it is more often than not the mindset or specific behaviour they share as a result of being that particular age that will provide the insight you need to connect with them. Try and start with attitudes and behaviours first, and then add in the relevant demographic descriptors that will help bring your segmentation to life.

2. Single out your target

The exercise of segmentation is of no value if you don’t then build up the courage to pick the one segment that you want to focus your efforts on to deliver on your set objectives. Make sure you bring this target segment to life in a way that both informs and inspires – try to use language that sounds less like the description on a ‘most wanted’ poster and more like the opening paragraph to a novel, with your target consumer as the protagonist. Everyone who reads your segmentation should be able to clearly picture the ideal consumer you are trying to engage.

3. Embrace the cutting room floor

Think about if you were asked to describe your best friend. You would choose your words carefully and selectively to capture what makes them unique. It is just as important to understand who the consumers in your target segment are not and the qualities / attributes they do not have, in order to understand who they really are and how they differ from other consumer groups.

Taking an insight out approach to segmentation is the best way to inspire those internal and external stakeholders responsible for managing and growing your brand to find new ways to connect with your audience. Better insights lead to better ideas. And better ideas lead to better results – no guessing about it.

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