Is it time to rethink your segmentation approach?

TVC’s Digital Director Nastasia Feniou discusses a thought-provoking view on why going broad could be the new narrow. 

Audience segmentation can be a digital marketer’s best friend.

Part art, part science, segmentation is about slicing and dicing audience data to deliver targeted messages to different audience segments or groups.

Having an effective segmentation strategy is a must in a world where every day the average consumer is bombarded with an estimated 5,000 ads – but most only engage with 10.

A solid strategy lets marketers map consumers by identifying differences across a common range of variables including behavioural, psychographic, demographic, geographical and attitudinal.

Different groups have different ways of consuming brand content. By using segmentation to zero in on more and more targeted groups, chances are you will see stronger performance results for your campaign.

Although segmentation can lead to increased ROI, it can be expensive from a production point of view and there is a risk of going too narrow and you overlook the business objective.

This type of segmentation approach has been used time and again for great success – we’ve done it for clients too! – but recently we’ve been drawn to the Ehrenberg-Bass view (embraced and discussed widely on WARC) that broad targeting is a better way to grow brand penetration.

The thinking from the Institute is that segmentation is largely redundant as brands share customers in line with their size, rather than based on segments they want to appeal to, or are trying to target.

They argue that when it comes to creative or media, brands should prioritise broad reach and appeal. Facebook also emphasise the importance of reach, and also relevance. For them effective segmentation is based on finding the similarities among the audience and creating a segmentation that brings people together rather than separating them out.

It’s a thought-provoking way to approach segmentation, and it’s definitely something we’re going to explore.

Whatever approach you decide on, the holy grail remains – delivering a message that resonates and makes a customer or prospect feel valued. After all, consumers may not remember what a brand said, or even when or where they said it, but they will remember how a brand made them feel.

And remember that segmentation should always be part of an actual content strategy that aligns with your business goals.

What is your view on segmentation – do you favour narrow or broad? What has worked best for your brand?


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