By David Schneer

In his recent post Paul Wiefels of the Chasm Group blogged about the business lessons we can learn from the segmentation models utilized by the DNC and RNC in the recent presidential election. Paul’s blog correctly pointed out that the RNC concentrated on the segment they thought they could win: rural white men. To use an unpopular gun analogy, this is the “rifle” approach compared to the “shotgun” approach. And, unfortunately, many of our clients use the shotgun approach in their marketing efforts, thinking that the spray of their message will hit more ears and/or eyes, when it actually falls on deaf ears and blind eyes. Segmentation is a very powerful tool, if used correctly. Segmentation can often identify the “low-hanging fruit” (i.e., market segments ripe to hear and react to your message).

If you think segmentation isn’t right for your organization, then perhaps you believe that all current and prospective customers are alike. It’s difficult to think of an example where that is true. Often the most strategic research any company can do, segmentation needs to reveal segments that have the following characteristics to be most effective:


In the mobile computing market, for example, segmentation would provide you with information on each segment such as, but not limited to:

  • Mobile computing behavior: What devices do they use, how often, in what situations, for what purposes?
  • Mobile computing attitudes: What do they think about the experience of mobile computing? What do they like/dislike? What does it mean to them?
  • Purchase decision process: Where do they get information? What influences their decision?  What do they think about when deciding? Where do they purchase?
  • Psychographics and geo-demographics: How can we describe them, their values, and their beliefs?

Segmentation can also provide an understanding of how the segments differ. Having this detailed information about each segment would help you to specifically target those types of consumers who are most likely to purchase a given brand. That is, segmentation research can also help optimize:

  • Pricing: Where should prices be increased, or lowered to maximize profit?
  • Messaging: What product messages are most compelling to each segment, and what form is best (shelf talkers, ads, events)?
  • Distribution: How should products be distributed to maximize sales and minimize cannibalization?
  • Media: How can you most cost-effectively reach each segment (PR, advertising, internet, radio, TV, social media)?
  • New products: Identify unmet needs and learn how to most profitably meet them
  • Packaging (via targeted follow-up research)

Used properly, segmentation can streamline strategic communications aimed at consumers in a meaningful way such that they will see, hear and perhaps even act on your message. The recent election exemplifies the results segmentation and target audience marketing can deliver.

To learn more about how segmentation was used in the recent elections, read our post,  Segmentation and the Hard Lessons of Elections.

Segmentation and the Art of Target Marketing
Tagged on:     

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>