How can you identify your audience segments and understand their behavior to maximize their value?

Orlando Trott
Aug 28, 2016 · 5 min read

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Media organizations, digital publishers and agencies are drowning in data from ad servers, Web analytic tools and content management systems. With volumes of data in disparate locations, many media organizations are challenged with understanding the audiences they serve. There are plenty of Web traffic stats — clicks, page views, uniques and time spent on a page — but what is often missing is the ability to distinguish the most influential variables to identify the most important audience segments. Generating insight at the audience level instead of the page level allows editorial, marketing and advertising sales departments to benefit.

Suggested article: How to build a well-rounded marketing team!

What implications does this have for ad sales or content strategies? Your advertising pricing and packaging may not be incorporating some of the most valuable, relevant audience information to advertisers. On the content side, traffic is overloaded in some existing sections, while other areas go largely unnoticed due to insufficient audience-targeted programming. A data-driven approach allows marketers to see how audiences segment based on multivariate analysis. Analytics tells which variables are most relevant from one segment to another. Without using analytics-based segmentation approaches you may be overlooking a high-value segment, misaligning content that drives high audience-engagement levels, and leaving data in multiple silos — preventing a complete view of audience segments across all channels. For starters, there are three definitions that need to be covered:

Market segmentation — market segmentation is the process of separating a market into segments or groups of consumers who are similar, but different from consumers in other groups. For instance, female consumers are different from male consumers in terms of their needs, attitudes, and lifestyles.

Target marketing — segmentation divides a market up into subgroups. Target marketing involves deciding which segments are most profitable. For instance, you might segment the market into 5 groups based on demographics — millenials, Gen X, Gen Y, Baby Boomers, and Seniors

Positioning — involves creating a product image that appeals to a target market or several target markets. For instance, you might decide to position certain products for millenials. You might use music and celebrities as an important factor for millenials.

Suggested article : We Know You, Better Than You Know You; Metadata, Analytics & Hacking The Consumer Brain

Tools of Segmentation

Commonly, we use demographic variables (age, income, education, gender, etc), geographic variables (country, city, state, neighborhood, etc), psychographic variables (lifestyle, attitudes, beliefs, etc), and behavioral variables (usage, etc).

For many years, marketers used demographic and geographic variables in defining their target markets. Now, most marketers are more sophisticated; using psychographic and behavioral variables that are MUCH more effective. We now refer to buyer personas rather than target markets.

Buyer personas are much more valuable for marketing than earlier target markets. However, they’re more difficult to construct.

Steps in Creating Buyer Personas

Constructing buyer personas involves more research to build a clear picture of the psychographics defining each persona. With rich social media data, constructing buyer personas is much more effective and less costly.

In constructing buyer personas, marketers must go beyond the superficial and use insights to create buyer personas. Marketers must understand the buyer’s personality; what TV programs they watch, what music they listen to, what their household looks like … Many firms don’t do enough research and come up with inaccurate personas. This problem preexists buyer personas and I remember firms constructing target markets comprised of:

35–60 year old women who care about clean clothes.

Not particularly insightful and likely inaccurate.

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Understanding Social Class, Lifestyle, and Personality

Social class is really a compilation of demographic characteristics. For instance, middle managers are commonly educated, own homes, send their kids to college (and maybe prep schools), they vacation via airlines or cruises, have good incomes, and busy lifestyles.

Lifestyles may be divided several ways. One of which is the 4C’s from Young and Rubican and looks like this:

Resigned — Rigid, strict, authoritarian and chauvinist values, oriented to the past and to Resigned roles. Brand choice stresses safety, familiarity and economy. (Older)

Struggler — Alienated, Struggler, disorganized — with few resources apart from physical/mechanical skills (e.g. car repair). Heavy consumers of alcohol, junk food and lotteries, also trainers. Brand choice involves impact and sensation.

Mainstreamer — Domestic, conformist, conventional, sentimental, passive, habitual. Part of the mass, favoring big and well-known value for money ‘family’ brands. Almost invariably the largest 4Cs group.

Aspirer — Materialistic, acquisitive, affiliative, oriented to extrinsics … image, appearance, charisma, persona and fashion. Attractive packaging more important than quality of contents. (Younger, clerical/sales type occupation)

Succeeder — Strong goal orientation, confidence, work ethic, organization … support status quo, stability. Brand choice based on reward, prestige — the very best . Also attracted to ‘caring’ and protective brands … stress relief. (Top management)

Explorer — Energy …autonomy, experience, challenge, new frontiers. Brand choice highlights difference, sensation, adventure, indulgence and instant effect — the first to try new brands. (Younger — student)

Reformer — Freedom from restriction, personal growth, social awareness, value for time, independent judgement, tolerance of complexity, anti-materialistic but intolerant of bad taste. Curious and enquiring, support growth of new product categories. Select brands for intrinsic quality, favoring natural simplicity, small is beautiful.(Higher Education)


We think about usage behaviors such as having Turkey at Thanksgiving in the US, as well as the 80/20 principle that says 80% of sales come from only 20% of your market. Not all markets have an 80/20, but markets like dog food — where big dogs eat most of the food — do. So does the domestic beer market.

Behavioral segmentation also includes benefits sought from a purchase. For instance, some consumers might want a simple, inexpensive computer, while others want an Apple, even though it’s more expensive, because of its reputation for innovativeness.

Using Psychographic Segmentation

Obviously, there’s no real reason for creating psychographic segments or buyer personas unless they help you market better.

Psychographic segmentation helps you in digital advertising, such as PPC and Facebook advertising, where you can select psychographic segments more likely to click or buy your product.

Psychographic segmentation helps construct products or position them in a way that makes them more appealing than competitors. Creating perceptual maps helps you understand how consumers see your brand and allows you to position your brand for maximum benefit.

Cont. → We Know You, Better Than You Know You; Metadeta, Analytics & Hacking The Consumer Brain

Are you looking to improve efficiencies within your team/business? Let’s schedule time to chat.

To read more of my thoughts around enterprise solutions, market trends, and data — follow me on Twitter.

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Data Dump

Data Dump is a repository of thoughts, insights and best practices surrounding enterprise growth, consumer data, and corporate strategy. Contact the writer []

Orlando Trott

Written by

Strategy Consultant | Follow for insights around Tech, Consumer Data & Business Analytics.

Data Dump

Data Dump

Data Dump is a repository of thoughts, insights and best practices surrounding enterprise growth, consumer data, and corporate strategy. Contact the writer []

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