Carlos Tutiya All Posts, Insights Reports, Segmentation, Targeting Audiences

Segmentation Solutions:
How Companies of All Sizes Can Benefit


In a recent survey of marketing professionals in North America, 62 percent of respondents said improving audience segmentation to enable more precisely targeted messaging was a top priority.

Segmentation enhances audience-based targeting

As we kick off 2022, we are seeing more and more advertisers prioritize audience-based media buying strategies (ABB). Underpinning this shift is advances in technology, insights, and precision targeting with tools like intelligentVIEW. Marketers can now identify, target, and buy audiences versus buying media channels to reach audiences.

This is just the start of this trend; we are going to continue to see a dramatic shift away from traditional media channel buying to ABB strategies in the next few years.

A starting point for marketers to shift to ABB is to better understand the audiences that they want to target. This is where a flexible segmentation system can be invaluable.

According to an executive study by Bain & Company, 81% said that segmentation was a critical tool for growing profits, but fewer than 25% believed their companies used it effectively.

Six Segmentation Solutions

1: Make sure you know what you want from your segmentation.

First, segmentation is such a broadly used term and has many applications. Clarity on what business applications your segmentation will address is critical before you do anything else.

Do you want to identify audiences to acquire new customers? Is the intention to identify high value customer segments and grow them? Or do you want to tap into the motivations and emotions of consumers to guide product development and messaging? 

Many organizations fail to align at this stage and end up with expensive segmentation systems they cannot use as intended.

2: Make sure you differentiate between targets and segments

Next, defining your ‘target segment’ means first treating ‘target’ and ‘segment’ definitions separately. Think of your target as a refinement of your objective above. If your objective is to acquire new customers, your target may be simply people that buy similar types of products.

If you sell breakfast cereal, your target is people who eat cereal for breakfast. This target is pretty broad. If your brand promotes environmental sustainability, community and is premium priced you will benefit by identifying segments of the breakfast cereal eating population that express pro-environment views, demonstrate community support behaviours and are socio-economically aligned. These may indeed be their own three very distinct segments of breakfast cereal consumers.

3: Determine if an “off-the-shelf” segmentation solution is sufficient for your segmentation goals 

Ready made market segmentation systems can be highly effective interim, or even long-term solution, for many marketers. They represent an easy way to classify customers into pre-defined groups and locate “look-alike” prospects outside of the existing customer base. They can add significant value to your programs now while you evaluate more tailored options.

4: Assess your internal data resources

After you have set the expectation on what the segmentation is intended to do, it is imperative that you evaluate what first party (your own) data can help you define your targets or add value to your segmentation initiative.  If your objective is to find more customers like the ones you already have, what better source for defining your target than your existing customer data.

For example, if the objective is to attract new customers that have a specific value, then it would be prudent to attach sales dollars, transaction frequency, and product volume to the customer file.

5: If you opt for building your own segmentation, purchase relevant 2nd and 3rd party data

This can be a tricky one if you don’t already know what you need. External data can bring greater depth to your segments but enhancing your customer file with 2nd and 3rd party data can be expensive, particularly because many providers of this data restrict the purchase of selected data fields, or require that you license entire data products, regardless of how many attributes you end up using. 

Alternatively, there are new licensing models like the one offered with CiG’s intelligentVIEW, that provide access to all data attributes at postal code level for a flat rate in addition to a user-based subscription fee.  This provides analysts the flexibility and freedom to explore and assess what’s important to your segmentation process

6: Make sure your segmentation is actionable

All too often organizations build segmentation systems that are wonderful at the strategy and planning stage of audience development for a program, only to discover that they fall short in their ability to action these audiences.

If you’ve clearly defined your segmentation objective as new customer acquisition but are unable to confidently find your audience across channels at scale, executing targeted media and measuring results is impossible. Having geographic links help immensely. Segments that have postal codes, addresses or customer IDs allow greater flexibility in how they can be applied.

Gain insights into your prospects and customers with intelligentSEGMENTS

A key driver in the relaunch of intelligentVIEW and the development of intelligentSEGMENTS was delivering a flexible segmentation solution for all sizes of companies.

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