Thanks to more sophisticated data, brands can now meet the growing consumer demand to be treated as individuals. At the heart of this lies audience segmentation – dividing your audience into meaningful groups based on individual preferences.

This process brings brands closer to their consumers, helping them create messages that stick with their intended audience, building brand loyalty and engagement, leading to a better return on investment.

For media planners looking to reap the benefits of segmentation that works, here’s where to begin:

1. Use the most up-to-date research.

A key source of consumer insights is third party data – ranging from behavioral, such as device usage, to attitudinal, such as personal interests and values, enriching a brand’s understanding of their audience.

But trends change quickly, and it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse by tapping into the most current insights.

Just look at how quickly social media users change – As our latest social report reveals, while Twitter still proves more popular than Instagram among older age groups, Instagram is now ahead of Twitter among the critical 16-34 age group.

Keeping an eye on these trends with access to research that’s updated regularly will ensure your planning isn’t missing the mark. These up-to-date insights reveal the most effective media types, messages and channels to reach a target group, helping you to understand and anticipate trends and adapt your media planning accordingly.

2. Get creative with your segmentation.

Competition is hot for brands, from well-established multi-national players like Nike or Coca Cola, to the many disruptor brands like Uber or AirBnB who leverage technology to quickly achieve global reach.

This shift challenges businesses to look beyond traditional segments such as ‘time-poor commuters’ or ‘working mothers’ who may no longer boost sales enough to compete effectively.

It means brands need to get more creative, re-examining audience segments and seeking new opportunities to better meet the needs of different groups.

Take Britvic for example – In 2014, it launched SQUASH’D – a pocket-sized super concentrated fruit juice. The product was born out of the brand’s need to open up new opportunities for growth within the stagnant squash market, designed to meet demand for products that are convenient and on-the-go and appeal to 25-35 year-old audiences who were no longer buying squash.

The move grew revenues for the Robinsons brand by £8.5m in less than 12 months.

3. Ask yourself what each segment is worth.

Understanding what each segment is worth is the key to knowing how much to invest. Once you’ve identified what you deem to be key audience segments, work out the potential value of these audiences and compare this to the cost of tailoring your content to this group.

Think of the old adage: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

Importantly, ensure that the analysis of a campaign tailored to a specific segment takes an audience-centric approach. This means looking carefully at how different audience segments perform during a campaign, rather than just focusing on the success of different media channels.

4. Know how much segmentation you need.

Segmentation enables your brand to expand its reach and target a wider audience. But the extent to which you segment your audience depends on a number of variables, including your company’s size, budget and resources, as well as the complexity of your offering.

Working out what makes a useful segment and where to focus your attention is key. Check how robust each identified segment is by asking:

  • How relevant is this group – can your offering meet its wants/needs?
  • How distinctive is it – do these individuals have characteristics sufficiently different from other segments?
  • How big is this group – is it large enough to make it worth targeting?
  • How easy is it to communicate directly with this segment?

Your answers to these questions will reveal how much segmentation will benefit your media planning and generate the greatest ROI.

Want to start segmenting the right way? Download our latest Generation Z summary report for everything you need to know about this audience.

Generation Z Report Q2 2017

You’ve read our blog, now see our platform

Every business has questions about its audiences, GWI has answers. Powered by consistent, global research, our platform is an on-demand window into their world.