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What is Audience Segmentation? Model, Tips and Examples

TJ Kiely

May 1, 2024

A solid audience segmentation strategy is like building a thriving farm. You need to ensure that each type of plant receives the specific care and attention it needs to flourish. The same holds true for your customers; you must meet them where they are and cater to their needs, wants, and interests.

Customers come to you through various channels for myriad reasons. They each have their own priorities, buying triggers, and decision-making processes. When you segment audiences, you’re better able to connect with them on their level, break through their internal ad blockers, and outshine your competitors.

Read on to learn more about what audience segmentation is, why it matters, and how to segment your audiences for the best results.


What is Audience Segmentation?

representation of audience segmentation through research

Audience Segmentation Definition: The process of dividing a target audience into smaller, more specific groups based on certain characteristics or behaviors.

Audience segmentation helps you identify the shared connections between various customers. For example, you might find customer niches related to:

  • Geographic location
  • Age
  • Lifestyle preferences
  • Values
  • Job title
  • Interests
  • Personality traits

By surfacing these connections, marketers can align with the unique motivations that drive customers’ buying decisions.

Why is Audience Segmentation Important?

In a crowded digital landscape where standing out is crucial, audience segmentation can be the game-changer that sets your brand apart from the competition. So, how does audience segmentation enhance your inbound marketing efforts? Quite simply, segmenting allows you to tailor your marketing messages to different types of customers. This helps you personalize communications, ultimately leading to higher engagement and conversions.

Rather than spew a mass message to everyone, you can speak directly to specific audience segments in ways that appeal to them. You can move beyond generic mass marketing strategies and hone in on what truly resonates with your audience. 

When done correctly, audience segmentation can:

Ultimately, audience segmentation empowers businesses to make more informed decisions that drive growth and success in today's competitive marketplace.

Tip: Check out our blog to learn more about the top audience segmentation tools.

Types of Audience Segmentation

representation of an audience segmented into four different groups

Companies can segment audiences in different ways. Typically, segments will fall under three categories: Demographic, Geographic, and Psychographic.

Demographic audience segmentation

Demographics are one of the oldest and most common audience segmentation examples. This involves grouping your customers based on demographic characteristics, like age, income, gender, and education level, among others.

For example, a cosmetic brand may target younger women with skincare products aimed at preventing acne, while focusing on anti-aging solutions for older women.

Or, luxury brands might target customers with a high income and education level.

Identifying the specific demographics most interested in their products or services helps businesses optimize their marketing efforts and maximize ROI.

Geographic audience segmentation

Targeting customers based on where they live is another type of marketing audience segmentation. It takes into account the local “flavors” to make messaging resonate.

Examples of geographic segmentation include:

  • Saying “soda” vs. “pop,” depending on where your audience is located
  • Country-specific product offerings that aren’t available on a global scale
  • Local community events
  • Weather-related marketing that accounts for local or regional weather patterns
  • Cultural marketing that understands holidays and customs celebrated in a specific area

Geographic audience segmentation offers valuable insights into the diverse needs and preferences of customers across different locations.

Psychographic audience segmentation

Psychographic audience segmentation goes beyond surface-level details to understand the motivations, behaviors, and psychological characteristics of customers. It aims to uncover consumers’ attitudes, interests, values, and lifestyles, all of which can influence purchases and decisions.

Examples of psychographic segmentation in marketing include:

  • Food brands targeting health-conscious consumers by touting natural ingredients
  • Lifestyle brands focusing on customers who like hiking, the beach, or international travel
  • Brands that hone in on values and beliefs, such as customers who are family-oriented, eco-conscious, or religious
  • Tailoring marketing to a specific hobby, such as woodworking or a certain sport
  • Tracking behavior patterns, such as coupon usage or responding to specific ad campaigns

In today's competitive market landscape, understanding your audience at a psychological level is essential for creating impactful marketing strategies. Creating psychographic profiles helps brands differentiate themselves from competitors and develop a nuanced approach to marketing.

How to Use Audience Segments

Understanding the purpose of marketing audience segments is the first step. The next step is knowing how to apply those segments to gain successful marketing outcomes. Let’s explore some best practices to identify, implement, and measure your success.

marketer analyzing audience segments

Use technology to identify audience segments

There’s more than one way to identify audience segments. You might combine two or more criteria to create a segment to market to. One way to do this is to use technology that will show you the customers who fall in a given category.

Technology like CRM systems, ERPs, and customer intelligence platforms like Meltwater are great places to start. You can review your own sales data and empower it with third-party intelligence to learn more about who your customers are. 

Considering looking specifically at:

  • Purchasing behaviors
  • Browsing data
  • Interests
  • Engagement level
  • Platform(s) used, such as email, social media, mobile browsing, etc.

Once you find your niche groups of customers, you can start tailoring campaigns and messages that will resonate with them.

Align segments with marketing objectives

Choosing specific marketing objectives works in tandem with identifying your audience segments. You might have a message to promote and need to find the right audience to hear it. Or, you might identify a niche audience and want to reach them with relevant products and services. 

Either way, you need to solidify this alignment early on in the process. Thorough audience segmentation analysis will help you develop clearly defined goals and allow you to personalize your messaging to your audience.

Create relevant promotions and offers

Next, develop customized offers, promotions, and incentives that appeal to the specific needs, preferences, and buying behaviors of each audience segment. This is the heart of audience segmentation, as it allows you to customize your approach based on who you’re talking to.

Don’t be afraid to test different offers and messages to identify what resonates most with each segment and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Choose the right channels to reach each segment

Once you know who you’re talking to, what you’d like to say, and what your customers should do next, you can choose the best channels to reach them. Optimize your marketing content and channels to reach each audience segment where they are most active and receptive. This might be social media, email, search engines, or other digital platforms, for example.

Think about how your audience prefers to receive content and how they engage with it. For example, some audience segments might like demo videos while others prefer to read content.

Use data and analytics to measure outcomes

Strong audience segmentation begins and ends with data. Continuously collect and analyze data on the performance and engagement of each audience segment. For example, you might measure email open rates, click-throughs, and conversions to see if your campaign hit the mark.

You can use this data to refine your future marketing campaigns and create repeatable processes for segmentation.

Tips for Effective Audience Segmentation

Target audience segmentation is like a science experiment. You’ll need to record your observations and carefully refine your approach as you discover more about what works and what doesn’t. Follow these tips to make your audience segmentation model a valuable piece of your long-term marketing strategy.

Personalize your content and messaging for each segment

Marketing to an audience segment isn’t enough to guarantee success. Your marketing campaign must align with that segment in every way possible.

Consider the imagery and language you use, as well as the timing of your campaign. For example, showcasing a glistening swimming pool to people experiencing a rainy hurricane season might work well for a travel agency aiming to attract vacationers. But it might not resonate for a patio furniture company trying to make a sale.

Maintain records of your audience segments

As you develop and refine your segments, keep track of who you’re marketing to and the results you achieve. This can help you flesh out customer personas that you can use throughout your marketing efforts and help you avoid reinventing the wheel with each campaign.

You’ll be more informed about who buys from you and why, leading to more impactful marketing in every future campaign.

Continue exploring new audience segments

Consumer preferences evolve. Competitors enter and leave the market. New needs arise. Business is an ever-changing landscape, which means audience segmentation can’t be a one-and-done objective. 

Continue finding new ways to segment your audience and reach them like never before. A/B test your segments and campaigns so you can trust you’re achieving the best outcomes possible.

And perhaps most importantly, stay updated on the latest trends, technologies, and changes in your industry so you can adapt and evolve your audience segmentation and marketing strategies accordingly.

Audience Segmentation and Meltwater

Meltwater’s consumer intelligence solution empowers your audience segmentation strategy with data-driven insights. Powered by AI, Meltwater helps you identify potential customers and the hidden connections between them, including demographic, geographic, and psychographic details. Learn more about what makes them tick, what they buy, and what they like beyond your brand so you can form more meaningful connections. 

Meltwater customer Hyundai used our platform to learn what customers are looking for in electric vehicles. The brand uncovered the values, preferences, and opinions of key segments, allowing better messaging to specific markets.

World Wildlife Fund also uses Meltwater to learn more about the diverse conservation needs around the world. As a result, the non-profit has increased its Twitter following by 1,200%, identified five categories of influencers to help promote its messaging, and developed key messages and calls to action based on audience segments.

Learn more when you request a demo by filling out the form below.