Segmenting Demographics: Is Anybody Out There?

6 Dec

Segmenting is a huge part of planning any PR activity, even when a brand has a set desired public things can change depending on the type of campaign and the type of messaging being used. There are many different types of segmentation marketers and PR practitioners use to target the correct publics. A practitioner needs to examine the needs of the potential consumer by undertaking market research and consumer analysis, they also need to consider profiling their publics using different types of descriptors. Here are some examples:

Geographic: This involves choosing an area to target your audience e.g. where in the country, which countries in the world, whether the consumers would be urban or rural in their location.

Demographic: This is basic socio-economic information about the target publics e.g. their age, sex, occupation, income, religion, race etc. Information on different demographics can be found through different methods for example a country’s census results.

Psychographic: This takes into consideration peoples emotions, their personality traits as a group including categorising their lifestyle, social class and attitudes towards certain situations. (More can be found on this type of segmentation from Chandler readings).

 Behavioural targeting: Focusing on how a consumer already interacts with certain brands or products, and how they behave in typical situations when interacting with media or organisations.

These types of segmentation work well when used efficiently, even as ambassadors of the marketing/PR industry we know how annoying it is when we receive totally irrelevant messages through a media we are trying to enjoy. It only portrays more negative connotations than positive ones when organisations become lazy with their segmenting, for instance as a 22  year female I do not really feel it is necessary to receive online messaging promoting a drill from B&Q – but this doesn’t mean it won’t happen!

Choosing a segment depends on more then just the type of brand you are promoting. There are other things to consider when examining the campaign objectives, the campaign could be looking to attract new publics, re-launching, launching a new product, revitalising an old one etc. It is important to know clearly the desired outcomes to ensure the correct people are reached.

With the development of technology there is a new type of segmentation which PR practitioners need to include; the self selecting publics. This type of segment comes as a result of social media, more accessible technology such as online mobile devices and essentially the publics opportunity to voice their opinions more freely and publicly. This gives the consumer more of a chance to show who they are as an idividual online – something organisations and PR people should be taking advantage of. Brian Solis has some interesting views on more modern versions of public segmentation and shares some of them on his blog.  Here’s an infographic posted on the blog to help explain some ‘behaviographics’ by Brian Solis:

The method of reaching publics is changing, with media such as TV or Radio segmenting can be boiled down to traditionalistic segmentation however with online there is a lot more variety in methods (which can still be applied to other platforms). It has become less about the circulation of a media platform and more about the reach and richness of a message. Consumers are faced with so much messaging and have more control over what they listen to that without an appealing, relevant message it would be hard to communicate with anyone at all! Facebook base advertisements on  individuals interests and ‘likes’ and can target their users through a more behaviour based segmentation as well as using tactics such as sponsored stories to gain interest and richness in their messages.

There are some online tools including QuantcastWolfram and Alexa that can aid in decisions about which segments to choose and how to target these segments most efficiently. After researching, planning and actioning the segmentations made in a campaign it is important to consider the measurement of how accurately the desired publics were reached and whether the messages met the original objectives:

*This can be done by looking into the more basic facts such as number of clicks or views, or (on TV) the number of viewers at that particular time.

*There are also tools such as Sysomos which take a more modern approach to demographic analysis and look at influence of a site and their certain users as well as looking specifically at what types of viewers saw the message with information  from their age to occupation available.

*There are also measures on conversion rates i.e. when an action has been achieved after an individual has seen the promotional message.

These are just a few examples of measurement techniques that help a practitioner to prove the accuracy and effectiveness of the targeting achieved; this leads to the final stage of the process…. presenting all this information in a professional and attractive way to the client – more to come on this!

One Response to “Segmenting Demographics: Is Anybody Out There?”

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  1. Types Of Segmentation | Internet Marketing Blog - Free IM Tips and free Resources - December 6, 2011

    […] is changing, with media such as TV or Radio segmenting can be boiled down to traditionalistic Segmentation however with online there is a lot more variety in methods (which can still be applied to other […]

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