How to cut through the marketing noise by identifying and segmenting your audience.

segmenting audienceEffective marketing requires an intricate understanding of who your audience is, and how best to reach them. With the rapid rise of the internet and its proliferation into every facet of peoples’ lives, buoyed by smartphones and social media, there are more opportunities than ever to reach your audience.

But there is a lot of noise out there, so the challenge is to have your voice heard above the crowd. This requires recognising the needs, wants and motivations of your audience so that you can personalise your communication.

Realise that your own audience may well encapsulate a lot more layers than you realise, as it includes internal stakeholders, funding sources, potential partners, community members and anyone you’d like to work with in the future.

Your goal is to find what they believe in, and then address that belief via targeted messaging, making them feel valued and understood. This is much more effective than a broad messaging approach that barely scratches the surface of audience connection, and eventually loses steam. Specific messages will always trump general information.

Personalisation results in improved customer experience, drives revenue and increases loyalty to your brand. It also enables you to achieve consistency across different communication channels.

What is audience identification?

Think about the service that you provide, and the people that you want to target. Then, take a look at the key characteristics that indicate the demographic profile of your audience.

For example, if you provide aged care services, your target audience might be those aged 75-plus. However, it doesn’t stop there. By association, you are also targeting their families, who then fall into another subset based on their age and socio-economic background. Your target audience is often bigger than you realise.

By identifying your audience and understanding their behaviour, you are better equipped to identify your most valuable customers. This is where the Pareto Principle comes into play, an idea named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who noted that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of its population.

Translated into marketing, this means that you’ll find about 20% of your audience brings in 80% of your value. Perhaps they spend the most, wield the highest influence, or have the greatest need for your services. Importantly, identifying exactly who they are gives you a clear place to start.

What does segmentation involve?

Once you have identified your audience, you need to segment it.

In the current digital climate, the need for audience segmentation has never been higher and has immeasurably improved the effectiveness of communication.

To segment your audience, you’re seeking the unique things they have in common that can be targeted with a particular message. What you want to do is create marketing personas for each audience segment. There are four key types of segmentation:

  • Demographic segmentation is market segmentation according to age, race, religion, gender, family size, ethnicity, income, and education.


  • Geographic segmentation targets audiences based on their location. You can divide your market by geographical areas, such as by city, state, country, or international region. You can also divide the market into rural, suburban, and urban market segments.


  • Psychographic segmentation is not necessarily as concrete and easily recognisable across audiences. It requires categorisation based on aspects such as personality, lifestyle and values.


  • Behavioural segmentation requires audiences to be grouped according to their behavioural patterns, which include things like the amount people spend, the products or services they use, brand awareness and loyalty. This is particularly useful for organisations that fundraise.

What are some practical tips?

Start by identifying with your team what your audience has in common, along with the gaps in your own knowledge. You could even interview select individuals to assess their opinion of your organisation.

If you have a website or social media channel, you can use digital analytics tools to track the behavioural traits of your audience online. Having a regular email newsletter is also a powerful tactic, as it identifies the customers who actively engage with your organisation.

Once you’ve gathered data on audience segmentations, test and learn. Build your segments out, making a note of each main identifying factor and the message you’ll use to target it. Test that message, and measure the results.

Measures of success include engagement of content on social media, open rate and click-through rate of emails, telephone enquiries and program enrolments.

This ability to personalise is what we unlock by identifying and segmenting our audience. By building this intricate understanding, your marketing becomes effective and cuts through the noise.


Ashley Broadway is a Senior Account Executive at Think HQ.



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