Specializing in Audience Segmentation

Audience segmentation is a process of dividing people into homogeneous subgroups based upon defined criterion such as product usage, demographics, psychographics, communication behaviors and media use. Audience segmentation is used in commercial marketing so advertisers can design and tailor products and services that satisfy the targeted groups. In social marketing, audiences are segmented into subgroups and assumed to have similar interests, needs and behavioral patterns and this assumption allows social marketers to design relevant health or social messages that influence the people to adopt recommended behaviors. Audience segmentation is widely accepted as a fundamental strategy in communication campaigns to influence health and social change. Audience segmentation makes campaign efforts more effective when messages are tailored to the distinct subgroups and more efficient when the target audience is selected based on their susceptibility and receptivity.

Audience segmentation strategy is driven by the goal of developing criteria that can be used to form homogeneous clusters. The most common criteria used are demographics (age, level of education, income, ethnicity and gender) and geography (region, county, census tract). Since an audience segment that is derived exclusively from demographics such as Asian-American youths constitutes a large group that still has varied beliefs, values and behavior, demographics may not be sufficient as segmentation criteria.More sophisticated segmentation strategies use psychosocial, behavioral and psychographics (personality, values, attitudes, interests, level of readiness for change and lifestyles) as variables to categorize audience subgroups. Once the audience has been divided into segments based on selected criteria, campaigns are then designed and communication channels are selected to reach their intended audience effectively.

Grunig's model of segmentation Grunig proposed a theory-based model of segmentation which comprises a series of inner and outer nests. The inner nests contain (a) individuals (individual communication behaviors and effects) and (b) publics (groups of people sharing common interests and issues). The outer nests consist of (c) communities, (d) psychographics, lifestyles and subcultures, and social relationships, (e) geodemographics, (f) demographics/social categories and (g) mass audience. The nests display increasing specificity instead of generality as they move towards the inner center; more specificity provides more audience details and insights that allow communication campaigns to create more precise messages for the target audience.