Insights News

Do you really know your audience?

By Jemma Reast, Research Director and Paulina Koppenhagen, Senior Research Executive, Insights
By Jemma Reast, Research Director and Paulina Koppenhagen, Senior Research Executive, Insights

Segments, archetypes, personas - whatever you might call it, are what you get when you divide a broad target audience into smaller groups, based on shared characteristics, needs, attitudes or behaviours. It's about moving beyond the one-size-fits-all approach and embracing the nuances that make each segment distinct and use this insight to tailor communications for maximum relevance and impact. In this blog post, we'll explore the profound value of segmentation in market research and how it can enhance communications strategies.

The importance of audience segmentation to communications strategy

Imagine speaking to a room full of people from different walks of life, each with their own preferences, experiences, and expectations. Now, consider the challenge of crafting a message that resonates with every individual in that room. This is the challenge that segmentation addresses. By dividing your audience into segments, you can develop a communications strategy that speaks directly to the heart of each group.

Segmentation allows for personalised messaging that feels relevant and engaging to the recipient. But it isn’t just about the message and content itself, segmentation analysis can also give you insight into the channels, formats and ways of learning your audience is most receptive to. Segmentation can provide helpful guidance on how to best reach the different groups of target customers, and where different groups of people like to engage with information.

“Right tactics to the right people at the right time”

- Emma Barrow, Senior Account Director, Healthcare

Challenging assumptions: Do you really know your audience?

“There is only one audience that matters”, “One campaign will work in all markets”, “I already know my audience really well” are all common assumptions that segmentation seeks to challenge, by providing data-driven insights into who your audiences really are. By understanding the composition and the nuances of each segment, you can develop a communications strategy that is both more inclusive, and more time and cost effective. It allows you to identify untapped opportunities and overlooked needs. If you ever find yourself in the situation where your current strategy stops working and you do not understand why, pause and ask yourself “Do I really know my audience?” Relying on gut feelings, outdated research and common stereotypes about your audience can lead to missteps that alienate people you would like to connect to.

“We need to be helping our clients challenge the status quo, and be asking if they really know their customer base?”

-Danni Campbell, Associate Director, Insights

It's all about nuance

In the healthcare sector, we know what appeals to a HCP, might not appeal to patients, or payers needs or wants. And in the public affairs space, appealing to those working in policy is going to be a very different exercise vs public engagement activities.

Of course, demographics of an audience matter, but so do their attitudes and behaviours. The communication strategy used for one group of prescribers may not be suitable for all in a prescribing position. And how you may position information to one member of advisory board may be entirely different to another. We therefore need to understand a customer's behaviours and the reasons behind them to design suitable communications. A message that motivates one segment might be irrelevant or even off-putting to another. The subtle differences in language, tone, and imagery – the attention to detail - can be the deciding factor in a campaign's success, turning passive observers into active participants and brand advocates. Segmentation uncovers these critical nuances.

It’s value for businesses in more ways than one

Segmentation market research is more than just a tool; it's a lens through which to view your entire communications strategy and planning. In a landscape where personalisation is paramount, segmentation is not just valuable – it’s vital.

This ability to create more targeted messaging and contribute to omnichannel strategies help brands to identify where to effectively spend their budgets and not waste it. Digital transformation and disruption, such as the rise of big data, commercialisation of digital platforms, and expansion of the number and demographic of users, means tailored communications are more important than ever.

Whether you're thinking about omnichannel, a new digital strategy, a local or global campaign, segmentation can cut through the noise to help reach the customers who matter.

Ultimately, it can help organisations across their whole communications planning to identify what to say, how to say it and where to reach different target audiences. 

Madano will be presenting our approach to nuanced and creatively delivered segmentation at MRS's Storytelling Conference on 13th June, get your tickets here.

If you’re interested to learn more about your customer base and potentially conduct a segmentation, please get in touch - [email protected]