Audience Segmentation

How Marketers Refine Messaging With Audience Segmentation

Scott Dieckgraefe Insight

Marketers use the process of audience segmentation to divide prospects and customers into definable, actionable, and approachable groups based on a set of characteristics.  These characteristics can consist of demographic (e.g., Census Bureau statistics regarding income), geographic (location), psychographic (behavior based on personality or lifestyle), benefit-based (what the prospect or customer wants or needs from a particular product or service), and volume-based (the amount the audience member typically buys) traits or any combination thereof.

Marketers do this for one simple reason: people don’t think or feel the same.  What may motivate one person to act in a particular way can be of no consequence at all to another or result in a completely opposite reaction in yet another.  Because people don’t think or feel the same, successful messaging needs to speak to the prospect or customer “where they are.”

Consider a manufacturer of kitchen appliances such as a high-end stove or refrigerator.  The manufacturer sells to a distributor or retailer (i.e., reseller),  who sells to a builder/remodeler or tradesman like a plumber, who installs the product into the home of an end-user.  The manufacturer needs to provide information to all these audiences, but the messaging needs to address the different characteristics of each group.  What motivates the wholesaler or retailer is different from that of the tradesperson which, in turn, is different from the homeowner.

The appliance maker needs to be mindful – and careful – about what, how, and when they communicate to each affected player as they bring their products to market.  For instance, they may wish to stress the high-quality, luxury price of the product to the distributor or retailer as an incentive to those audiences to realize a higher profit margin than competitors’ products.

However, when communicating with the end user, they are more likely to stress the high-quality of materials used in the manufacturing process, the elegance of the product’s design, its superior performance, long-lifespan, and warranty coverage.  For tradespeople, the messaging  would likely focus on the product’s ease of installation and simplified serviceability and maintenance.

Different audiences, different needs and desires, different pain points – same product.

Then too, segmentation can be further used regarding certain aspects within one audience, such as where a prospect is in the buying cycle.  Tire-kickers and window shoppers want different information than those comparing competing products or those who are ready to purchase.  Think of the digital ads that follow you to other websites when you use a search engine to look up a particular product or service.  These “breadcrumbs” serve as reminders to get you to come back, consider the item more,  and, hopefully, make a purchase.

So, audience segmentation is an organizational tool used by marketers and salespeople to ensure they are using the right “language” when speaking to a particular audience, that can be further used to break down aspects within each audience – say, timing or price discounts. Does your company use audience segmentation to better know and communicate your products or services?  Studio/D has years of experience in crafting messages that resonate with prospects and customers where they are in the buying cycle, helping guide them down the sales funnel from prospect to customer to repeat customer or promoter. 

Studio/D is a full-service marketing communications firm working with mid-market industrial and manufacturing clients, together with companies that support the manufacturing ecosystem. We’re a team of “makers” who simplify complex communication challenges with messaging that engages and drives results. Learn more about us at, or call our president, Scott Dieckgraefe at 314-200-2630.