Struggling with segmenting

This blog was posted by Chris Scott on February 27, 2015 as part of the CultureHive Digital Marketing Academy. You can find out more about the project here.

For a long time I’ve been trying to give the whole segmenting malarkey a proper go with our email lists and the DMA gave me the opportunity to do just that.

But one of the big things I learned about segmenting was just how frustrating it can be; you take the time to identify a specific section of your audience and tailor a promotion to (hopefully) make it feel like we’re catering to their needs rather than just fulfilling ours, only to have barely any of them respond to your promotion.

For most of my experiments I sent out a selection of emails trying to promote specific shows to specific audiences with only a small percentage actually opening the emails and an even smaller percentage actually coming to the event.

However, while it feels like failing there are some positives I’ve managed to take away from this:

  • While I only managed to get a small percentage of the people I emailed to come to the shows I was selling it did help me to identify members of our audience who will try other things and that I could look to develop in the future and find ways to make them feel more valued and create a huge level of loyalty.
  • I’m scrutinising our communications more, thinking about what we are saying to our audiences, who we are talking to, how would they liked to be talked, and what they actually want from us, so rather than just saying ‘this is the best show ever and you can’t miss it’ (Although we’re still guilty of saying that now and again) we are actually (trying) to say why they would actually want to come and what the benefits are for them.
  • It’s made me look at segmenting in greater details, rather than just segmenting people based on what people have been to see previously, but looking at how regularly they are coming, what they are spending their money on when they do come, and finding ways of targeting people more accurately, looking at things like Culture Segments ( to get a deeper insight into our audience and engage with them more deeply.

With any luck, the more we tinker with these things the better response we will get and the less frustrating the whole experience will become. If not, at least this experiment has shown me that even if it only has a small impact, segmenting is still worthwhile.

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