The Differences Between Behavioral Segmentation and Audience Segments

Behavior-based marketing tactics are commonly broken down to ‘fixed audience segments’, and ‘behavioral segmentation’. It’s important for marketers to understand the differences and correlations between the two. In a general sense, fixed audience segment marketing involves building a list of prospects based on their profiles and marketing to them, while behavioral segmentation includes marketing to anyone who fits a targeted behavioral pattern.

To illustrate: A new video game product is being marketed. Conventional wisdom indicates 18 to 35-year-old males would be the ideal target demographic. However, profit is lost by ignoring huge segments including women and those outside the age bracket. Thus, it is important to consider marketing to individuals who exhibit targeted behaviors. Attraction to the pre-release social media buzz, clicks on the Get a Sneak Peek! banner ad, website visits, and people who previously purchased products etc. gives explicit behavioral cues to the video game’s desired target market.

Let’s now take a closer look at marketing segmentation:

Audience Segments

Audience segmentation describes the process of dividing an audience into smaller clusters. Segmentation is determined by characteristics, needs, and desires chosen according to an organization’s communication objectives. Further, audience segmentation assumes different groups of audience boast different characteristics that influence the extent to which they pay attention to, understand and act on different messages. Marketers should determine which communication channels are likely to be the most effective in reaching the intended audience, a process commonly referred to as targeting

Different audiences have different communication needs. Additionally, different segments of audiences require different communication needs. Marketing has evolved from the days of one-message-fits-all. That evolution enables message targeting specifically to the needs of different audience segments – internally and externally.

Behavioral Segmentation

To get beyond simple demographics, marketers need to think about what makes one individual different from another. Although demographic facts help group similar prospects, they are not what distinguish them apart. What makes each prospect an individual is what goes on below the surface – in the hearts and minds. People demonstrate those aspects through behaviors.

Forms of Behavioral Segmentation:

  • Benefits Sought The demographic is broken down based on a sought-after product’s benefits.
  • LoyaltyEngagement metrics can be an indicator of loyalty.
  • Usage Rate Targeting based on consumers’ usage (heavy usage, moderate usage or lesser usage).

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