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Segmenting consumers

Segmentation divides existing and potential customers into groups of similar individuals, helping marketers target audiences based on specific characteristics and needs. There are different types of segmentation, but the most common include demographic, socio-economic, geodemographic, behavioural, psychographic, lifestage and lifestyle. Segmentation aims to identify potentially lucrative consumer subgroups – those likely to be most profitable or with growth potential. Insights from segmentation are used to support marketing strategy development, NPD and product or service positioning.

Key Reading

Important papers from across the Warc database

This best practice paper provides an overview of segmentation. It discusses using it to identify groups of potential customers who are clustered around common traits, understanding how they may best be reached and how they will respond to different messages and appeals.
Byron Sharp argues that brands with quite different features end up selling to the same people as rivals.
A guide to segmenting consumers and embedding segments across a business.
Why people's lifestyles and mindsets are more important than gender, age and income as predictors.

Case Study

This case study explains how The Sun, the British newspaper, successfully introduced charges for a previously free fantasy football platform by using influencers and social media ads.

Case Study

This case study shows how M&S, a retailer brand, revamped Mrs Claus to suit 21st century women and thus increase clothing sales across the UK.

Case Study

This case study shows how Trinity Mirror, a news publisher, redefined the UK mass media market and positioned itself as a gateway for advertising businesses to engage with it through media placements.

Case Study

This case study shows how Domino's, a pizza delivery service, shifted its practical tone of communications to become the UK consumer's ally when creating special moments with loved ones.

Case Study

This case study shows how Fitness First, a health club brand, used data segmentation to identify its core UK audience and provide a more tailored service.

Case Study

This case study explains how Volkswagen increased sales of its Amarok truck model in Australia by challenging perceptions of the truck in an initially unbranded campaign targeting tradespeople.
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This event report explores two aspects of targeting consumers, whether it ought to be used sparingly with a priority for reaching new consumers, or whether budgetary restrictions demand a more careful strategy, one that seeks engagement.


This paper provides a best practice guide to applying segmentation to a media strategy, which enables marketers to increase the relevance of communications by delivering the right message or content to the desired target audience.


This article explores the concept of age, specifically in terms of 16-19 year olds and those over 65, in relation to branding, personal attitudes and perceptions, and responses to music.


In this article, the author adds her own contributions on how to use data to gain human insight into customer needs.


This article looks at what programmatic can do to move away from the relentless targeting that ultimately only alienates consumers, and become better targeted and tailored messaging welcomed by its audience.
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  1. Article

    This article considers the hype attached to the belief that Millennials are unlike any other generation, and finds that the majority of the cohort are much like older compatriots - unless they are affluent.

  2. Article

    This article shows that marketers are ill served by traditional demographics when dealing with millennials and could get better results if they adopted attitudinal segmentation.

  3. Article

    This paper looks at millennials in America, considering their past, present, and future, as the country's 'most promising generation,' and warns against overgeneralization.

  4. Article

    This paper provides an overview of segmentation and the way in which it is used to identify groups of potential customers who are clustered around common, identifiable traits, and to understand how they may best be reached and how they will respond to different messages and appeals.

  5. Article

    This best practice guide looks at how brands can build long-term loyalty in a marketing environment that has often relied on short-term rewards.

  6. Article

    This paper sets out research undertaken by Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) in Northern Europe to better understand the lives and needs of millennials, how these build into trends and how VIMN can best serve this group.

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