The idea of limiting an audience based on segmentation is outdated in a world where behavioral targeting, data science and machine learning can deliver relevant messages to multiple segments simultaneously, an industry veteran argues.

In an article for The WARC Guide to making segmentation work, Lance Porigow, Chief Marketing Officer, The Shipyard, observes that a traditional segmentation approach that ends up limiting penetration potential only made sense when media targeting capabilities were constrained.

The WARC Guide to making segmentation work looks at how segmentation is evolving, as brands utilise new data sources, and how marketers in markets across the globe are deploying machine learning to identify meaningful audiences. Subscribers can read the full report here.

But today, the idea of limiting your audience so severely upfront has become outdated, he observes. Marketers need to “rethink segmentation by embracing a real-world, data-based, consumer-behavior-driven approach”, he states in his article, No consumer left behind: Targeting all prospects with reverse segmentation.

“By leveraging the data-based approach of scientific explorers, we find over and over again that the people who respond to our brand actually represent a much bigger audience than we ever dreamed of whilst creating typical, target-segmentation-driven personas,” he says.

“With this wider approach, we employ a ‘no consumer left behind’ strategy that allows us to identify anyone who might be interested in what we have to offer.”

And, he adds, this holds true for holds true for creative messaging as well.

One particular method The Shipyard deploys is “reverse segmentation” – layering data sets on top of each other to create segments built from the ground up based on performance – which compares favourably with traditional segmentation.

In one such exercise, for a skin care brand, the persona created by traditional research segment performed well, validating the classical, rigorous research.

“But strikingly we also found 575 additional audiences that performed just as well – and often better,” he reports.

“In fact, our best-performing multi-dimensional behavioral audience performed 340 percent better than the segmentation study-identified persona.”

The WARC Guide is a compilation of fresh new research and expert guidance with WARC’s editorial teams in New York, London, Singapore and Shanghai pulling in the best new thinking globally. It also showcases the best on WARC - case studies, best practice and data sourced from across the platform.

Sourced from WARC