Segmentation and Branding.


There has been a lot of talk about segmentation the last 30 years and now more than ever with data only a few clicks away from every desktop. Segmentation studies yield customer clusters exhibiting similar consideration and purchase behaviors. They are often given fun names and offer message and sales channel tailoring to improve marketing effectiveness. My first pass at segmentation came while working on behalf of AT&T’s corporate business, where they identified 22 different types of large corporate buying behavior. A bit much.

In branding planning, where we develop upstream strategy to organize marketing activities, we lean the other way. Against segments. We want to be aware of all buying groups and motivations but we want to address them as one. Because there is only one brand, not 22.

That said, in some brand strategy cases I have targeted a segment that is a subset of all buyers. Because I felt it to be an aspirational segment. For instance, new moms on a budget may not be able to worry about the growing landfill, but it is something they aspire to. In that case I didn’t build the brand strategy for all new moms, but I certainly took them into account.

As a rule, it’s better not to segment your target in brand strategy. But business is business and the gas pedal is the gas pedal.