E8. Segmenting Your Audience Don't overcook then undercook your audience: Social marketing & segmentation

Season #1 Episode #8

Segmenting Your Audience:  Don’t over-cook then under-cook  with social marketer Professor Alan Tapp

 The second is the three-part series exploring social marketing 

·       Professor Alan Tapp began his career in marketing in commercial direct and database marketing and for the past 15 years has taught and delivered social marketing. He currently teaches at Bristol Business School and supports Local Authorities including Dorset County Council, South Gloucestershire Council.

·       This episode ends with an example of segmentation and cancer self-care. 

·       Segmentation is a key principle in social marketing. (Remember we are not talking about social media!)

·       It is also a huge subject. 

·       Segmentation is a way of grouping or differentiating audiences. You can segment by many factors, age, gender, socio-demographic, psychographic. It is a task that needs data and as this episode reveals it is very different in the public sector

·       Public sector and commercial segmentation are different. 

o   A commercial company will draw on years of internal data sources that are shaping their products, customer experience, and marketing.  For example a club card. 

o   Public sector balances political considerations, committee-style decisions, often with few streams of market research but loads of organisation based data. 

·       Once you have segmented ….then you target. 

·       Let’s be honest segmenting costs time and energy – it’s effortful and intensive so when making decisions consider how you will capture your return on investment.

·       How do you know if you have got your return on investment? That’s right – the ‘e’ word again…evaluation. Segmentation and targeting are different but both imply evaluation….otherwise where are you getting that data from????


  • Keep it simple – don’t overcook the data and undercook the delivery. If you have core channels you will be using find out your target levels. There is no point in segmenting when you have one broadcast channel to use! 
  • Hover above – look at the whole picture
  • Get curious 
  • Get some insight work and use it to think and plan

Recommended books

Persuasion in Society Herbert Simons. 2001   

Social Marketing: From Tunes to Symphonies,  Gerald Hastings 2013 

If you would like to learn more about how to apply social marketing and behavioural science into everyday communications & marketing check out our Autumn Bootcamp.