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Demographic Segmentation for Greater Email Marketing Success

May 21, 2012
By Michael Neubarth

In email marketing, segmenting prospects and using customer profiling has been found to produce higher success rates than a blanket approach. Demographic segmentation allows you to differentiate your prospects and customize your emails to achieve maximum impact.

As Mike Hotz relates, "properly targeted email messages drive three times the revenue per email of broadcast messages."

Analysts and marketing experts generally agree that a one-size-fits-all email strategy does not yield the best results. As clienttypes.com reports, “Sending out one type of email to customers with very different buying styles means that a large percentage will be wasted due to the general nature of the message. That is very costly when repeated on a daily and weekly basis.” 

In pursuing prospects, you will achieve better results by appealing to people in the market segment who are most enthusiastic and receptive to your products and offers. Demographic segmentation allows you to understand and target your prospects more precisely, which in turn allows you to hone your marketing to appeal to their specific interests, tastes, and concerns. This approach wins more business. 

As E.J. Barry advises, “The use of market segmentation should be a fundamental strategy for companies that wish to improve their sales and profit performance.” 

Moreover, as Abhijit Naik notes on buzzle.com, “among all the segmentation strategies being used today, 'demographic segmentation' seems to be the most sought-after of them all.” 

The first step in demographic segmentation is to obtain demographic data and associate it with your customer and prospect records, which is achieved through demographic appending.  There are hundreds of possible demographic attributes you can obtain, with common factors being age, gender, lifecycle stage, occupation, income, religion, race, and nationality.

For prospects who provide contact information on your website, appending demographics in real-time will enable you to create richer profiles for segmenting, targeting, and positioning.

As E.J. Barry notes, “If the segmentation system is well designed, members of a segment have similar interests, attitudes and behaviors, and they will respond similarly to elements of the marketing mix such as pricing, promotion and sales channel.”

In modern online marketing, demographic segmentation has become the key to achieving the highest customer acquisition and retention results.   Once you understand your prospects, you will be able to push the right buttons with the appropriate tone and messaging, including more effective triggered emails based on prospects’ social media activity.

As Kathryn Greengrove of Glaxo Smith Kline relates, successful marketing depends on a solid understanding of market segmentation, adding that, “Many would say that effective strategic segmentation lies at the heart of the strategic marketing process.”

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