- This is a two-prong assignment. It is a tourism challenge and it is a "choice...

- This is a two-prong assignment. It is a tourism challenge and it is a "choice of entertainment" challenge. Which comes first

- How would you set about segmenting the broad target audience of adults aged 20 to 40? Are there situational, occasion-based, or affinity groups that might emerge as priorities or low-hanging fruit?

- How can your recommendations be as turnkey as possible for Opry and also feel "on-brand"?

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Answer #1

"Segmenting" is a marketing term for dividing up your audience into groups according to particular criteria. The members of each group have at least one important factor in common with the other members of the same group, and that factor sets them apart from all the other groups.

The criteria that you use to determine your groups should have some relationship to how they'll respond to your message. Segmenting will help determine how you deliver your message as well as its content.

If we return to the youth violence reduction campaign referred to in the introduction, we can see several ways the different segments we need to address could be separated. "Youth" might be broken down into gang members and non-gang members, for instance, or into under-16 and 16-and-over. Your segmenting choices would depend on how different the messages might need to be to reach particular groups.

Perhaps a message delivered by a popular hip-hop group would reach most youth in the community, regardless of gang affiliation or age. But it would take a very different message and messenger to reach business people or parents. Segmenting the market can help you make sure that your message is not only getting to everyone who needs to hear it, but increases the likelihood that they will listen to it.

The easiest and cheapest social marketing strategy is to blanket the target population with a single message. Segmenting the market takes some effort and resources, and designing a campaign that appeals to several segments takes a great deal more.When some segments of the target population are easily reachable and others aren't. It may require very innovative approaches to reach homeless people, for example.When your organization has the resources and the capacity to tailor its marketing to different segments of the target audience.

Social marketers in general choose their segmenting criteria from one or more of five general categories: demographic, geographic, physical/personal history, psychographics (related to beliefs and values), and behavior.


Demographic characteristics have to do with people's vital statistics, the sort of information you might get from census figures. You can find out how many of your target population fall into different demographic categories by checking the latest census data (You can get it in the library or on line at the your local town planning office, tax records, and other public documents.

Some of the demographic categories you might look at are:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Family size
  • Ethnic/racial background
  • Income
  • Education
  • Religion
  • Employment status
  • Citizenship
  • Language spoken, if other than English


This one's simple: it refers to where people live. Often, that's an important factor in reaching a targeted group. Besides country, region (e.g. the Midwest), and state, there are some other geographic divisions you might use:

  • Area (for example, upstate) or county
  • Locality, if rural


This category includes the physical and medical characteristics and personal experiences that groups of individuals have in common that may influence their responses to social marketing.

Some of these include:

  • Physical disability.
  • Family history (including abuse, medical history, alcoholism, etc.)
  • Risk factors for diseases or for social conditions (Abused children are more likely than others to become abusive parents, for instance.)
  • Current physical and/or mental health status.


Psychographic characteristics are those that fill out demographic ones with people's lifestyles, beliefs, and values. Demographics may tell you about someone's income; psychographics tells you what she thinks the government should do with her taxes.


For a commercial marketer, behavior means behavior in relation to the product she's trying to sell: brand loyalty, how people decide to buy a certain product (its price, its quality, its reliability, its brand name), how they'll use it, whether they've bought it before, how much they know about it, etc. For a social marketer, behavior also means behavior in relation to what you're interested in, but that translates into a somewhat different set of characteristics.


Once you've defined segments, you have to determine what your targets will actually be. As always in social marketing, the best answer is to turn to the "consumers" themselves, i.e. those people whose behavior you want to change. If you examine who needs to change, whose changes can be most helpful to your campaign, and what their stances are on change, you'll have a pretty good idea whom to target. There are some formal criteria to help you make that decision.

Once commercial marketers have segmented their audience, they use four basic criteria to decide which segments to target: measurability, accessibility, substantiality , and actionability.


For a commercial marketer, this is the ability to determine whether a particular segment is large enough and has enough purchasing power to be worth pursuing. For you, it's whether change in a particular segment of the population will have a significant effect on the issue you're addressing. If your goal is to make sure that all five-year-olds in the community have had a full range of immunizations, for instance, you know you want to target their parents. But what about their grandparents or older siblings? Can you determine whether there are there enough of them, and whether they're important enough in influencing parents' decisions to make targeting them worthwhile?


Can you reach a particular segment with your message? If immunization is rare in a particular language minority community, but you have no "in's" to that community, and no one available who speaks its language, that segment is not accessible, as things stand. By the same token, a neighborhood whose residents mistrust outsiders and pay very little attention to any information that doesn't come directly from people they know is also less than accessible.

Accessibility is a matter of degree. A commercial marketer may not care if a particular segment becomes part of his customer base or not, as long as his bottom line is healthy. A social marketer may have very different feelings about a particular segment of the population, and may be willing to spend vast amounts of time to develop accessibility to that segment. Cultivating personal contacts, learning the language and culture, and spending time in the community are some of the ways that you might create access to a particular segment. They all take time, but may be worth it if that segment is important to your goals.


Is the segment large enough and likely to yield enough of a return to be worth targeting? Developing a social marketing campaign around immunization may not be worth it if only a few families have failed to immunize their children. It would make much more sense in that case to spread your message by personal contact.


The segment has to have characteristics that are distinct enough to make it possible to target a campaign specifically to it. "Parents of children under five" may not be distinct enough for a social marketing campaign to encourage immunization. You may have to target separately to teen parents, single mothers, families without health insurance, families whose locations make it difficult to get to a clinic, etc.

Besides these four basic criteria for segmenting an audience, it's important to include one other:


As described above, segments can be defined by their position on the scale of change, from lack of knowledge about the problem to maintaining the new behavior. This position, according to Alan Andreasen in Marketing Social Change, is the single most important criterion for segmenting your market.

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