Want a Meaningful Targeting Strategy? Start From the Inside-Out.

Senior Vice President

“We need a better targeting strategy.” Most CMOs and marketing executives have uttered these words many times during their careers. Their sentiments reflect the desire for deeper information about the needs and wants of consumer to help drive marketing and advertising efficiency.

In the most simplified sense, targeting strategy development typically starts with an external, survey-based segmentation of the market. Marketers then choose the segments that offer the most opportunity and determine the products and services to offer each segment.


What are the inherent flaws?


Starting with external market segmentation may be an acceptable path for start-ups, devoid of legacy customers, products and brand equity, but established and growing brands risk driving their efforts far afield by segmenting and targeting based primarily on external market insights.

Unintended consequences of outwardly-oriented targeting strategies include:

  • Personas that are hard to target and can’t be linked to the existing customer base
  • Consumers’ self-reported and recalled behaviors are given too much weight and lead to faulty conclusions
  • Brands stretch in a way that may not be relatable to current customers and shareholders
  • Employees don’t feel vested in or connected to the segmentation solution that they’re being asked to act against.

Established and growing brands risk driving their efforts far afield by segmenting and targeting based primarily on external market insights.”

Why to look inward first


Savvy marketers have learned that the best path forward features a fully internalized analysis before pushing out a well-integrated segmentation. A targeting strategy should then become an additive refinement to the brands, products/services, messaging platforms, and corporate/employee cultures that have already been built and been successful. It shouldn’t be something that forces businesses away from their intrinsic make up and the core products/services that have defined their past successes.

Successful inside-out segmentation and targeting strategies include:

  • Considering elements from previous segmentations that have worked and are identifiable within the organization
  • Using internal stakeholder interviews to get a broad perspective of current market conditions, competitive threats, product-group strategies, aspirational brand extension opportunities, etc.
  • Creating a cross-functional core team to champion the segmentation throughout the organization.

Savvy marketers have learned that the best path forward features a fully internalized analysis before pushing out a well-integrated segmentation.”

Most importantly is the choice of a targetable segmentation research methodology. Radius performs 30+ strategic segmentations annually for top global brands.


Our guidance for a targetable segmentation approach includes:


  • Integrate what you already know about your current customers — the types of products they buy, where and when they engage with you, and the types of messaging and offers they respond to — with survey-based research to understand the underlying motivators
  • Use micro-segments to more precisely identify groups of consumers that profile similarly
  • Build perfectly targetable macro-segments from the micro-segments and use to score existing database
  • Profile segments deeply — include media, digital, shopper habits and trends
  • Create an algorithm to predict segment placement for consumers within the broader market

Want to learn more about creating a more meaningful targeting strategy?

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