Understanding Segmentation

Mailchimp found that segmented campaigns boosted open rates by 14 percent, while increasing clicks, minimizing spam flags, and lowering bounce rates. But how do you actually segment your emails? And what strategies can you leverage to create amazing segmented email campaigns that virtually click themselves?
Reading Time: 6 minutes

According to Bain & Company, 81 percent of B2B execs believe segmentation is a core part of their growth. And those that utilize segmentation to its fullest see 10 percent higher overall profits. In the past, we’ve discussed the power of email marketing at length. But, there’s a common thread connecting posts like “Are Your Business Emails Landing in Spam?,” “Best Email Subject Lines,” and “Crafting Competitive Prospecting Sequences.” It’s segmentation. In fact, segmentation is the key to nearly all successful marketing campaigns.

We’re not just blowing smoke. Mailchimp (which holds virtually half the world’s business email data) found that segmented campaigns boosted open rates by 14 percent, while increasing clicks, minimizing spam flags, and lowering bounce rates. In other words, the data doesn’t lie. Segmentation works. But how do you actually segment your emails? And what strategies can you leverage to create amazing segmented email campaigns that virtually click themselves?

A Quick Word on Segmentation

As a reminder, segmentation is the practice of dividing your target audience into segments based on specific traits. In turn, you can create unique marketing materials, ads, and content for each segment that better align with their needs. So, instead of grouping your entire target audience into one unmanageable boulder, segmentation mines that boulder and divides each rock into a specific bucket based on its traits.

Common Segmentation Parameters

You can segment your audience based on any parameter imaginable. Obviously, this makes it a little complicated. Every organization is different and the exact data points you utilize will vary based on your overall business structure. However, there are some “core” segmentation buckets. These are:

  1. Firmographic (i.e., “fit”)
  2. Geographic (i.e., “ability”)
  3. Behavioral (i.e., “intent”)
  4. Psychological (i.e., “desire”)

Before we cover these, it’s important to note that your organization should use unique variables within each of these buckets. Your product, service, and customers are unique and your specific segmenting tactics need to be custom-built for your audience.


The firmographic bucket of segmentation refers to “fit” segments. What groups fit into your target audience/buyer’s persona, and how can you separate them by their overall fit. So, let’s say you sell a productivity tool for salespeople. You may create a firmographic segment including C-level execs at companies with large sales teams. On the other hand, you may create another segment targeting salespeople at large organizations.

Obviously, the campaigns you show to these two groups need to be unique. Salespeople do have an impact on the purchase cycle of products they use daily. In fact, 24% of non-C-suite employees have the ability to sign off on B2B purchases. Both are great targets. But your salespeople need ads that show sales-oriented benefits. C-level needs to see ads that show the business-impacting benefits of your solution.

Common firmographic metrics include:

  • Company size
  • Company revenue
  • Company industry
  • Position of employee
  • etc.

Note: Demographics are also included in firmographics. You can create more dynamic segments by layering demographic data (e.g., age, salary, etc.) on top of your firmographics.


Someone may be in the perfect position to purchase your solution, but if they don’t have the ability to actually purchase it, you have a problem. For example, targeting companies in India with English-only software probably isn’t a good bet. Alternatively, compliance software built for companies in Maine probably shouldn’t be marketed to companies in Florida. While this may be less important for global companies, setting some basic geographic segments can help you target based on need and availability.

Common geographic metrics include:

  • Company location
  • GIS
  • etc.


So, you’ve narrowed your segments down to people who are capable of affording and purchasing your product. Now you need to ensure they’ve actually shown an intent to solve the issue surrounding your solution. In other words, have they watched any webinars, visited your blog, or filled out a form on your website? Behavioral data helps you understand how people have interacted with your service, website, or ads.

Common behavioral metrics include:

  • Webinar clicks
  • Form fills
  • Pageviews
  • Social likes
  • etc.


Alright. You have segments to determine fit, ability, and intent. So, let’s talk about want. Does this person have the type of personality that craves your product or service? Out of all the segmentation buckets, this is the trickiest. A great example is Netflix. Every person has a unique dashboard. Netflix uses past watching history to suggest what you’ll like. This is based on your psychometrics. How customers engage with your product/service and consume your content is entirely unique to them. Actually leveraging this in campaigns is easier said than done. And most businesses use unique tools and algorithms to determine these hyper-complex data points.

Common psychometrics include:

  • Values
  • Lifestyle
  • Opinions
  • Beliefs
  • Interests
  • etc.

Why Use Segmentation?

Alright. So, that all seems a little complicated, right? Here’s the carrot: segmentation can boost profits, improve conversion rates, inform business decisions, and win purchases. In other words, it’s worth the effort. And you don’t have to blindly trust us; we brought data.

1. Increased Conversion Rates

When you’re able to send customized and personalized content to the right audiences, they’re more likely to buy your products/ services. This shouldn’t be too shocking. In fact, McKinsey notes that segmentation alone (void of any additional marketing strategy upgrades) can boost new accounts by 10 percent. That’s significant. But, let’s step back. It’s not just new customers. Eighty percent of all customers expect personalized experiences. So, when you’re running those retention campaigns, targeting existing users with fresh, unique content helps them stick around. It’s a win-win.

2. Customer-centric Targeting

70 percent of customers want personalized ads. It makes sense. Who wants to see an ad for a product they already own, have no interest in purchasing, or can’t afford? Well… no one. Unfortunately, over 75 percent of marketers fail to use key segmentation parameters like behavioral data. The result? 82 percent of people ignore ads. Why wouldn’t they? Marketing should go beyond throwing darts at barns. Narrow your focus, hit the bullseye, and let your customers appreciate the personalized experiences.

3. Savvy Market Expansion

Let’s say you’re looking to expand into a new geographic area. How can you tailor your ads to specifically hit that new audience? Well… you could just guess. Or… you could use geo-data and separate each market area. Suddenly, you have the ability to create hyper-specialized campaigns for each new market segment. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

4. Informed Business Decisions

Here’s a secret: segmentation requires data to operate, but it feeds data back into your core. So, it’s a revolving wheel. Every click, segment success story, and failure helps inform you about your audience. In turn, this can help you create better products and services, generate savvy sales strategies, and maneuver across the ever-expanding ecosystem of technology and analytics.

5. Avoid Generic Conversations

The average person consumes 7 hours and 15 minutes of digital content each day. Along that journey, the average person sees over 6,000 ads each day. If you want to stand out, you can’t be generic. Segmentation helps you create compelling, authentic, and personalized conversations for each of your prospects.

Scoring Big Wins with Segmentation

Segmentation isn’t a fancy marketing tool you can use to gain an edge; it’s a downright requirement for effective marketing in today’s digitally-sapped content landscape. Are you ready to embrace segmentation at scale? Contact us. We can help.

Share this with a friend:

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

About The Author

About Sapper Consulting

Sapper's sales prospecting team becomes a natural extension of your existing sales efforts, helping you find new leads that are a great fit for your business.

Looking For More?

We publish some of the industry's best guidebooks on lead generation with real, proven strategies to grow business. 

Skip to content