Audience Analysis & Segmentation

17 Audience Segmentation

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Audience segmentation is the process of sorting people into homogeneous subgroups based on demographic, geographic, behavioural, and psychographic categories. The following four categories help NPO’s analyze and segment their target audiences and choose the right communication channel to create connections and interactions with them. Audience segmentation acts as a general way that businesses give people what they want and make the right offer based on the information and insight collected through analysis. Therefore, NPO’s are able to deliver more tailored messaging and make marketing and promotion more relatable and relevant.

Benefits of Audience Segmentation

1. Improved Focus

The more you know about your customers, the more you can focus on meeting their needs. By analyzing the segmentation information, the business can fine-tune the product to cater to customers’ needs. They can use these data to create targeted advertising and marketing campaigns for the subsets of customers. It also increases the chances of target visitors and leads become customers.

2. Ability to Expand

Audience segmentation identifies a new market and expands intelligently by using geographic segmentation tools. Brands can determine their efficiency in catering to specific regions and turn increasing their potential for growth.

3. Enhances Customer Reach

As the brands use audience segmentation well, they can better plan marketing campaigns or product pricing. Provide tailored plans for specific targets and stay connected to them, and can increase customer retention effectively.

4. Increase Profit

Due to the business’s focus on particularly targeted customers, they can increase brand awareness and customer loyalty. Also, the business can make data-based decisions that affect productivity and profitability.


A large group of people posing for a picture on a road with trees in the background

Different Audience Elements

As most organizations don’t have the resources or the budget to reach every market out there, instead, through the study of buyer behaviour and audience analysis they are able to break up the market into different sub-markets. From there, you can gear a campaign to target the smaller group a lot based on their shared interests, attitudes, values, and opinions.

These audience elements can be used within audience analysis as topics to better understand your audience. You can also use these elements in segmentation as different ways to break up this audience.

Some basic audience elements that you can define your target audience are demographic, geographic, psychographic, behavioural, occasional, benefit, and volume.

  • Demographic: Age, gender, ethnicity, education, social class, household income, household size, marital status, employment status, family status, language, religion, and political affiliation
  • Geographic: Regional location, population density (urban, suburban, rural), city or county size, climate
  • Psychographic: Lifestyle, personality, interests, values, attitudes
  • Behavioural: Knowledge, attitude towards, use of, or response to
  • Occasional: The circumstance of usage and purchase of a product or service
  • Benefit: Benefits provided by the good or service
  • Volume: Amount of use (light versus heavy)


Demographic elements use categories such as age, gender, ethnicity, education, social class, household income, household size, marital status, employment status, family status, language, religion, and political affiliation to differentiate among markets. Demographic elements are valuable because they provide the person with important information and insight while being easy and cheap to collect. The U.S. Census Bureau provides a great deal of demographic data, especially about metropolitan areas which can be useful for NPO’s that are lacking resources and capabilities.

Example:  Using Demographics

Marketing researchers can use census demographic data to find areas within cities that contain high concentrations of a specific audience that are relevant and reachable to your NPO. Demographic data is easier to obtain over other forms of data collecting, however, demographic research is limited to only fact-based information on your audience. This is why it’s recommended to use more than one form of research for a better understanding of your audience.


Geographic elements mean segmenting markets by region of the country, city or county size, market density, or climate. Market density is the number of people or businesses within a certain area. Many companies segment their markets geographically to meet regional preferences and buying habits.

Example: Geographic Segmenting

This form of research is great for finding volunteers or creating events. Specifying a location in your NPO or Campaign name, using geographical hashtags, and/or adding a location to your online pages and posts will help attract an audience from that location.


Demographics provide basic data on individuals, but psychographics provides vital information that is often much more useful in crafting the marketing message. Psychographic elements are defined by personality or lifestyle. People with common activities, interests, and opinions are grouped together and given a “lifestyle name.”

Example: Determining the Psychographics

Imagine if two different people were to be described by demographics as male, managers, 35 years old, with $80,000 per year income. An NPO who just saw the demographics could create a call for support that reached both persons. However, if the NPO knew that one of the two was captain of a rugby league team and the other was a holder of opera season tickets, the messaging could be designed very differently, drawing more interest from these specified individuals and creating a more intimate relationship with them.

A good way of going about finding specific psychographic characteristics is by looking at adjectives to describe your audience. Below is a list of possible adjectives to choose from, this exercise could even help you develop your own organization’s identity.

Audience Adjectives Exercise

Choose 4-7 words you feel best describe your target audience. Keep these on file to reference during the rest of the branding process.
adaptable adventurous agreeable aggressive ambitious analytical approachable authoritative bold casual cautious charismatic clear clever collaborative colourful competitive confident conservative contemporary cooperative courageous creative critical curious determined demanding direct edgy eccentric encouraging energetic enthusiastic fierce flexible formal fresh fun gentle helpful honest imaginative independent inspiring intelligent innovative knowledgeable mature modern organized playful pleasant practical professional proud quirky radical rebellious reliable savvy serious sleek sophisticated straightforward strategic striking strong social stubborn supportive sustainable trendy trustworthy unconventional urban visionary


Behavioural segments groups according to their knowledge of, attitude toward, use of, or response to a product.  This provides a deeper look into how a consumer acts towards a certain topic, which could be a product, advertisement, or campaign.

Example: Behavioural Segmentation

Segmentation and the associated mindset (while acknowledging the multi-dimensional differences between people) allows service providers, implementers, policymakers, and government officials to target initiatives and lead to a greater likelihood of lasting behavioural change. Most NPOs with a Sustainable Development Goal, need behavioural efforts to occur for change to happen with their social cause.

Additional Points to Consider


Companies can analyze and segment the market according to the occasions of use, such as whether the product or service will be used alone or in a group, or whether it is being purchased as a present or for personal use. This insight can help marketers know how to work their advertisements and campaigns, by knowing how the product or service is bought and used. There are three main types; universal occasions, regular personal occasions, rare personal occasions.

Example: Marketing for the Occasion

Movember is a trending occasion where people are encouraged to grow out their facial hair for the month of November to raise awareness for men’s health. With a specific focus on mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world, challenging the status quo, shaking up men’s health research, and transforming the way health services reach and support men. Since its launch in 2003, they’ve had over 5 million participants, all through the month of November.


Benefit analysis and segmentation are based on what a product or service will do rather than on consumer characteristics.

Example: The Benefit Factor

4Ocean is an established business that collects plastic from the ocean and turns them into bracelets. 4Ocean is not a nonprofit organization as they don’t accept donations, but the money they make from selling bracelets directly funds their continued efforts to clean the oceans.

“We believe business can be a force for good and hope our model encourages others to pursue creative solutions to this global crisis.”

4Ocean | About


Volume analysis and segmentation are based on the amount of interaction your nonprofit would receive. Just about every product, service, or organization has heavy, moderate, and light users, as well as nonusers. Heavy users often account for a very large portion of the overall interaction. Thus, an organization might want to target its marketing mix to the heavy-user segment. This can be measured in donations, awareness, and/or engagement.

Example: Volume Analysis

An NPO might notice a large portion of their annual volunteers are graduating high school students looking to fill their resumes and portfolios with charitable work. The NPO would do well to find a marketing mix that focused on this segment and those surrounding teens and young adults, such as schools and parents.

Pair each word with the proper defining characteristics listed below.Words to select from: Volume, Occasion, Demographic, Geographic, Benefit, Psychographic, Behavioural

  1. Age, education, gender, income, race, social class, household size.
  2. Regional location, population density (urban, suburban, rural), city or county size, climate.
  3. Lifestyle, personality, interests, values, attitudes.
  4. Knowledge, attitude towards, use of, or response to.
  5. Circumstance of usage and purchase of a product or service.
  6. Benefits provided by the good or service.
  7. Amount of use (light versus heavy).


  1. Demographic
  2. Geographic
  3. Psychographic
  4. Behavioural
  5. Occasion
  6. Benefit
  7. Volume

Continued Learning

To obtain a better understanding of your target audience, below we have provided a questionnaire for you to answer: Target Audience Questionnaire.

Answer the questions in the four sections: demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavioural, about your desired target audience. This will provide you with insight on how to procure a better understanding of your audience, at no cost!


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An Open Guide to Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Copyright © by Andrea Niosi and KPU Marketing 4201 Class of Summer 2020 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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