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The Power of Consumer Segmentation

Danette Amstein

Reading Time: 3 minutes
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Have you ever watched an ad or a short video and been perplexed, or even said out loud, “I don’t get it.” Happens to me a lot, especially during live sporting events. The reason I don’t get it is that I am not the target for what is being advertised.

Frequent readers of this blog know that I often talk about the importance of knowing your customer and targeting your marketing efforts. A lot of marketing tactics today are more effective if they are narrowly aimed at an identifiable group of customers and offer solutions for their specific needs or pain points. But how, exactly, do you determine what makes your target customer tick?

There are a couple of common ways we group customers. Sometimes we group by age or generation; this is a great option if we are selling products aimed at Gen Z, for example. (Check out H&M’s recycled clothing campaign). Sometimes we group by gender and advertise specifically to male or female customers – anyone seen the #huglikeadoveman campaign? Still another way, which incorporates age and gender as well as psychographics and behavior, is consumer segmentation.

Segmentation helps companies and brands identify the most profitable customer segments and develop targeted marketing strategies likely to resonate with them. Profitable here could mean the segment with the most consumers, the segment where you’re likely to find the most growth or the segment willing to spend the most on your product. By tailoring messaging and promotions to specific customers, companies can increase the effectiveness of their marketing efforts and improve their return on investment. Outside of marketing, consumer segmentation can also help retailers better understand their customers and the products they’re looking for. It can also be used by food manufacturers to identify gaps in the market and create products specifically tailored for a certain group.

Yes, meat is consumed by a vast majority of Americans, but there is still a lot of variation in what our customers are looking for. An easy example for us is claims. There are some consumers who exclusively purchase meat with claims, like grass-fed or all-natural, while other customers aren’t looking for anything other than the USDA grading shield. Another differentiator in the meat case is protein selection. Some consumers are only interested in beef, pork and chicken. Others are open to trying lamb, veal, exotics, plant-based alternatives and, potentially, even cell-based meat in the future.

Sometimes a group of consumers can be associated based on their primary pain points when shopping. For some shoppers, especially today, price is a major factor in what they purchase and they’re always on the lookout for promotions and coupons. These shoppers may also be more likely to shop at a discount grocer or warehouse store. For another group, they might struggle with having enough time to put a healthy meal on the table each night and turn to value added or pre-cooked products to help fill those gaps. The products, promotions and messaging for reaching each of these customer groups are entirely different.

As marketers, we use meat consumer segmentation as the basis to develop personas – a brand’s ideal consumer. These personas include basic demographic information, such as if this customer is more likely to be a woman or young or living in the Northeast. They also include information on what this ideal shopper buys and where they buy it. And, for marketing purposes, we can build a basic breakdown of what this shopper’s day is like. What time do they wake up? Do they check their email before getting out of bed? Do they eat breakfast? Do they go into an office or work from home? Do they listen to the radio in the car or use a service like Spotify? Do they watch the national nightly news or just put something easy on Netflix after the kids are in bed?

I know, I know… it can be a little unsettling to realize this much information is collected on, well… anyone that is not off the grid. But knowing this information is critical to building an effective campaign in the quest for a solid return on investment. So, by having answers to the questions above, we can place ads in the right places (billboards wouldn’t be a great tactic for someone who works from home in the suburbs), on the platforms where the targeted audience is spending their time (local radio, national news, streaming TV ads), and during the hours that match their preferred times to receive promotional emails.

One word of caution, especially during these economic times: Trying to stretch your marketing dollars to cover multiple segments at once often proves to be a bad idea and leads to ineffective marketing. Why? Because a watered-down message that is trying to appeal to a very broad group leaves even members of the desired target saying, “I don’t get it” and none of us want that.

The ability to develop these detailed personas is rooted in the research that enables us to segment meat consumers into distinct, identifiable customer groups. Overall, consumer segmentation is a critical tool for companies and brands that want to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace. By gaining a deeper understanding of their customers and focusing strategies to meet their specific needs and preferences, companies can differentiate themselves from competitors and build stronger relationships with their customers.


About the Author

Danette is a Managing Principal based in our Mooresville office. Together with Michael Uetz, she develops and carries out the strategic direction and vision for Midan. In addition, she works closely with our meat industry clients to outline effective strategies based on their business goals, and then oversees the execution of tactics to ensure those goals are not just met, but surpassed. Danette’s lifelong love for the meat industry started on her family’s farm in Kansas, deepened during her involvement with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and state beef organizations and continues today with her passionate work for our clients. A well-respected thought leader in the meat industry, she speaks at conferences, writes social content postings, and blogs for Meatingplace. Married to Todd, she is a proud parent of a son and daughter, is a diehard Kansas State Wildcats fan, loves chocolate and still drives a combine when she goes home to Kansas for the annual wheat harvest.
Danette Amstein