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Audience Segmentation is as Easy as Lick, Twist, Dunk!


Do you want to make your meeting, marketing and communication content more relevant, personal and actionable to audiences?  You don’t need statistical analysis. You need Oreos and a cold glass of milk.

At 3 years old, McKenna looked exactly like Cindy Lou Who from the Grinch Christmas story. Oreos were the cookie of choice, and she followed a personal ritual when she ate them. McKenna would slowly inspect a cookie, find the right orientation and then pry it apart with tiny fingers. If any of the white icing broke away and stuck to both sides, she would smash the halves together and banish it from the plate. But if it was a perfect split, she would hold the icing side in both hands and slowly lick, dreamily, with her eyes shut. Today at 14, McKenna still eats Oreos the same way.

Cookies & Content

You can dramatically improve the results and satisfaction from your events, marketing and communications by doing the same thing. That simple ritual is the basis for one of the most successful marketing campaigns in history and how you can segment audiences for the best results.

Segmentation is understanding the needs and desires of every person you rely upon for the success of an event, meeting, marketing, trade show, workshop or communication. If you don’t put an emphasis into segmenting your audience, their experience will suffer. Don’t rely on registration data for segmenting your audience. It’s too little, too late. You have to focus on your audience’s needs long early in the planning stages.

How Do People Like Their Content? Think Oreos.

In the past 100 years, over 491 billion Oreo cookies have been sold. It’s the best-selling cookie in the world. All those cookies have been sold thanks to audience segmentation. It’s not based on science or research but on a simple realization Nabisco discovered in the 1920s – 50 percent of Oreo eaters pull the cookies apart before they eat them.

This billion-dollar business is based on dividing the audience by function – Lick, Twist, Dunk.

By focusing on function, the geniuses at Nabisco create strong product connections through the shared experience of cookies and milk.

Focus on Function

Using demographics is the classic way of slicing and dicing an audience – by age, sex, etc. But, let’s face it, that’s so last century. Today, we can get the best results from thinking about individuals and not faceless groups of statistics. Today, we need to take a more multi-functional approach.

One way of looking at a segment is this: A segment is a group of people who share enough common situations, functions or challenges to cause them to have similar needs.

Look for the People Patterns

Imagine your clients or your audience. What do those people need to know and what do they need to do? There is an objective and a desired result for the event, marketing or communication. What does each individual need to achieve it? The idea is to look for the patterns you will target. What are the key needs and where do they overlap? Some of the things you might explore are:

Job function or responsibility

Brand or department

Project or program





Experience level

Skill level

This is where you focus your content and key messaging. These are the areas where attendees will see, appreciate and value the resources you offer the most. Segmenting an audience this way doesn’t have to be complicated. You are simply looking to create a manageable number of groups. Each group is comprised of people with key things in common.

“Segmentation is saying something to somebody instead of saying nothing to everybody.”

Jay Conrad Levinson

In the previous article “Why People Attend Your Events,” we discovered that attendees want an experience that meets their specific needs. They would rather have 1-3 days of diverse opportunities to select powerful content that’s relevant to their specific needs and find practical ways to use the information immediately.

Use The Oreo Model

Your winning strategy is to provide each person with the innovations, ideas, solutions and motivations they need to accomplish both your goals and their own. It will pay off powerfully in a giant, all-caps meeting EXPERIENCE. You know, the one they will remember. The one that makes them feel it was worth the effort. The one that will make them DO what you need them to do.

If you focus on their key needs and where they overlap, you can tailor the delivery to suit each group. Not everyone likes their content served the same way. Just remember Oreos and Lick, Twist, Dunk.

Some people lick- They want to experience the content slowly and deliberately. It may take longer, but it’s easier to digest.

 Some people like to pull it apart- They want to pick and choose what they want to use, how and when they want it. Of course, it’s never straightforward. They like it with a twist.

And some people are dunkers- They want to jump in and be surrounded by the messages and content.

Segmentation allows you to “enable” the content and messaging more than just communicate it.

Keep it simple, but focus on the desired results and the functions, goals and motivations the individuals have in common. What do people need to know and what do they need to do?  Then all you have to do is serve them up – with a cold glass of milk. That’s the way McKenna likes them.

If you want to know more about how segmenting your audience and creating memorable events just click on CONTACT US and get in touch

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 Why People Attend Your Events

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About the Author
Andy Johnston is a multi-faceted communication professional who has a comfortable way of working with people. Andy is an Emmy Award winning communicator known for his energy, humor, creativity and his unique ability to discover the key results that must be generated – and then to develop ingenious ways to engage and motivate audiences. He has broad experience in strategic planning, messaging, creative direction, marketing, and events. One of the things Andy says often is, “How can we make it better?”
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