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Segmentation 101 - Moving Beyond Flat Personas To Retarget Better

Last updated on Apr 12, 2024

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Segmentation 101 - Moving Beyond Flat Personas To Retarget Better

In this age of personalized marketing, turning a blind eye towards segmentation can cost you. Big time. But sometimes marketers do not know where to start and what to do with the ocean of data at their disposal. This piece shares a framework of 50+ retargeting segments that you can start using right away. Know how you can make the most out of your marketing efforts without starting from scratch.

Porsche, a manufacturer specializing in high-performance sports cars, SUVs and sedans, had an epiphany years back when they looked at customer data. What they realized was, that a Porsche owner fell under these categories - college graduates and customers with household income over $100,000. The demographic they were looking at was 85% male and 8% female, both about 40 years old. But over the years, the average age rose to 48 and then 50 in 2012, while they were actually targeting the 25-54 age demographic- a much younger audience! 

For them, this information came across as a surprise. They retreated their steps and started segmenting users and creating marketing campaigns specifically for them, to reduce the average age of a Porsche owner and also encourage females to make a purchase. 

They ran a campaign called the “Engineered for magic, every day” and got Maria Sharapova on board as a spokesperson to engage a younger female audience. With this, they saw that the sales of Porsche 911 increased year over year since the campaign started. They also observed a boost in the number of females purchasing the Cayenne CUV and Panamera four-door sports sedan - a hike from 8% to 15%!

Like Porsche, who is a global market leader in the premium segment of the automotive industry had to analyze data to realize that are not doing enough to target the younger audience, you need data to understand your users better. Why are your users not converting? What would make them purchase? How can you reach out to them, are you actually targeting the right audience? and so on.  

Most users are fed with irrelevant and inappropriate updates. A cardinal sin in marketing. Yet marketers crib when they do not get the desired results. 

Knowing your users is just not enough, you need to dig into the pile of data and draw actionables to meet your end goal. It is not about proving users with a good experience anymore. It is about creating individual experiences while reaching out to them with marketing campaigns. 

Andrew Lang, a Scottish poet once said - Don't use data as a drunken man uses a lamppost - for support rather than for illumination. 

Diving into the ocean of data

While most marketers are playing around with the tip of the iceberg, Amazon has crusaded and distorted the personalization space. Jeff Bezos saw it coming way before anyone could mildly foresee- “Today, online commerce saves customers money and precious time. Tomorrow, through personalization, online commerce will accelerate the very process of discovery.”

And we all know how it worked out for them- They have almost become a synonym of personalization. Yes, they did get an early start. But again that does not stop you from getting where they are in a few fruitful years. 

If you are not segmenting right now and you have no idea about the amount of data at your disposal, let me tell you this - it is going to blow your mind. 

Data over assumptions. Always. 

Just because a user buys a Vero Moda top once does not make the user a Vero Moda fan. You need data to back that up. Do they always buy Vero Moda? How many times did they make a purchase? Is there a pattern in which they buy, what triggers a purchase and so on. 


Stop focusing on generic correlations and start creating a good user experience. Because It is only with data that you can cancel out assumptions. 

All data in aggregate is crap!

Wrote Avinash Kaushik in this book - Web Analytics: An Hour A Day. And it makes perfect sense. Once marketers get their hands onto the ocean of data, the sheer volume is overwhelming. The game lies in how you break down all the data into meaningful little chunks and draw insights from them.

 It will not only help you understand your users better but also lets you help them have a better shopping experience, reach out to users with messages that would resonate with them. 

Brent Smith and Greg Linden, two industry titans specializing in personalization and recommendations at Amazon and Microsoft wrote in the book about how segmentation can help you embrace a personalized approach making users feel pleasantly familiar with your brand- 

“Discovery should be like talking with a friend who knows you, knows what you like, works with you at every step, and anticipates your needs” 

Only when you segment can you personalize, and only when you personalize, can you win hearts. 

Personalization_statsLet's imagine that you and your best friend go shopping for a dress for your birthday party. You enter a store and there is one person already in your face asking about the new makeup series that has been launched. You dismiss her, walk past the perfume counters and another sales representative is behind your life trying to sell you the ‘Pink Exotic’. You finally reach the dresses section and start browsing, and right then a 3rd sales representative walks towards you to tell you that there is a 20% sale going on Rebook active wears. By then you have had enough and you march out of the store.

On the other hand, your best friend would have taken you to the Zara section and might have even picked out the perfect dress for you. I see those gleaming eyes. Now that's where you need to arrive. Know them like a friend would, and not a random sales guy. 

The first step to change is awareness. Are you ready? 

Steps to for retargeting the right users at the right time

54% of enterprise-level organizations say that technology to integrate customer data point is one of the major challenges that they face. Once you figure of the right technology, get a grip of it and see the results...it becomes addictive. Broadly these are your steps to ‘retargeting the right users at the right time’.



After a point you know them so well, that you can predict their next move, when are they likely to make a purchase and what makes them tick. 

Aegmentation helps you crack- How the user came to your site, the number of times and the duration for which they visited your site, the pages that they visit, the products that they browse, the brands that they love, time taken for a user to arrive at the decision making stage and convert, do they buy quicker if coupons are given out and so on.


Knowing your audience like the back of your hand

What could bring you closer to the user? Understanding them better would help you communicate with them effectively. It would also help you understand why they do what they do. It would help you understand the kind of messaging you need to use to bring them back. 

Let's broadly break it down into 6 parts - 

The 5W’s and 1H

segments-to-retarget-5W-and-1HYou need to understand who your audience is and who have not converted. Are they a new user? Do they buy regularly? How much do you know about them? The next is what was the page that they dropped off from? Were the users just browsing? Did they search for something? Did they visit a category page, did they use filters? Did they visit a product page? Did they add to cart? And so on. Then understand from where did they come to your site. Is it from the recent campaign you ran on social media, that brought them to the product page? Is Instagram the place where they usually hang out?

Next, identify why did they leave without buying. Were they put off by the delivery charge, was a product out of stock, were they just browsing for fun? Only when you know why they left, can you reach out to them with the right messaging. You need to know when was the last time they visited your site or purchased something. The buying cycle would vary depending on the kind of product you sell. High-end products would have a longer buying cycle. Last but not least, come with a plan to retarget them. Understand how you can reach out to them and make them convert. 

Let's go a bit deeper now shall we? Now that we know the 5W’s and 1H, here are the levers that the users can be further segmented for better audience engagement


8 Levers that will help you segment better


Tracking events 

While there is always Google Analytics, you can make use of other tools such as-


Segments for retargeting in e-commerce fashion 

Making sense of the data and segmenting users can be tricky. That is why we have created a framework that you can get inspired from, and use some of them as it is right away!

audience-segmentation-frameworkAre you an e-commerce store? Are you interested in sharing the audience segments you make use of? Start adding them here-

Good to know

  • Hit the right frequency
    • Remove them from the retargeting loop once purchased
  • Ace the timing 
  • Streamline your segmenting - Don’t always end up giving discounts. 
  • Always analyze and then double down on efforts

Being a cut above

Some users know exactly what they want to buy, be it a dress from Zara for prom, a Rolex watch for mom’s birthday or a floral shorts for the Hawaii trip. But then there are those who have a faint idea of something that they want. Ultimately they visit a store they had a good experience with, a store that gives them a personalized experience, sends them updates that they can resonate with. Don’t let that sale slip away. 

Let us know if these segments were helpful for you in the comments below! And if you think there are other segments that can be added, just let us know by filling up the form above. 

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Pravya Pravin
Pravya Pravin
Pravya Pravin is a Product Marketer at iZooto. An artist who paints not only with words, but also on canvas. She loves exploring places less traveled and wishes to go on a bike trip to the highest motorable road.

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