February 19

Unlocking the Power of Segmentation


For those of us in education marketing, the first thing we think of when talking about segmentation is demographics. But if you stop there, you’ll miss the real power behind marketing segmentation.

In the vast amounts of material available today on education marketing, you’ll almost always come across a word about segmentation. There’s good reason for that.

The most effective marketing messages are the ones that zero-in tightly on your target audiences.

Yelling into the town square won’t get my attention. But just mention my name and you’ll have my ear.

I think we all understand this instinctively. So today, instead of showing you why you should be segmenting your audiences, I want to show you how to tap into the real power of segmentation.

The real power of segmentation kicks in when you understand the various levels of segmentation and leverage them all to create the most useful and irresistible content possible for them.

Too many education marketers dive into segmentation by dividing up their audience by one or two segmentation methods. But the most successful marketers have mastered the art of using all three levels of segmentation to craft their school marketing content.

Segmentation 101: Demographics

Almost every marketer begins their segmentation process with the simplest type of information: demographics. Data to begin your segmentation at this level is basic:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Physical Address
  • Ethnicity
  • Household income
  • Homeownership
  • Education
  • Number of Children
  • Marital status

You can get this information from a variety of sources—list brokers, wealth analytic models, etc. But the best way to get this information is from your audience themselves.

When your audience tells you about themselves through marketing surveys or by giving you their contact info in order to download your latest resource, it’s free and highly accurate. In contrast, you’ll pay through the nose for data brokers, and even then, they can only promise so much accuracy.

But no matter how you acquire your demographics, this is only the beginning level of segmentation. To experience phenomenal results in your education marketing, you have to go to the next level.

Segmentation 201: Psychographics

Psychographics is a big, fancy term that just means knowing how a group of people view the world and themselves.

It’s the story that they’re telling themselves about themselves and the world in which they live. In other words, when your audience thinks or talks about your area of education…

  • What do they want more than anything else?
  • What do they worry most about?
  • What angers them?
  • What makes them happy?
  • What experiences do they remember?
  • What makes them proud?

For me, this is the most helpful way for you as an education marketer to determine the psychographics of your audience:

What questions are they asking that my school is uniquely positioned to answer?

How do I choose a career? Is my child really going to do better in life if I invest in a private school education? Does it make any difference if I choose a rural or urban campus?

Questions like these show you what your audience cares about, worries about, and hopes for.

This level is so effective, if you stayed here, you’d see a tremendous increase in your marketing results. But, to unlock the full power of segmentation, there’s one more level you need to reach.

Segmentation 301: Engagement

Engagement is where reality meets theory, where strategy meets the real world. No matter what your preliminary research, interviews, and focus groups might tell you, you need to collect engagement data and refine your audience segments based on what you learn.

Some examples of engagement data are:

  • Email opens
  • Click thrus
  • Number of visits to your website
  • Time spent on your website
  • Signed up for event like campus visit, alumni reunion, etc.
  • Downloaded your viewbook
  • Subscribed to your alumni newsletter

The beauty of analyzing engagement data is that now you’re not just talking to your audience—you’re listening to them!

For example, when you see high traffic on a blog post, you know that topic is resonating with your audience. You can then repurpose that content in other channels like print or a video.

When you begin understanding your audience through the lens of all three levels of segmentation, you’ll discover the true power of segmentation.

We’re here to help!

Of course, using all three levels of segmentation takes time and an experienced hand. We’d be happy to help you and your team unlock the benefits of segmentation and inbound marketing for your school, college, or university.

Get ahold of us today to find out how we can help you achieve the results you know your school deserves.

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