Segmentation is based on a principle: everyone is different; and a hope: but in certain aspects they are not that different – people can be grouped together based on some similarities and grouped in large enough bundles to make marketing cost effective. “Segmentation is a compromise between the homogenous mass and the single individual”1

Segmentation is at the heart of effective marketing. It is about understanding your customers. The goal has always been one-to-one marketing where each person is a segment and we talk to them as an individual. While technology has moved us in this direction, even printed material can now be customised based on the attributes of each recipient, it is still not cost effective to market on this basis wholesale and so breaking our audience down into manageable chunks makes sense.
Of course segmentation can be used in two ways: marketing more effectively to our existing customers and supporters – which involves profiling and analysing our existing customer database (“if you have one”, Katy Raines, p6 JAM issue 37 – if not contact me//shameless plug); or looking for new audiences – which really involves looking for a general profiling tool that can be used to identify those similar to existing audiences or represents the type of new audience you would like to attract.

The latest edition of JAM (Jan 2010) from the AMA looks at segmentation which was the subject of the very first JAM back in 2001. A long time between discussions and so a welcome addition to the JAM series. Interestingly we have contributions in both editions from Heather Maitland and Andrew McIntyre, so gives almost a history of the development in arts market segmentation over the last decade.
What is clearly illustrated is that although the marketing environment has changed dramatically, with the development of the Internet and computing power in particular, the concepts behind segmentation remain the same: as Maitland prefaced her original article “Marketing is a planned process that involves talking to the right people, about the right things, in the right way, and at the right time, to achieve your objectives”. Couldn’t have put it better myself.
1. Andrew McIntyre JAM March 2001

Interesting time over the weekend. The back button on my browser stopped working! You really don’t realise how much you use it until it’s not there and it really makes you appreciate good navigation on websites. How easy is it to get to what you are looking for? How simple to get back to the home page? Can you see where you are on the site?

This last one is becoming ever more important when the search box is just sitting there on the top right of your browser. A considerable number of your visitors will arrive on your site as the result of a Google, Bing or other search and you have little control over where they land. As such, every page becomes a home page. And, when your visitor can’t see what you are looking for it is as easy for them just to enter a new search or click the back button to the search results than trawl around your site.
One of the things that I did find frustrating was when I landed on a site which didn’t have crumblines (you know the series of links that show where you are on the site) that really made me miss the back button.

I always believed that navigation and site layout has always been a major feature for good website design and this experience has just strengthened my belief that navigation is the main feature on stick ability.
Actually, I might not even fix the back button.