The following post was written by Josh Elander, Research Associate at RMS.

Whether or not we’re aware of it, we’re always segmenting the people we encounter; how old they are, what kind of house or car they own, and whether or not they’re raising a family. The idea of using this kind of segmentation has become commonplace in research and marketing, given the endless flow of data available to us. The abundance of consumer data allows marketers to hone in on amazingly specific demographic segments based on a variety of factors. The trick is to find the right segments to target for your marketing campaign or new product launch.

Identifying the Important Factors

Generally, demographic segmentation is based on core lifestyle characteristics such as age, income, marital status, number of children in the household, occupation, and geographic proximity to urban centers. These factors represent detailed traits of every individual which, when combined, will produce cohesive consumer segments. Brands are constantly identifying the types of consumers that interact with their product – whether it’s women, homeowners, Millennials, affluent income earners, or any other group of individuals. Identifying the factors your marketing should focus on depends on the most prevalent types of customers that interact with your brand.

Isolating the Demographic Segment

Knowing the important characteristics of your consumer base is important, but it’s not quite the complete picture of your most valuable customers. Combining lifestyle characteristics will provide a more comprehensive demographic segment, or clusters of the consumer population that act similarly. This will help identify your target consumer segments. Two of the most well-known segmenting platforms include Axciom’s Personicx clusters and Nielsen’s PRIZM lifestage groups, both utilizing immense consumer data to develop easily marketable segments.  Using platforms like these to identify the right segment is crucial; for example, a segment of Millennial women that are married and do not have children may behave differently than married Millennial women who have children. When designing a brand outreach strategy, understanding these details is critical.

Turning Data into a Strategy

The final step after determining your target consumer segment(s) is understanding how to turn what you’ve learned about the lifestyle of your customers into an effective marketing strategy. For example, the segmented data may lead us to believe that creating a mobile-friendly, social media heavy strategy will resonate more effectively with an urbanized Millennial segment than a retired, suburban senior segment. A knowledgeable research firm should be able to determine which demographic segment(s) your brand should focus on when developing a marketing strategy, whether its creating the best ads for your customers, launching a new product, or planning a large-scale rebranding. Utilizing primary research methods such as demographic segmentation will allow you to pull data directly from your own consumer base and give you that complete picture. The more you get to know the demographics of your consumers, the easier it will be to market directly to them.

RMS is a full-service market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our research capabilities, please contact Sandy Baker, our Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at or by calling 1-866-567-5422.