CTAM in NY: Segmentation Leads to Success

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New York - Market segmentation is critical for both cable programmers and operators, but the way that segmentation is done can be the difference between a successful marketing campaign and one that falls short of expectations, according to a panel discussion at the CTAM in NY conference here Wednesday.
Cable programmers have long segmented networks and shows to specific groups -- hence the proliferation of niche channels for women, food lovers and sports fans, said Frank N. Magid Associates senior vice president Jill Rosengard Hill during the panel "Segmenting for Success." Rosengard-Hill argued that programmers need to take even that segmentation a step further, adding that the competitive advantage is being seized by marketers that are offering smart, innovative segmentation for audiences.
"The key is actionability," Rosengard Hill said.
Socratic Technologies executive vice president Young Ko said that one innovative way to segment a market is by product rather than behavior. He added that his company surveys customer segments based on their ideal product bundle
Once that ideal bundle is identified, the provider has an offering with specific benefits and features that target that user's audience and needs.
Cox Communications vice president of marketing sciences Tony Maldonado said culture is equally important in developing segmentation strategies, adding that educating the front line employees is an important part of success.
"All the best companies do one thing, and that is they execute well," Maldonado said, adding that it is important to limit the number of segmentation schemes that are active within the organization, but make that scheme pervasive throughout the organization.
Scripps Networks vice president of Food Network and Fine Living research Gabe Gordon said even with the best segmentation schemes some consumers just don't fit into a specific mold.
Some people, he said, are "almost unsegmentable," adding they may gravitate towards on particular segment but actually cross multiple segments throughout their day.
ESPN vice president of integrated media research Glenn Enoch said that it is important for companies not to jump the gun in the process, something he called "premature segmentation," lest you pigeonhole whole groups of people into categories that haven't fully developed or from which they may soon migrate.
Tony Cardinale, executive vice president brand planning and strategic insights at NBC Universal Entertainment and Digital Networks and Integrated Media, said that segmentation differs between products, adding that NBCU has moved away from behavioral segmenting and more toward tailoring specific products to customer needs.
"We've stopped talking about people at all," Cardinale said. "We just talk about the reward."