Marketing segmentation, according to, is “the process of defining and subdividing a large homogenous market into clearly identifiable segments having similar needs, wants, or demand characteristics”

There are four different types of these segments,

  1. Identifiable – can this group be both measured and their behavior studied?
  2. Accessibility – how will you reach and communicate with each segment?
  3. Substantial – are they large enough, or hold enough value, that they warrant the investment and time required of your resources?
  4. Unique – what are their needs in comparison to others?

In the past, finding the information you needed to accurately segment was difficult, manual, and time consuming. However, today big data analytics is helping them uncover the true insights required to make smart business decisions. Analytics is helping drive new market opportunities, customer retention, and according to an infographic from a Big Data study, it’s invaluable for getting to know your customers better.

At a recent event in Chicago I had the opportunity to hear Dan Wagner, Chief Analyst for the Obama campaign, speak on using big data analytics to truly understand your segments, as he and the team did during the campaign. He cautioned that while segmenting is a good thing, you must go beyond the data to discover who your customer really is, what they really want, and how they want to be communicated too. In other words, you need to find out who the person is beyond the traditional stereotypes.

To do this in any organization, Dan said, you need three things:


Your entire company must embrace the idea that “data is the best avenue of truth, or a complementary avenue of truth paired with theories,” Dan shared. This will allow your analytics solution to be built around solving your businesses problems.


You must have computers, or something that unifies and stores the data and algorithms. When choosing the solution for your business, don’t start with your IT problems, start with the business problems. In turn this will allow your culture to strengthen as the relevancy of the analytics solution shows through to your business decision makers.


“You need a team of people who are focused on science to define value and define what’s right,” he said. In other words, you need nerds, but different kinds of nerds. You need data scientists who can look at data while think independently and diversely.

While he didn’t include a fourth C, Customers aligns very well in his model. Dan advised that your customers need to be at the center of everything you do. You need to think of these people as people. By understanding how they want to be communicated to, if at all, will help determine how many resources you should dedicate to reach them.

“You don’t need to call 200 million people, because analytics can show you up to 99.99% accuracy not too. Don’t waste resources there, put resources here this will help you optimize for the best results.”

Big data analytics give us the opportunity to find insights beyond what we imagined. Don’t let the technology go to waste.

Would you add another C to this model? What else do you think companies need to do to fully embrace analytics? Let me know by commenting on this article.