Marketing June 30, 2011 Last updated June 30th, 2011 1,809 Reads share

The Most Powerful Tool In Marketing

Image Credit:

Today is the birthday of Sarah’s brother John. I love Johns birthday. I have no idea who he is and I have never met Sarah.

But I know where he lives, what team he supports, that he has a loving sister and of course when his birthday is.

You see for the last two years I have saved Sarah a ton of hassle by delivering to her door a designer t-shirt, in Johns size, in plenty of time for John as a birthday present. All it took to make that sale was a


This is what makes Segmentation the most powerful marketing tool you have. At its simplest segmentation is getting more data on your customers so you can better target them based on their likes and dislikes. Lets look in detail at how we do this in the email programme for online GAA sports t-shirt retailer Sheepstealers Clothing.

When getting a subscriber to sign up we ask for these key details.

  • Name (If you can personalise a message with a prospects name it will greatly increase the number of opens and clicks. Not to mention reduce the unsubscribes)
  • Email address (Absolute basic and the most important)

This is where most companies stop. Their next step is to add as many subscribers to that list and send them an email every month.

But what if we added “Team” to the list of subscriber details?

This we decided is the absolute basic information we require to make the email program perform.

The team information is the first step in segmentation.

From this we can ensure each person will only get an email for the team they support and will not be annoyed with irrelevant information about other teams ensuring they will open again next time.
This also provides business intelligence back to the product team. If team A have 2000 subscribers and Team B have 10 then we can spend time producing more products targeting A.

Build deep instead of wide.

Now you have an interested subscriber what if you worked to add more details to their profile?

You do not always have to annoy a subscriber by asking. With a bit of programming and hidden fields in your form you can detect what country a user is subscribing from or what site referred them before they signed up. For example you might see that 50% of your subscribers are from outside your country. Maybe it’s time to adjust your advertising strategy to better target this market. If you see that three times as many people subscribe to your email when they come from Facbook? Now you know where to concentrate more of your efforts.

How else can you get more information?

This answer surprises everyone. Ask.

Ask each subscriber to add to their own details. There are a few reasons why they might do this.

  1. So you can send them more relevant information or offers.
  2. Internet marketer Chris Penn added a ‘Premium content’section to his email newsletter. Only those who completed their profile information get to see the premium section. A large percentage of people did this.
  3. Run a competition or other incentive.
  4. Or tell subscribers you will send them a special birthday gift. To get it they need to give you their birthday and address.

Extreme segmentation tip:

Track what time a subscriber opens your email newsletter at. Chances are they will be at the computer same time next week or next month.


  • The more information you have on your subscriber and customer base the more you can target your marketing.
  • The more you target your marketing the better results.
  • People are happy to give you this information but not all at once and only in return for value.
  • The added bonus of all this customer information is that it feeds back into the business and lets you tailor your products and service to your customers needs, or even spot gaps in the market that you see are not being addressed.

Target image cc: Cliff1066

Alan O'Rourke

Alan O'Rourke

Read Full Bio