Ask Me Anything: Segmenting Your Audience

Jennifer Sowinski Nemeth

Senior Consultant & Analyst

Jennifer enjoys working with arts and culture clients to help them increase revenue and grow audience through data-driven strategies including pricing studies, venue re-scaling, customer behavior analyses, and segmentation.
October 22, 2018

“We’ve identified several segments for an upcoming mailing. How do we know if this is the best way to segment our audience?”


With almost infinite ways you could segment your audience, there is no “best” way to segment. Your strategies will (and should!) change depending on your messaging, your goals, and what you’ve learned from past campaigns. That said, there are three key characteristics of a good segment. Ask yourself these question to ensure that the segments for your mailing are sound:

  1. Is each segment homogenous? Everyone in a segment should have something in common. Maybe they’re all subscribers, or they typically buy within a month of the performance, or they tend to buy premium seats. It could be anything. But if the patrons in your segment don’t have something in common, then it’s time to re-think why you’re grouping them together.
  2. Is each segment distinctive from the others? There must be something differentiating one segment from another. It could be that one segment has been attending for more years than the other, or everyone from one segment has been a subscriber while the other hasn’t. In the same way that everyone in a segment must have something in common to be grouped together, the segments themselves must have a distinct difference from one another.
  3. Finally, and most importantly, will everyone in a segment respond similarly to the message you’re sending? You may start out by segmenting your second-year subscribers and your 3+ year subscribers. These segments do indeed meet our first two requirements. But, if we’re sending a message about a special add-on ticket offer, will these two groups actually respond any differently? This will require some research into past behavior to predict future responses.  However, in order for your segmentation strategy to be successful, this research is important to make sure you’re sending the right message to the right group of people!

Are you confident in your segmentation strategy?
Sophisticated audience segmentation strategies allow you to target the right people at the right time with the right message. Without a strong strategy, you might be leaving money on the table. We can help.


JCA Arts Marketing collaborates with cultural organizations to increase revenue, boost attendance and membership, and grow patron loyalty. We provide consulting and software services to hundreds of cultural institutions across multiple genres, including dance, museums, opera, performing arts centers, symphony, and theatre.

Jennifer Sowinski, Consultant, JCA Arts Marketing