SSegmentation of the market has been a profession of its own for many years. Companies in the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) business have been leading in this field, and have worked as an inspiration to other industries. The media industry has not been in front, but now things are changing.

Some of the leading media houses in the Schibsted Media Group have introduced segmentation tools that focus on consumer needs and drivers of choice. This has opened a whole new world to us. Imagine an editorial meeting where the team discusses the needs and interests of their main target groups. “What should the angle of the article be to get better attention from this target group?” Or, “how should we develop the new product to hit the main target group?” A situation like this has not always been obvious.

Aftonbladet in Sweden is one of the media houses that have succeeded very well with their segmentation.

A key success criteria was that the marketing, analytics, and editorial departments ran the project jointly — departments that traditionally do not work that closely together.

Another important part of the success recipe was that to make this work in practice they conducted a continuous and extremely focused year-long workshop. Every editorial and commercial department went through several workshops. First they focused on getting to know the main target groups, and then they adjusted existing products and developed new ones.

During 2010 they have launched many new products, and brand affection has raised a lot during that time. It is obvious that they hit their target groups a lot better. The overall amount of users and readers on all platforms (newspaper, digital newspaper, mobile and iPad) has risen to an all-time high level.

Another important aspect of this kind of segmentation is that you get the opportunity to become a professional partner to your advertisers when it comes to brand-building and marketing. A segmentation tool like this gives you a profound understanding of the needs, interests, and the major drivers of choice of the consumers. And you get a clear picture of your own position compared to your competitors. With all this precise market insight, it is so much easier to target the advertisers' products to the correct target groups. And the potential of improving the hit rates of your advertisers is a lot better.

However, it is important to state that if we want segmentation to be a powerful tool, it takes a lot of resources. For example, it takes time to get to know the segments, and it takes a lot of time to implement it, being a natural part of the working process — whether it is in editorial, marketing, or sales departments.

Dedicating enough time working with the segments, in practice, is definitely the most challenging part. But those who do normally get a nice reward through better results.