You can’t possibly call yourself an email marketer unless you already have all of your subscription lists duly segmented by age, gender, geography, and behavior, however there are various other categorization options which can provide even more advanced and finely grained segmentation for your lists and which you might never have previously considered. The applications and relevance of these segmentation categories will vary from business to business but with a little research you might find one or two that could be exactly what your segmentation strategy is missing right now.

Shipping behavior can be a key indicator
There is a wealth of information that can be derived by simply examining the addresses that the customer has used as ship-tos in their previous purchases through your online presence. The essential division is whether they buy to ship to their own address, which indicates that they are primarily purchasing for their own and their family’s needs, or if they are providing a different ship-to address which would telegraph that they are buying for gift giving. Although this is not an iron-clad division as some people may choose to have a product shipped to themselves which they will then gift to someone else directly by handing it to them, it is a good indication of the type of shopper that they are. An even closer correlation can be drawn in examining the self-ship to other-ship ratio at particular times of the year such as the holiday season and whether they are bulking up their purchases in two or three specific times of the year (indicating loved one’s birthdays).

Customers’ tendency to review should be targeted
It goes without saying that your analytics strategy tracks the ongoing chatter about your brand across the internet, so your ability to correlate what your customer has stated about your brand in this public arena is one of the primary ways to achieve elevated and advanced segmentation. Discovering which ones of your customers are more active in writing reviews and passing on their opinions about your brand and its products and services can help you target these influencers to a greater degree and thus result in a greater volume of positive discussion online. There are some customers who can’t buy a Twinkie at a gas station without writing an online review and others who would not mention anything even on their Facebook pages with privacy settings at maximum if they were purposely set on fire at the same station. The segmentation into active vs. inactive online reviewers can provide significant benefits which manifest themselves at the all-important check out.

Comments on current events provide critical insight
Although it is an exaggeration to state that a Tea Party member would be more likely to be perusing your rifle department while an Obama Democrat would prefer to check out your energy saving green roof shingle section, the opinions of your customers as expressed online about aspects other than your brand can certainly be leveraged to provide critical segmentation data. These opinions need not be solely limited to politics as even the way that they comment on current events can provide valuable insight into the “type of customer” that they are. A pattern of concerned commenting on pollution issues can indicate a tendency towards purchasing air and water purification systems, while a customer who regularly comments on the rising cost of living could be targeted for cost saving discounts and your more economical product ranges. On the other hand, the customer who provides comments on how he’ll be the first in line on the debut date to buy the newest Mercedes Benz can be categorized into your more highly priced product category.

By applying even just a bit of your time and energy to figuring out which alternative segmentation strategies best fit your business you might be able to come up with the one that’s just perfect and results in a marked jump in your metrics. Break away from the stultified demographic and behavior segmentation categories you’ve been using since the dawn of email marketing and get creative! In email segmentation, brand success favors the innovative marketer!