Richards and Bland: Audience Segmentation, American Cancer Society #MRA_AC #MRX


American Cancer Society

Image via Wikipedia

Session summary of the Marketing Research Association 2011 annual conference. These are my interpretations of the session. They were written during the session and posted immediately afterwards. Any inaccuracies and silliness are my own.


Using Audience Segmentation for Event Growth
Melanie Richards, Ph.D., American Cancer Society, Inc.
Alex Bland, American Cancer Society, Inc.

  • American Cancer Society – Official sponsor of birthdays
  • Help people stay well, communicate information, find cures though own research and funding research, help people fight back through advocacy and empowering volunteers –> do this through events, Relay for Life, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, DetermiNation
  • DetermiNation – prepare athletes for endurance events, as they train they raise money to fight cancer
  • Problem – Needed to identify right audience for program, motivations, demographics, psychographics, behaviours for people interested/supporting endurance event. Not trying to convince new people.
  • Approach – create a set of persona groups.
    Segmentation was used. E.g., Best Buy sets up stores differently depending on the geolocation, some have cell phones at the front, some have movies at the front
  • Started with a survey – past and future participation, motivations, awareness, 1500 completes. Used clustering and Bayesian algorithm. (Ha! Crazy hard math)
  • Created 5 personas, must be culturally inclusive, segments are generalized ideas not exact descriptions. (Would have liked to see the personas. :(  )
  • (Latercomer Dan Womack took the obstructed seat behind the column. We all laughed at him.)
  • Decided to target 3 personas all of which were high income folks who generate more donations. Developed 1 communication that spoke to aspects of all 3.
  • First develop creative materials and ad testing. Then they tested tthe creative on the three personas. Started with bulletin board focus groups. Moved to online focus group. Then did flash polls. (See multi-method style here)
  • Winning ad is similar to: If you can run you can run further; If you can train you can train harder; If you do you can fight cancer
  • Wanted to use the data for more than just the creative. Apply personas back to original constituent database to communicate to them better and develop better event experience.
  • Lessons learned: Discuss important variables ahead of time. Choose variables that matter to you. Learn the next steps that will make the results immediately actionable. (Oh yeah!)
  • It’s never going to be perfect (We need to hear that a lot more.)
  • (Have you sponsored an ACS athlete today?)

One response

  1. Thanks for the shout-out Annie! Glad you enjoyed the session🙂

%d bloggers like this: