Do you know who your target market is?

When asking marketers who makes up their target market, often times they quote a specific demographic—Males 18 to 35, Female Boomers 52 to 75, etc.—as if that demographic describes the entirety of the drivers of consumption for their product or service. There’s more (and better) information, however, that uncovers the needs, wants, hopes and dreams of segments of a market—that empowers marketers to target their messaging at a higher likelihood of purchasing the product or service.

Enter Market researchers, whose job it is to gather and analyze this additional information to help clients understand their market better. Market segmentation is a powerful technique to do this. Segmentation is undertaken to better understand a population as a collection of subgroups that have different needs, goals and patterns of use with respect to a product or service. The best segmentations help identify groups that are unique, recognizable and understandable to the organization addressing them, and can be targeted efficiently. A thoughtfully executed segmentation clarifies which approaches can be universal and which need to be tailored, and lets businesses prioritize their approaches as part of their business development strategy.

As a means of understanding their market better, the AMA-PDX commissioned a segmentation of the marketing community in Portland. Darrin Helsel, co-founder and principal of Distill Research and AMA-PDX’s Research Chair, and colleague Dr. Steven Struhl of Converge Analytic, designed and executed research to paint a picture of the segments of the Portland marketing community for AMA-PDX. They will be presenting their findings, as well as the creative process associated with segmentation, for our audience.

DarrinAs Co-Founder and Principal for Distill Research, Darrin Helsel distills market research and consulting solutions to clients across multiple industries. With 14 years of experience, Darrin has provided branding, naming, pricing, positioning and messaging support that has helped companies more effectively reach their customers and meet their marketing goals. He is a graduate of the University of California, has a passion for triathlons, and has happily called Portland home for the past nine years.

Dr. Steven Struhl  owns Converge Analytic and has more than 25 years’ experience in consulting and research, specializing in providing effective, practical solutions based on statistical models of decision-making and behavior. His work addresses how buying decisions are made, understanding consumer groups and their motivations, optimizing service delivery and product configurations and finding the meaningful differences among products and services. Besides writing the book on Market Segmentation, Steven’s experience includes serving 15 years as Senior Vice President, Senior Methodologist at Total Research (later Harris Interactive), where he focused on strategy and analytics for pricing, product/service optimization, decision making, customer loyalty and consumer motivations. He holds an MBA from the Booth School at the University of Chicago, a doctorate in psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and MA and BA degrees from Boston University.


Darrin can be reached on LinkedIn, Twitter, and by email: Distill Research is at LinkedIn and Twitter.

Steven can be reached at LinkedIn and email: