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Segmentation is an essential tool for local authority marketing

The key to success is to develop marketing strategies with clearly defined target markets, using cost-effective tactics thatresonate with audiences. An essential tool to help achieve this is the Wales-wide waste and recycling segmentation model developed by Waste Awareness Wales.

The model divides the Welsh population into ten segments, each representing a different section of the populace. The information on each segment is split into two parts, one detailing ‘facts and figures’, the other ‘insight and implementation’.

The first element shows general geodemographic and lifestyle information such as age, life-stage, preferred communication channels, newspapers, occupation, income and so on. It also reveals recycling specific information behaviour such as what proportion put recyclable items in the general rubbish and what proportion contaminate recycling, plus where its members look for information about recycling such as council websites, newspapers, social media etc. It also details information describing recycling attitudes and effectiveness relative to other segments; such as effort, volume, materials, food waste etc.

The second element provides more insight and ideas on strategic implementation, suggesting what campaigns to consider but also, more importantly, what type of marketing methods should be used to best reach the segment and what types of messages should be used so they are most likely to be engaged.

To illustrate this, if we look at one segment, ‘Terraced Families’, highly prominent in the Welsh Valleys, we discover that food waste recycling amongst this group is low. We can also determine that the best way to communicate is by door stepping but, delve a little deeper, and we find they are also likely to respond to leaflets picked up in-store so supermarket road shows to compliment other activities, such as direct mail or telephone calls might also be effective. Further details of the direction and messages the campaign could use are also suggested. With identified competence levels ranging from ‘recycling unaware’ to ‘trying their best’, the main messages these residents need are clear instructions about what, when and how to recycle.” There is also a detailed breakdown of geographic location of each segment at ward level.

Local authorities know their residents and so some of this information may be obvious but these nuances are often ignored and a homogenized approach to marketing is frequently used. As a result, marketing campaigns suffer by not connecting effectively. Using the segmentation allows strategies to really target residents. It provides a detailed picture of attitudes towards waste and recycling that will allow authorities to underpin the strategic direction of marketing campaigns.


Full House

Full House

A campaign developed to target all rooms in the household and run in three local authority areas – Neath Port Talbot, Caerphilly and Wrexham. Based on the profiles most likely to respond to the campaign, three segments were chosen: Terraced families, low income families and well-off families. Well-off families do recycle but as big consumers, often with children still living at home, they are prime candidates for a ‘just one more’ type campaign. Terrace families and low income families recycle but to a lesser degree. Both have some potential to increase the amount they recycle particularly by clearly identifying examples of what can be recycled from each room and how to recycle it. A comprehensive campaign was developed using a variety of marketing methods, chosen to best engage with each segment. Events and door stepping were the main focus of the campaign and directly targeted the larger ‘low income families’ and ‘terraced families’ segment. Ward information was used to inform location of door stepping activities. Social media and web advertising, newspaper and radio adverts, as well as promotions in council publications were also used as these resonated with all three segments, particularly the ‘well off families’. The segmentation also helped inform the message and tone of adverts and leaflets, creating a more bespoke feel. The campaign is still underway so results are to be determined. But the segmentation model provided a statistical evidence base to inform marketing tactics, ensuring the best use of budgets, delivering initiatives in the right geographical areas and ensuring engagement was the most effective and efficient.  

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