Creating Customer Segments

The smartest marketers are able to understand which customer segments are most valuable to their business and how each of those segments prefer to receive communication. We’ve noticed there are 3 primary buckets of engagement: The Overt, The Personal, The Money Talker.

  1. The Overt customers are the ones that post on social media, tell their friends where to go and are generally “the loudest”.  They want to feel appreciated when they share love for your brand.
  2. The Personal customers are the ones who will communicate with your brand when you reach out to them.  They tend to be the most engaged email subscribers, enroll in loyalty programs, answer surveys and claim promotions.
  3. The Money Talkers let their wallet give all the feedback they need.

The key to identifying who customers are and what they want is collecting data on them.  You can start collecting data immediately:

  • Send a feedback survey via email to your email subscribers
  • Invite people to try a new menu item
  • Run a promotion for your social media fans only
 More data = better segments.

More data = better segments.

As you collect more customer contact information and additional data on who these people are, you will start to see some trends and consistencies – these will comprise your customer segments.  It’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole and make arbitrary segments so, when you get to creating your segments, it’s important to think about the drivers of your business first. For casual dining businesses, increased online engagement increases the average frequency of visits. You should create segments that help you understand how to engage that segment to do what will drive your business. Segments for casual dining restaurants that can encouraged to come more frequently might be:

  • Facebook Fan + has spent money in-store before
  • Filled out a survey + on email list
  • Enrolled in loyalty program + social media follower + has been to website in the past month + filled out a survey

These segments help identify how connected to your brand someone is and how many more times per month you might be able to get them to come.

For fast casual and QSR restaurants, however, timely messaging can drive visits and increase average ticket sizes.  So very different segments are important to maintain:

  • Ate at lunch + subscribed to email list
  • Ate breakfast + opened last 3 emails + filled out a survey
  • Came to website during lunch + ate at lunch + on email list

There are nearly unlimited different segments you can create and maintain, the key is starting somewhere and tailoring as you go. Once you create segments, you can send targeted and custom messaging that relates to what that segment cares about. They will appreciate the tailored messaging and you will benefit from them coming and giving you more of their business.

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Jake is a co-founder at PrivyHe has previously worked with CMO's at Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 creating various successful multi-platform marketing initiatives.  To learn more about Jake, check out his LinkedIn profile.



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Julie is Marketing Manager at  On The Spot Systems. Her qualifications and work experiences span the human resources, advertising, and marketing fields, and at every point in her career she has been motivated to delve deeper into the entrepreneurial side of business. To learn more about Julie, check out her LinkedIn Profile.