The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

Mindset Segmentation: What it is and how to use it

Traditionally, segmenting audiences is a way to understand current behavior to predict future actions. Today, marketers are digging deeper than ever into the personas created through basic demographic differences. That’s why “mindset segmentation” has become a useful process.

First explained by Kellie Cummings, mindset segmentation focuses on “emotional desires and expectations.” Getting to know your audience as people, rather than a source of engagement or revenue, can help your work resonate and cultivate a community. Here are four major attributes to look at when segmenting by mindset.

1. Beliefs

What sets of values and principles inspires someone to act? The goal here is making sure you “get” your audience and are able to show it. There isn’t one right answer. The challenge is identifying which of your university’s core values align with your audience, and using that knowledge to adapt elements of your content delivery.

2. Hopes, Dreams, Fears

Understanding best and worst case scenarios helps align your faculty’s marketing objectives. Knowing in advance what might disappoint your audience can prevent firestorms, and offers guidelines on how to best respond to them. Identifying hopes and fears can help you reflect your audience’s lifestyle and eventually become a part of it. That’s a sign that your university understands its audience on a more personal level.

3. Expectations

The most powerful way to go “above and beyond” in your social engagement is by understanding your audience’s expectations beyond the university. Get to know their personal expectations, their beliefs, dreams, fears and needs.

Keep in mind how your audience wants to be perceived by their friends, colleagues and relatives. Your most successful content is going to reflect, and possibly influence, this perception. Keeping this in mind can help you develop best practices, but also to avoid social behaviors your audience absolutely does not want associated with their identity. All of this should be considered in the voice, tone, and content that you share.

4. Emotional Needs

Emotion has a strong influence over our decision-making process and even the decisions themselves. It starts by making people feel like they belong to your community. The university should make them feel important by engaging in conversations, not monologues. Telling students during their introduction week that you are always here for them using a shiny presentation is only halfway there. Being both attentive and engaged builds trust and people will start using the university to proudly reflect “who they are”.


How to get started

Start your process by talking to your most involved students, staffs or research body and bring up the elements provided above in a non-intrusive way. This seems easier said than done especially if your goal is to find a “segment” for everyone. Look back at your existing personas as there are chances that emotional needs, values and beliefs will be similar; age and gender can already go a long way, for example. 

Finally, mindset segmentation is not the “new way” to segment your audience but rather an additional facet you’ll want to consider to more accurately cater to your audience and provide more personalized experiences within the university.


This blog is inspired from Kissmetric’s article ”The Little-Known Personalization Strategy That’s Taking the Web by Storm (And How to Use It”)


Author: Edouard Reat Noch

A recent graduate from EHL, Edouard is the communications coordinator at swissnex San Francisco. With a passion for gaming, writing, and sports, he hopes to help local businesses grow in his father’s home country, Cambodia.

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