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Follow the leader: Uncovering Marketing Tribes within Your Customer Base

Crown yourself the leader of the tribe. Show that you understand the needs of your audience and they will follow.

#tribalmarketing #digitalmarketing #contentmarketing #socialmediamarketing

A starting point to help you understand the need to uncover tribes of customers and perhaps build your own passionate groups of users.

Although, the "uncovering" part of this equation seems to be the technique du jour among many well-known brands. The truth is, it is far easier to find, cultivate and lead a passionate group of well-defined users within your own existing customer base than it is to define and build one.

Many top brands around the world typically look to their own customer base and with the help of various analytical tools and quick thinking, are able to segment their audience into various groups of tribes.

These brands will then figure out how to build marketing systems that speak directly and specifically to each group. The next step is then to go out and try to find new customers, fitting each into an already well-defined tribe.

There are, however, certain rules one must follow to allow for the investment and dedication of resources often required to define and build an entire array of messaging assets to help reach out to that group. For one, one must ensure that the economic payoff is worth the investment.

In other words, is that tribe or group of users or potential customers large enough to warrant the effort? Will you stand to gain, whether financially or otherwise by assigning an entire marketing campaign and all the resources required?

Most firms will also designate within their sales and marketing teams, folks that share common interests and views with the group of users being courted. For example, if you decide to rollout a marketing campaign to try to market your new set of apps to millennials, you will not want to assign this task to your marketing guys who are middle-aged men and women.

Nope! You might want to assign this task to your younger group of marketers.

In this article, we shall take a close look at various techniques used by some top brands to help segment and define economically viable tribes of users within their own customer bases, how to go out and find others like them, and what the results have been.

The tribe you know

If you already have a sizeable customer base, you are in a great position to uncover real-life tribes of customers. The idea is to come up with a system that will allow you to continually identify and allocate certain markers that clearly define which group each customer belongs to.

The first logical step is to break your customer list down using some very basic demographics. Due to locational restrictions and costs associated with marketing in those areas, I will suggest that you do not use geographical location as one of these segmenting filters.

Not yet at least, unless you operate a brick-and-mortar business with no eCommerce lines of business. In other words, you can ignore the last suggestion if 100 percent of your customers come to your physical location.


The idea of segmenting your customers is a pretty straightforward one. Now, depending on what it is that your company makes, sells, provides, you will place a higher priority on some demographics over others.

For example, if your company sells cars, you will want to first divide your customer base by gender. This is simply because men and women buy cars for very different reasons and this would be the ideal place to start.

In this example, age will be the next logical filter. The next step will be to divide these guys up into whether there are children in the household or not and if the customers are single or married.

Now you know when you see someone driving a Minivan, regardless of age or gender, you know they have children, small children at that. Having kids or not plays a huge role in our choice of cars among many other products and services.

Now you will want to create some income levels and define various categories of cars that correspond with each income bracket. You will want to use some very general identifiers for these cars at this point. Perhaps instead of identifying these vehicles as sports, compact, etc. You will want to give them internal names that describe a stage in life rather than the type of car.

For example, you might notice that within your customer list, women under the age of 30, just moved to a new city, just got a new job making over 60k, unmarried with no kids tend to buy certain vehicles.

You can call this type the “Single Fresh starter(F) (mid-income)” Note that this is by no means a scientific process. This activity can be carried out with specificity that matches your current situation as long as it meets your needs.

The general idea here is to come up with a basic segmenting system that works for you. As you break your customers down some more, you will want to start to introduce some of the elements that will help determine which belong in which tribe of users.

Tribal lines

So, what is the difference between grouping customers by demographics and tribes? Well, the answer to that question is a complex one. I will say this though. Demographics simply identify what we are: Single, 30, female, etc.

Although effective, in today’s vastly dynamic consumer landscape, we as business owners must go a bit further to stand out from the competition and connect wholeheartedly with our customers.

For that to happen we need to reach folks based on their interests, passions, political affiliations, stance on social issues, etc. As you build your business and grow your customer base, you will identify many elements that bind groups of customers within your customer base together.

You might even enhance your profit margins by creating new products and services to help meet the needs of these groups within groups. You will also undoubtedly uncover certain organizing elements unique to your business.

However, there are some well-known things that brands have used in the past to help group and reach their audiences. These elements evolve over time.

The main takeaway is for you to identify which issues of the day ( if that is the route you choose to go) are important to your segments of customers and clearly communicate where you stand on those conversations as a brand.

Not personally, but as an organization. Although, it helps if you are a believer in the topics you choose to speak about. But remember, this is not about you. This is about what is important to your customers and larger target audience.



Multi-cultural households

Goya Foods

Goya Foods wanted to promote inclusivity, largely focusing on helping Hispanic families striving to raise their children with a blend of both Hispanic and American culinary tastes. In a 2018 campaign "Growing Up with More Than One Flavor," the campaign's target audience was Hispanic parents who live in the U.S. and who had an interest in teaching their children about their cultural roots, and also encourage other people of non-Hispanic backgrounds to be more inclusive of their culinary choices.

Goya strove to position itself as an ally to families, providing the variety of ingredients that allow Hispanic families to explore both traditional and non-traditional recipes, thus enabling their children to grow up with more than one preferred "flavor" while also promoting the idea that cultural diversity and traditions are something to be proud of, not hide.


It is fairly easy to identify the ethnic makeup of your customers and more importantly of any new customers you are looking to onboard. You can even take steps to add this question as an optional one in surveys and your initial setup of customers.

Let folks know that you are only asking this question in order to be able to provide services catered to their very own unique experiences.

Racial bias (Women of color)

Procter & Gamble

For the 10-year anniversary of P&G's "My Black is Beautiful" program, the brand wanted to expand its message beyond beauty and self-acceptance and address racial bias in America. It created a video entitled "The Talk," about the conversation Black parents have with their children about prejudice, especially with self-esteem and appearance. The campaign increased the program's relevance among its target audience but delivered an inclusive message all consumers need to hear.

The "My Black is Beautiful" program consists of nearly three million women. Its primary target was African American mothers, and the program served as a way to encourage cross-cultural conversations across communities. The campaign spread awareness about beauty standards and how a lack of diversity can affect the ways people view themselves and others.

New moms and mothers to be

Wyeth Nutrition

To understand the parents the company serves, Wyeth Nutrition developed a data-driven strategy to and improve its message relevancy to parents of young children. The company, which develops premium-quality nutritional products scientifically designed to meet the needs of infants, young children, and pregnant and lactating mothers, wanted to find a way to identify different segments based on their unique digital habits. To do this, the company worked with Google to identify different groups and their needs.

After launching the data initiative in 2016, the brand successfully identified 198,000 pregnant moms and 272,000 moms. The use of data and segmentation also significantly improved the cost efficiency of Wyeth's media strategies: the cost per click lowered by over 30 percent, the cost per view of videos lowered by 50 percent, and the bounce rate on the brand's landing pages lowered by 20 percent. Best of all, Wyeth now has the capability to efficiently move consumers along a more personal consumer journey that meets their unique needs.

Single (busy) moms


Creating a home that is not just a place to live, but a place that invites warmth, support, and comfort is necessary for all families. However, it's not an easy thing to do, especially when time and money are scarce.

For parents with young children who are also looking for ways to bond, French DIY brand Castorama, known for decoration and home furnishings, created an activity that inspires home décor and storytelling.

Castorama realized that bedtime is one of few times of day parents and children spend together. To help parents make the most of this time, Castorama's created "The Magic Wallpaper," an accessible, fun, and innovative way for parents to tell stories to children and was the first wallpaper to inspire innumerable adventures for kids ages 3 and up. For busy parents, single or not, bedtime can be one of the only times they get to spend with their kids; nearly 13 million French people were targeted and the experience was available online before it became available in stores.


There are many ways you can reach existing and new customers. Ways that go far beyond the well-known basic demographics. These are just a few examples inspired by the good folks at

Once you embark on the journey to really analyze your database of existing customers, with an open creative mind, you will be able to identify various interest-based, passion-based, and lifestyle-centric ways that large groups of your existing customers are connected to one another.

You can then use this knowledge to build curated marketing campaigns and initiatives to appeal to these groups. Also, having this wealth of information will help you focus your overall business in a way that caters to your ideal customers.

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