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Urban/Rural; The Best Marketing Demographic to Segment

Most savvy companies are segmenting their customers and prospects by more than the usual list of suspects. Segmenting and targeting you file will increase response rates, reduce opt outs, and usually increases ROI. A good marketing team will have several segmentations that will receive somewhat different engagements with their customers.

Urban vs Rural is not usually one of the segmentations, but my testing is showing it should. After Customer/Prospect, the differences between Urban and Rural customers might be more significant than any other including Income, Gender, Average Order Value, or even Age.

Several brands have recognized this difference. Target is testing a new store format for cities. Just think about space. Urban customers will not buy a suite case size package of paper towels even if it is less expensive because they don’t have the space to store. Whole Foods is also coming out with a new smaller store concept called 365 by Whole Foods that will primarily service urban areas. These companies recognize the important differences between Urban and Rural customers. Here is my list of the differences:

Urban Rural

More Diverse (race, culture) Less Diverse

More Income Less Income

More White Collar More Blue Collar

More Options Less access to stores

Physical space is an issue Space not an issue

Likes “innovative”, “competition” Likes “dependable” , “traditional”

Less likely to respond to direct mail Responds to direct mail

Less DIY More DIY

The differences between Urban and Rural require different marketing techniques to get better response rates. If you are a marketing company you should A/B test Urban/Rural to see if you can’t get a tick up on response rates. It is easy to do using zip codes.

I realize not all marketers can change every customer interaction to every demographic. But, I would also argue that the differences between Urban vs Rural are so vast that there is no other better demographic to segment.

Chas Fox

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