Regardless of the behavioral outcome of interest or the approach used to address it, social and behavior change (SBC) interventions are strengthened when audiences are effectively understood, defined, and differentially targeted. Audience analysis and segmentation are critical steps in identifying the wants, needs, and attitudes of a given population and subsequently determining the factors that influence and drive behavior within that population. Therefore, a key challenge and opportunity for SBC program design and implementation is a more nuanced understanding of the audiences we seek to serve and motivate.
Recently, programs such as the USAID-funded Transform/PHARE project have begun to apply advanced methods of audience segmentation, adapted from marketing science, to increase the impact of their SBC interventions. The results of these advanced methods of data analysis and interpretation have generated opportunities to better define, measure, and prioritize audiences. Breakthrough ACTION has developed a new webpage with rich visual content, documenting the use of national demand analysis to understand and segment audiences in West Africa. The Advancing Family Planning Demand through Innovative Audience Segmentation webpage captures the process and outputs of Transform/PHARE’s family planning demand analysis and male segmentation analysis in Niger; the Animas-Sutura Project’s experience piloting segment-based counseling tools in Niger; and the work of AgirPF to incorporate the results of a national demand analysis in Cote d’Ivoire into an evidence-based SBC strategy.
To support the utilization of advanced analysis and segmentation approaches, Breakthrough ACTION developed the Advanced Audience Segmentation for Social and Behavior Change How-to Guide. The How-to Guide outlines a phased process of background research, in-depth qualitative research, quantitative research, and advanced statistical analysis to create a representative base of audience segments. The result of this process is a framework to understand how certain beliefs, behaviors, or needs vary across a given population. The benefit of utilizing advanced approaches to audience segmentation goes beyond better-targeted interventions; a more refined approached to segmentation helps to ensure that across SBC programs messages are better harmonized, communication gaps are filled, and redundancies are avoided.