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Learn About Segmentation Tools

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain the two ways you can segment lists.
  • Explain the two ways you can segment data extensions.
  • Segment a data extension using a data filter.

Marketing Cloud Engagement has a number of segmentation tools designed and optimized to help you send the right message to the right person and the right time. Let’s take a quick look at each of them.

Segmenting Lists

If your data model is lists, you can segment with groups and data filters.

A group is a subset of subscribers you’ve taken from a list. You can filter groups by profile and preference attributes using a simple drag-and-drop interface.

  • Profile attributes contain information about your subscribers. For example, name, location, gender, age, opt-in date.
  • Preference attributes contain your subscribers’ preferences. A common preference is communication—that is, what type of information each subscriber prefers to get from you. For example, special promotions, new products, and coupons.

A data filter is a group of criteria that segments a list or data extension. For example, you can use a data filter to find all the subscribers on a list who have interests in boots or sneakers and live in the state of Indiana or Ohio.

Data filters, like groups, have an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface. The benefit of using a data filter is that when you create a stand-alone filter definition and choose not to associate it with a subscriber list, you can reuse the same filter definition with many lists. For example, if targeting women over the age of 50 is important to your business, you can create one data filter that segments out women over the age of 50 and use it to filter any of your subscribers or lists.

Segmenting Data Extensions

If your data model is data extensions, you can segment with queries and data filters.

As with lists, a data filter is simply a group of criteria that segments your data extension. Ready for less talk and more action? Let’s take a detailed look at segmentation using a data filter.

Segmenting a Data Extension Using a Data Filter

At Northern Trail Outfitters, marketing specialist Paulo is ready to begin thinking more strategically about his marketing efforts. He’s decided he wants to set up a campaign to send a special promotion to subscribers on their birthday. To get started, he needs to set up a data filter to segment out those subscribers whose birthday it is on any given day. Here’s how he does that in the Email Studio app.

  1. Hover over the Salesforce blue cloud to display the main Marketing Cloud Engagement navigation bar.
  2. Hover over Email Studio.
  3. Click Email.
  4. Hover over Subscribers.
  5. Select Data Filters.
  6. Click Create.
  7. Select Data Extension.
  8. Select the source data extension: MasterSubscriber.
  9. Click Ok.
  10. Drag and drop Birthday to the filter workspace.
    • Select is anniversary of from the picklist.
      • Selecting “is anniversary of” ensures that Marketing Cloud Engagement ignores the year associated with the date.
    • Select Today from the picklist.
    • Check Account Time Zone.
      • This evaluates “today” based on the time zone of the account rather than the time zone of the Marketing Cloud Engagement servers.
  11. Click Save.
  12. Name the filter Birthday of Today.
  13. Click Save.

Check out this video to see creating the data filter in action.

Segmenting a Data Extension with Queries

Queries let you request and retrieve data and place it in a data extension. Some considerations for using queries include the following.

  • You must know SQL (Structured Query Language), since it’s the language that defines the criteria.
  • Marketing Cloud Engagement places the results in a data extension (or extensions).
  • You must create the data extension (or extensions) where Marketing Cloud Engagement places the results before defining and executing the query activity.
  • The SQL query activity in Automation Studio initiates queries.

You’ve learned about various segmentation tools and their setup, in particular data filters. Let’s move on to automating segmentation. Automation is what really lets you sit back and relax while Marketing Cloud Engagement does the heavy lifting.


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