How Network Segmentation Forces You to Go for Less, & End Up with More

Aaron Gaul, UrbanTrans North America


We all want to see a steady increase in participation and results using our Unity platforms. No objections there, right?  But how we get to that finish line, likely varies greatly amongst all Unity admins.  One excellent skill to harness in our effort is the simple ability to segment.  

Segmentation is defined as: a means to divide the marketplace into parts, or segments, which are definable, accessible, actionable, and profitable and have a growth potential. In other words, a company would find it impossible to target the entire market, because of time, cost and effort restrictions.

Think of it this way, segmentation is the answer to that awful and offensive old saying “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”  Let’s not debate why someone would want to eat said elephant but rather let’s focus on the lesson provided.  Sometimes having big goals force us to believe we cannot achieve it with our existing resources. We become overwhelmed and discouraged.  The key to overcome that is to break that big elephant-sized goal down into little bite-sized goals. Each eventually adding up to that monster-sized goal.  Lucky for us, Unity has a lot of great attributes that help us do just that.

Here are just a few of the many ways to use Unity when segmenting:


  • It’s time to network.  There is likely no better way to achieve a huge goal, than to provide an environment where others are motivated to help you achieve that huge goal.  Enter the network function on Unity. By creating networks for your major stakeholders, you are creating an ability for others to segment your audience.  That network hierarchy/organization/structure could be done any number of ways from employers, to local cities, to home-owner associations, to business improvement districts and on and on.  The key to effective network segmentation is to put resources towards effectively training those network managers on the how’s and why’s.  What can Unity give those stakeholders that they need and thus which functionality do you need to make sure they know and/or are supported with.
  • I’m bringing Trip Plans back!  Call me a dork, but data visualization is sexy.  Plotted locational dots and clusters on a map in real-time is the bee’s knees (nature-based saying #2 in this article for those keeping score at home).  When you click over to “trip plan map” on your admin panel, you’ll find an obviously great data visualization of every participants’ queries.  What you do with that information over time is the key.  Any number of segments can be found on this screen.  As an admin you could find a collection of commuters who all want to start a trip in a neighborhood that is about to receive brand new bus service.  Build a segment and introduce them specifically to this new transit service.  Invite them to a lunch and learn because they are the most qualified prospects you have access to!  Or another way to segment these individuals is by potential for vanpool development.  Forming the van is the hardest part of the gig.  So use the trip plan data to find clusters of commuters travelling long distance to start the discussion on vanpooling.
  • Don’t be a loser, check out the users.  As you can see, I’ll do anything to get you to remember something – even that rhyme. For admins, the user page provides an infinite amount of analysis for segmentation. Here are a few of my favorites.  



Newbies: sort your user list by “created” and find the most recent participants.  Now select those people and send them a specific “something”—gift, message, encouragement, follow-up, etc.  Something to let them know they are welcome and you are there to help in whatever capacity your organization deems fit.  

Email-addies: When dealing with multiple workplace networks, I will often search a workplace email address (for example to search for UrbanTrans employees, I would put “@urbantrans” in the email search bar). This will bring up a list of participants that used that email address. Now I look to see if they are associated with that employer network.  If not, I spend a few moments a month cleaning up the data and getting the right people into the right networks. Now I know not all participants used their work email, but this proactive maintenance segmentation effort will pay off in the long-haul.  You’d be surprised how many people find the registration but simply cannot find not the right network. I guess we should assume they are busy off chasing their own elephant sized goals and not quite focused on network buttons.

Networks: Assuming the data is all cleaned up as mentioned above, I then prioritize outreach efforts based on participation levels in each network segment.  Do you have a giant employer that only has two participants?  I’d recommend dedicating resources to strategically increase that number proportionately to the size of the network.  Once you accomplish that network, move onto the next. 

There are way more ways to use the data and functionality of Unity to segment.  But hopefully these can jump-start your imagination! Each a tiny, bite-sized strategy that will directly work towards your giant goal. Next thing you know, you’ve illegally eaten an elephant and PETA is at your door. OK, scrap that—next thing you know, your funders want to pour more money into your efforts to go after an even bigger goal. Much better ending. And… scene.

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