Earthwatch: bespoke psychographic segmentation

Earthwatch is an environmental charity that connects people with the natural world, monitors the health of our natural resources, and helps people take action to have a positive impact. 

They work to encourage citizen science, support businesses to achieve their environmental goals, and educate people on how they can support the environment and biodiversity. 

Earthwatch asked MHM to provide stakeholder insight that would support their work: they wanted to understand what would inspire pro-environmental behaviour change amongst their potential supporters.  

Psychographics connect with supporter values

Earthwatch needed to find and engage with those people whose values and motivations align most closely with the charity’s own goals. This meant segmentation.

Traditional market segmentation systems - even in the charitable sector - tend to focus on demographics such as age, ethnicity, income or postcode. These systems don’t explore the personal values that dictate what causes someone might want to engage with or, more importantly, what might motivate them to jump off the fence.

Earthwatch knew if they wanted to connect with their audiences in a way that would command attention and inspire action they needed a segmentation system based on psychographics rather than demographics. 

A bespoke segmentation for environmental activism

MHM is known for using psychographics for good causes. We are the team behind Culture Segments, which is used by arts and heritage organisations world-wide. We have also created a number of bespoke psychographic systems, particularly for charitable organisations. 

For Earthwatch, we started the segmentation process with a robust, quantitative population study. This explored people’s values, motivations, behaviour, media use, preference for causes and organisations, alongside a host of other things.

From this, our team of data analysts began looking for correlations between values and lifestyle that could help Earthwatch pitch their messages at the correct level to reflect the audience's values and what might drive them to get involved in Earthwatch’s programmes. 

We provided detailed pen portraits and tailored strategies for each segment to enable the Earthwatch team to truly feel that they knew the segments. This meant they could get to work creating focused campaigns that would resonate with their target groups. 

Using segmentation to design programmes and communications

Staff at Earthwatch across the board are enthusiastic about the segments. The system is supporting them in talking in a meaningful way to different audiences, and ensures they avoid using the same broad brush messaging that so many organisations fall back on. 

As well as stakeholder communications, the new segments have been instrumental in programme design. The messaging and calls to action for Earthwatch’s 2021 Christmas campaign focused on just three segments. This included one segment which the Earthwatch team realised had huge potential, but was under-catered for in the current range of programmes and activities on offer. 

“We found MHM a joy to work with. The team was genuinely enthusiastic about our work and engaged with our project from the outset. They asked all the right questions to make sure that the outcome of the research met our needs and was suitable for the systems we had in place. I’m very excited about putting the resulting insights into action!”

- Amy Crosweller, Acting Director of Fundraising and Communications

Image credits
Volunteers planting: The City of Edinburgh Council/Earthwatch
Others: Earthwatch


As a Senior Research Executive, Laura designs, analyses and reports on a variety of research...

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