Warner, L. A., Kumar Chaudhary, A., Rumble, J. N., Lamm, A. J., & Momol, E. (2017). Using audience segmentation to tailor residential irrigation water conservation programs. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(1), 313-333. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2017.01313
Today’s complex issues require technical expertise as well as the application of innovative social science techniques within Extension contexts. Researchers have suggested that a social science approach will play a critical role in water conservation, and people who use home landscape irrigation comprise a critical target audience for agriculture and natural resources professionals. This study was conducted to examine the possible role of an audience segmentation approach in addressing the complex issue of water resources. This research used descriptive discriminant analysis to assign national irrigation users to previously identified subgroups found in the literature (the water considerate majority, the water savvy conservationists, and the unconcerned water users) and compare characteristics to identify differences on a national scale. Results revealed the nation’s irrigation users are fairly water conscious. The findings implied unique subgroups exist among targeted Extension audiences relevant to specific behaviors, and Extension programs should focus on different programmatic objectives for targeting different subgroups. Differences were found among the three subgroups in water conservation behaviors, personal and social normative beliefs, use of landscape professionals for irrigation maintenance, and learning preferences. Recommendations were provided on how to use the results to develop impact-driven Extension programs.