When you identify your ideal customer, you start seeing patterns in their behavior. One type of customer may have certain hobbies, read certain magazines, or eat certain types of foods.
As a marketer, your job is to understand these differences so that you can target each group as effectively as possible. Instead of sending one generic marketing message to everyone, you can create more detailed messages and only send them to the appropriate groups.
This is known as segmenting your target market. It helps you be more succinct in the way you speak to your prospects and customers, and ultimately gives you more bang for your buck.
There are several different ways you can segment your market.
Geographic segmentation involves dividing your target market up according to geographic regions. This can be done in a variety of ways: neighborhood, community, zip code, local, regional, city, state, national, international.
It can also be divided based on geographical needs. Have a product or service specifically for humid areas? Wet climates? Snowy winters? Beachfront property?
You can also use geographical segmentation based on cultural or economic specifications. Here in the US, think of the differences between the east and west, north and south.
There are many ways to divide up your target market based on demographics. This includes things like age, gender, race, religion, education, occupation, income, interests, and family size. The more demographics you define, the more specific your target market can be.
Social media sites like Facebook are taking demographic segmentation to a whole different level. If you’ve never advertised on Facebook before, you might be surprised at just how specific you can define your target market. Want 40 to 60 year old women in your community that like riding horses? You can target that demographic. Want 20 to 30 year old men who enjoy playing Doom? You can target that too.
By diving into demographics to segment your target market, you can define specific needs and wants, and hone in on what makes a person tick. Imagine the purchasing power you’ll have access to when you speak directly to those who want what you offer most.
In some cases, the best way to target is based on knowledge or attitudes.
What if you knew that everyone who shops at a certain store ultimately became some of your best customers? Would you want to target them more than any other group? There is a way to find these people; it’s called geofencing.
The best way to segment based on behaviors is to get heavily involved with statistics and analytics. When you understand more about why people buy from you, you’ll have a wealth of information to decide how to market to future clientele.
The more you use different target marketing tactics to reach out to your customer base, the deeper you can go with influencing purchases. Psychographic segmentation takes what you develop in both geographical and demographical segmentation and applies it in different ways. Maybe you start learning about the values a group shares. Or the lifestyle they lead. Or the social class they belong to. Or even begin to develop a personality profile.
The more you learn, the more you can use this information to develop marketing materials that speak to that segmentation. Nothing is more effective than feeling like a company really gets you; that they’re speaking directly to you.
Think a Christmas tree business has the same sales in July as they do in December? Or lemonade sales are as high in the winter as they are in the summer?
Many businesses operate in seasonal marketplaces. The majority of their profits are made in a relatively short period of time.
If you’re one of these companies, you know you have less time to analyze your customers, and a shorter time period to get your marketing right. It’s more important than ever to get that target correct.
Features and Benefits Segmentation
When people buy your products or services, they have their own agendas in mind. They like your product because of certain features or benefits. And it’s different than someone else who loves your product equally well.
Maybe one likes the fact that they can touch and feel their purchases at your retail store. Maybe one likes the fact that you accept online payments. Still, another likes the fact that they can return something they ordered online directly to your store. All love what you offer; they buy the same product. But they do so because of the convenience you offer them based on their individual needs and desires.
If one person loves you for a specific reason, there are many more who would also benefit in the same manner. The more you know, the more you can highlight that specific feature or benefit.
Baby boomers. Generation X. Millennials. Generation Z. They all have their own unique approach to how they see the world. And if you know anything about the different generations, you know they prefer to be marketed to in different ways.
That means you can’t transfer what you know about your Baby Boomer clientele over and try to reach out to the Millennials in the same manner. Each generation has its own core values and perceptions. Get it wrong, and your marketing just won’t work.
Which Segmentation Should You Focus On?
Chances are as you read through each segmentation listed above, you saw where your business fits in.
But what if you saw several areas of opportunity? What if you’re a little confused?
Marketing isn’t an exact science. John Wanamaker’s quote has never been more accurate:
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
The key is focus. Base your decision on the best place to start. Create a budget that allows you to test the market well. Make sure you test. Make sure you measure your results. Tweak. Refine. Until you get the results you are looking for.
With target market segmentation, the more you dive in, the more you discover. As you get to know your customers on a deeper, more personal level, you’ll automatically become smarter in the end. You’ll learn what they like, what they want, and you’ll be able to “talk” to them in a voice they want to hear.
Want to start using segmentation in your marketing plan? We’ve got the tools to help you reach them in many different ways.
Let’s start by having a conversation.