Companies need stronger, faster, and cheaper insights. But how can an insight or marketing team divide their customer base up more precisely to accomplish this task?
Cue, customer segmentation research.
Segmented personas will present your insights team with the strongest data. Behavior-based segmentation, especially, is increasingly popular among researchers.
Let's dive into these 5 types of market segmentation strategies your team can use to unlock employee and consumer insights. In this market segmentation guide, you'll learn:
- Behavioral Segmentation
- Psychographic Segmentation
- Demographic Segmentation
- Geographic Segmentation
- Firmographic Segmentation
Market segmentation is a marketing technique that involves segmenting a target market into smaller, more defined segments, enabling a business to conduct strong market research into customers. By participating in market segmentation, researchers can reveal consumer experience insights, product development innovation approaches, suggestions for boosting customer loyalty, and more.
We know that market segmentation allows us to gain an in-depth understanding of our customer base, but what can we do with these insights? Market segmentation offers a wide range of actionable recommendations with projected business outcomes. These outcomes include:
Unlocking new competitive advantages
Market segmentation can allow us to unlock competitive advantages by introducing new markets for organizations to explore. Using the insights gained from this method, we can identify untapped and growing markets but have low competition. High-growth and low competition markets allow the organization to expand its customer base and eventually drive product discovery.
Improving the product development process
Through the use of market segmentation, organizations can power their product development process. Uncovering new segments and discovering their needs allows product teams to create products that satisfy that particular group’s pain points. In turn, specialized products or services may have little competition – and if niche enough, they may have no competition at all.
Optimizing campaign performance
Insights gained from market segmentation efforts can help marketing teams create tailored messaging that strengthens campaign communications. Most importantly, market segmentation insights allow teams to make more calculated decisions, reducing media spend and improving the campaign’s cost-effectiveness.
You can split market segmentation into four distinct stages within a more prominent market research method separate from the segmentation divides themselves.1. Set an objective
What is the purpose of this market segmentation process? Identify customer segmentation models and variables (and those that apply to your specific market), then develop a hypothesis based on those findings.
Establish a research design, collect data, analyze the results, and develop your segments. This step will validate or disprove your hypothesis in part.
There are several potential customers you can choose from, so you must choose your most viable option and move your product forward from there.
Think of this step as a service to your future customer base. Identify the most specific use case, and your company will be able to offer a more personalized product or service. Think of your company as a resource, not a selling point.
You can perform this step in market segmentation in a variety of manners. An online focus group is a fast and efficient way to discover new segments. You can use platforms like Remesh to dig into pre-existing customer segments.
Select your target segment and identify the implications of this segment or persona. Make moves based on a target segment, project goals, market viability, and product status. Use powerpoint templates to capture and present your marketing segmentation strategy effectively.5. Identify launch plan
Identify key stakeholders, ideate and communicate the launch plan internally, then execute the project using your target segments.
The five types of market segmentation include:
Behavioral segmentation digs deeper into customers' purchasing habits than demographic segmentation. It’s also one of the most popular customer profile types to be integrated into marketing campaigns. Behavioral segmentation comprises behavior patterns, like customer loyalty or engagement level, specific to customer interactions with a brand or company.
You can use behavioral segmentation to gain insights into customer experience, allowing for improvements in customer success. Some questions to consider:
Behavioral segmentation is also used for marketers to determine future customer leads and prospects in the market who are more likely to purchase your product.
Similar to psychographics, behavioral segments are primarily collected based on a consumer’s digital footprint. New improvements in technology compile metadata from customers to better understand their preferences. Unused data can be sent to customer support or used for marketing messages.
Psychographics is a type of customer segmentation that focuses on inner or qualitative traits. Psychographic attributes are the ones that aren’t obvious just by looking at your customer, like demographic segmentation. Instead, psychographics requires deeper analysis.
By defining a customer persona this way, you’ll be more equipped to tailor your marketing strategies. And, you’ll appeal to customer tastes.
You can use psychographic segmentation to develop a “brand personality” or brand personification. In other words, the personality traits that your brand exemplifies.
For example, let’s say your insights team discovers your customer base purchases a new type of running shoe every year. Your market research team also knows that people interested in new running shoes value high energy and independence.
Then, you can use that finding as a feature in your brand style, which could help sell other products related to fitness under those same traits. For example, your commercials might be fast-paced and emphasize the strength of the individual.
There are a few ways to collect demographics, including:
Depending on your relationship with a customer, you can more or less ask them directly about their consumer habits. Some quantitative feedback questions may include:
If you’re running out of ideas, you might start looking into some unusual places to collect customer feedback. Or, you might begin by investigating potential groups of customers you're not currently interviewing or more broadly into consumer trends.
When you ask qualitative questions, you can discover meaningful insights about your customers. These questions may include:
These questions lead to further insights into a customer’s lifestyle. These questions, especially when asked to larger groups of people, are typically requested by creating a survey. However, online focus groups are becoming increasingly popular customer feedback tools, as well.
2. Observing customer data
This type of psychographic probe is more low-key and becoming increasingly efficient with A.I. advancement. For companies studying consumers, A.I. systems have allowed for a deeper understanding of consumer insights.
Some questions to consider:
Analyzing your customer’s social media and digital habits will enable you to optimize your product marketing efforts – and probably contribute to your market segmentation strategy, as well. An increasingly popular example of this play method is coming with the rise of voice technology.
Voice search is an essential asset in psychographic segmentation. Customers use devices like Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa to discuss personal preferences, interests, and other potentially sensitive data. Now, consumer data is available for companies to sculpt customer profiles.
With this access to detailed customer information comes some concerns over data privacy and ethical corporate use. Some risks can include:
Without consent and transparency, this data could easily make consumers less inclined to share their information with brands. If used responsibly, these technologies can create a fully tailored consumer marketplace, speed up efficiency, and increase time to market.
Demographics are the breakdown of your customer personas in the market for cursory traits like age or gender. These traits offer basic information on your customers and are often considered one of the more broad segmentation types. Examples of demographic segmentation include age, income, family size, education, or gender.
Dive into these segments to cut down on time and resources to understand your target audience. Or tap into potential consumers that you have yet to reach. Demographics are generally less invasive to collect than other segmentation types.
Geographics are the study of your customer based on their physical location, which can affect more physical interactions in the market. Consumers grouped in similar areas may share similar preferences. That’s why this type of market segmentation is excellent to pair alongside more abstract types, like behavioral.
For example, consider a company that is advertising a lawn care service that utilizes a subscription model. The company would likely be more successful in targeting a suburban area where residents need extra yard care. The campaign would be less successful in an urban area, where consumers might be more interested in a food delivery service.
Studying customer geography can also help target search results in your prospect’s region.
You can use firmographics to describe the attributes of firms or businesses. Firmographics are to firms and investors as demographics are to people. Companies can use this type of segmentation to determine whether or not a smaller firm is apt for an investment.
With millions of firms worldwide, businesses can use firmographics to identify prospects based on size, scale, and funding. You can also breakdown firms into sections of:
Investing in a smaller firm or company always comes with a risk. Therefore, investors have to be precise in segmenting venture opportunities to minimize that risk.
Segmentation variables for firms typically include things related to a smaller company’s potential. For example, before investing in a new application, venture capital firms look for company strengths. These can include things like the vision of the executive team or the product’s target market.
Once you’ve created segments, keep an eye out for common mistakes that marketers and researchers make.
Making your segments too small or specialized
Segments that are too small will be more challenging to organize or inaccurate, and they can distract from your objective. Like sample size, an over-segmented group can yield data that is not statistically or directionally significant.
Not allowing your segments to change
Stay focused on ROI. If your strategy isn’t working efficiently for your business, it may be time to switch things around.
Ignoring new potential personas
Customer profiles change. Try not to get too attached to your segments, as they will evolve with the market.
Targeting and positioning are the next steps in the roadmap following market segmentation. To evaluate the potential commercial value of a segment, use these strategies to assess the following criteria:
After settling on a target segment, move on to product positioning, which presents the benefits of your product to the chosen target segment. A simple way to evaluate your best positioning opportunities is to map them out.
Follow these steps to create a simple product positioning map:
Whether it’s conducting an interview or writing a survey, the next phase of your research can sometimes be unclear.
When collecting massive amounts of market segmentation data, keep the more extraordinary brand or marketing in mind. Rather than relying on one or two sole strategies to characterize your customer segments, combine the efforts of multiple strategies. For researchers, this allows for a complete perspective on target customers.
Marketing segmentation allows companies to define and optimize future products and advertising your product to consumers in the future.
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