At this point in your illustrious career, you should know what a target market is. In short, your target market is the group of individuals you want to buy your product. -But what is target market segmentation, and why is it important? How could this additional step possibly make such a difference in how effective your marketing strategies are?
Why Do You Need a Target Market and Market Segmentation?
Finding your target market can be time consuming but, once you have defined the person or business who what wants you have to offer, your marketing message and efforts become more focused. Marketing to the populace as a whole is akin to throwing pennies at a penny slot machine in a casino and hoping one of them slide in and hit the jackpot. Not very efficient.
Instead, once you know your market, you can craft specific messages that call to them – more like a dart on a dart board. Focused messages are much more specific, and effective, than general “catch all” adverts.
Target market segmentation takes this focus to another level, tightening the beam of the laser pointer, if you will. While it has the possibility of making your marketing campaigns more complex, it also has the possibility of making them highly effective, with a smaller (yet more qualified), responsive group.
5 Approaches to Target Market Segmentation
Segmenting your target market isn’t exactly easy, but it’s not rocket science either. It takes time and thought, but I promise you won’t need a calculator.
Target market segmentation begins with the question, “Who am I trying to reach with my product/service?” The answer to this is your total market, but in most cases your total market is going to be extremely diverse. -And unless you have a very niche product or service, your total market will be extremely large, which is where segmentation comes in to play.
As with everything marketing, there are a lot of variables. The segments can be large or small, for example. The idea is to group them into segments with commonalities.
There are several ways you can segment your total market, but there are five common market segmentation approaches:
Where do your customers live? For example, do you only target your own country, or is your product available in several countries. Multi-cultural, multi-language and multi-geographic marketing campaigns (all which fall under the designation of international SEO), are extremely complex and take additional step for successful campaigns.
Do they live in specific neighborhoods, or perhaps different climate regions? As an example, someone living in one the Boroughs of New York City wouldn’t need cold weather gear like someone living in Alaska.
Demographics as to do with things such as a person’s age, occupation, religion, and ethnicity. You might separate your total market into those with kids and those without, or married vs single, male vs female, old or young. Are they educated?
Even an ad as simple as Bounty’s quicker picker upper can be affected by demographics. Notice how often their ads target families with children happily making messes. Nobody can dirty up a place like a busy child, and Bounty take advantage of that by using demographic segmentation.
Psychographics are somewhat like demographics, only they’re more about someone’s attitude, or their personality. Maybe you have market segmentations pointed toward various lifestyle choices or social class. For example, someone in a low class section of town generally wouldn’t be able to afford a Benz. Consequently, Mercedes targets those that have an eye toward luxury items and can afford the large ones, which is generally upper class.
Behavioral is about why they buy. For example, companies that sell cards (Hallmarks, American Greetings, etc) may segment based on the reason for the purchase. Marketing campaigns can also be segmented based on the individual’s readiness to buy, or how loyal they are to your company.
User Role Segmentation
Segmenting by user role is a common B2B marketing strategy, but can work just as well for B2C companies. In the 50s, door-to-door salespeople made a lot of money targeting stay-at-home moms with the newest vacuum cleaner. There are numerous ads that target children, which become influencers on parents.
With B2B, this could mean segmenting your marketing into campaigns that target middle management vs campaigns that target operations or CFOs. Especially with B2B, getting your message to the right segment makes all the difference.
Building Your Target Marketing Strategies
Once you’ve created your target market segments, you’ll need to find out more about them and build buyer personas. You want to answer questions like:
- What drives them to purchase
- How do they get their information about their choices
- What problems are they trying to solve with your product
- When do they buy?
- Where do they buy?
Finally, all the above comes down to building your target marketing strategies and how you can capitalize on all the work of target market segmentation.
Craft Specific Messages for Each Segment
You aren’t creating segments just for the fun of it. Each segment has a distinct personalities, wants, needs and uses for your product or service. As you develop your marketing campaigns, define what you’re going to target in each segment. For example, for some products, you would reach out to college students differently than you would people that were already established in the work force.
Choose Potential Over Group Size
Some segments buy more, and more often, than others. These are necessarily the biggest groupings, either. Especially if you’re on a limited marketing budget, you want to focus your campaigns on the segments that are most likely to buy. This allows you more bang, and more ROI, for your spent dollars.
Find Under-served Markets
Somebody always gets missed. You can’t please everyone, so work to find the one segment that everyone else keeps missing. Yes, it may be a smaller market at first, but this is the edge where those invisible, small companies somehow manage to take over from the big guys.
Buy targeting under-served, smaller markets hungry for your product offerings, and targeting them really well, you can build up the kind of the following that takes you into an overnight success.
Marketing isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of work, which is why so many companies hire agencies like us to do their marketing campaigns – or consult at the very least.
However, target market segmentation can go a long way towards helping your campaigns succeed. Keep your segments in mind; create smaller campaigns with more focused goals, and choose segments with a higher possibility of converting.