Let’s start with defining market segmentation.
First, your “market” consists of the people who need your product or service and the people who want your product or service and are most likely to purchase it from your company. Rare is the company that has products or services needed by “everyone.” Manufacturers of toilet paper are one exception that comes to mind, but when you think about it, infants and children still in diapers are not “customers” in the sense they can make a purchase, and they don’t need toilet paper yet but that’s okay.
Second, market “segmentation” is a method for dividing up your potential consumer base into various, well-identified portions for the purpose of appealing directly to that group. An obvious differentiation is between female and male consumers. If your company manufactures and sells high-heeled shoes, women are going to be your strongest market segment.
Considering that group of consumers, it is likely you can further define your market into age-related segments. Things constantly change, but high heels are less likely to be worn by females under the age of 15 and those 65 and older. There are exceptions, of course, but what this tells you when it comes to marketing is that you are likely to have fairly well-defined market segments: Women in the age groups of 15 to 24, 25 to 34, 35 to 44, 45 to 54, and 55 to 64 or similar delineations.
Rather than belabor the example, let’s get to the point. The more narrow you can define your market segments, the more concentrated your sales efforts can be on each of those segments, and the greater your likelihood of success in expanding your market share in certain segments.
As professional business and marketing consultants, defining a customer’s market segments is one of the primary steps in developing an effective marketing strategy to build a company’s brand. Advertising can be expensive, especially if the return on that investment is questionable or, shamefully, unknown. Why would you market high heels to a male audience? Or in a Super Bowl commercial? Think about what makes sense.
Where the challenge lies is in determining the buying characteristics, or what we refer to as customer buying motivation (CBM), of each market segment. Why would women in the 25 to 34-year old age group buy high heels more frequently than those in the 55 to 64-year old segment? If you find it is job-related or as a need for social status, you have narrowed the potential appeal for your shoes to that age group.
The next step, and where professional help can prove valuable, is determining which delivery vehicle is best for conveying your sales pitch to that demographic audience. In conducting research, you might discover (as we have) that women 25 to 34 may have a favorite TV program but they use the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) to fast forward through the commercials. The challenge, therefore, is figuring out how to reach them with a message that encourages or convinces them to buy from you and become loyal to your brand.
We’re here if you need help with any of this.