Targeting Real Segments, Not Imaginary Ones

Every marketer worth their salt, in a small or big business knows that they need to segment the market.

The problem for small business owners and marketers is that they usually have a bit of intuition about what their target segment is from previous sales or interactions with potential customers.

Whilst this isn’t the problem in itself, the problem is that they stop right here in the process and get stuck on intuition with no idea if the segment actually exists or not.

To determine if the segment actually exists, take that intuition (hypothesis) and start to create some research into the segment or possible segments available for your product or service within the market.

If you plan to sell in certain geographies start by determining all available customers in the whole market to determine market size, this should be available via secondary research and try to narrow down to potential buying behaviours rather than just sticking with demographic segmentation.

For instance, parents usually buy products for their new babies so take a look at the last number of years of birth rate within your chosen geography, from that you’ll be able to establish a trend or pattern of the number of expected babies being born.

Depending on where you wanted your baby products to sit within that category you could further narrow it down by looking at other data for instance the child poverty rate might rule out a subset of parents if you offered a luxury baby product, again data that is freely available.

Then you might look at the different sales channels e.g. online or in store and try to establish where the sales normally take place and the buying patterns involved there or the type of shopper who uses each. This could be gathered via field research talking to customers, retail locations and any online information about online shopping.

As you can see this is just two steps of research and we would already be beginning to build a picture of the different segments within a category depending where we wanted to position our product and you could keep on going until you’ve well populated a range of information for each segment in order to make a more informed decision.

So stop the guess work, start the leg work and figure out if you are targeting segments that actually exist!

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