The Foundation of Market Segmentation – Getting Started

Segmenting is one of the foundational steps in the marketing process. It is how we determine who to cater to with our products and promotional messaging. This can be a complex process because each industry, product, or brand can have different sets of traits that are useful when determining which audience to target. To help you in the beginning stages of this process, there are three determining factors to guide your specific segmentation strategy.

The first thing to keep in mind is that your target segments must be measurable. It’s not enough to have a vague idea of what kind of characteristics a segment possesses and how they might serve your needs. A defining trait that is usable for segmenting must be concrete enough that you can identify its presence or absence. Why? Because you have to be able to count, or at least approximate, how many people are in your segment so that you can begin to estimate how much sales potential you have within it.  

Second, your target segments must be sizeable. This is a rather subjective characteristic since it depends on the size of your company, the number of sales you would need to be profitable, and the geographical spread across which you hope to operate. You may have a great idea for a product, but if you are only aiming to please a small, niche audience, you should determine whether you’ll be left with a negative profit. If so, you may need to broaden the confines of your segment to make it more sizable.

Lastly, your target segments must be reachable. When segmenting, you must consider whether you will have a way to reach each specific target segment with your marketing messages. Will you be able to deliver your customized messaging to the specific audience it is intended for? Take into account whether there is an actionable way to reach them specifically through email, social media, print, face-to-face sales, or other forms of marketing.

Once you have set these three factors as your initial guiding strategies, you will be ready to go into the nitty-gritty of market segmentation. One good resource to get you started is an article by Qualtrics titled “What is Market Segmentation? Different Types Explained.” From there, you will have a solid starting point to lead you through the complexities of the segmenting process.

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