Market segmentation is an important stage of the marketing planning process. Segmenting in marketing involves separating the broader market that is made up of your current and potential consumers into smaller groups (segments) based on the similar characteristics and needs they share. Some businesses attempt to target to 'everyone' rather than focusing on a certain segments of the market, believing they will achieve greater sales. However, this is certainly not the case. Without clearly identifying who your key customers are can cause significant wastage of valuable time and resources and will eventually cost your business more money in the long-term.
Types of market segmentation:
- Demographic segmentation: gender, age, income, education, occupation
- Geographic segmentation: city, state, country
- Psychographic segmentation: attitudes, values, attitudes, lifestyle
- Behavioural segmentation: purchasing patterns, loyalty status
After you have clearly identified the market, the next step is to target the segments with tailored content and messages. Target marketing involves directing your marketing efforts to a specific group of people who share similar needs and wants which align with the product or service you are offering. It is about understanding who exactly is purchasing your products or using your service and knowing ways to reach them. This is vital for drawing the right customers and generating more sales leads for your business. Target marketing also helps reduce marketing cost and assists the business to become experts in certain areas. This way your clients are able to perceive you as a trusted and valuable resource for solving their business and marketing challenges, which will encourage repeat business and word of mouth referrals.
If you are at the stage of introducing a new product or service to the market, it is important to define your marketing mix. This involves understanding product (service), price, place and promotion, known as the 'Four Ps of Marketing':
Product refers to the product you are offering to market and how your product or service satisfies the needs of your customers in terms of its features, functionality, colours and size.
Price is one of the most important elements of the marketing mix. There are numerous pricing strategies businessrd use which are generally chosen based on how your product is positioned in the market and what your business objectives are. Examples of pricing strategies include; competitive (match your competitors price), value based (considers the benefits/value of your product over the how much it costs to produce) or cost plus (covers your production costs plus a mark up cost).
Promotion is how you get your marketing messages across to your target audience. Some examples include online, TV, radio, magazines or direct marketing. Knowing how to reach your customers and at the right time will result in greater response from your customers and will increase your sales rate.
Place refers to where your customers seek your product or service, it may be in store, online or both. Selecting the right distribution channels by making your product accessible as possible is a key to generating more sales.
The marketing mix helps to define your options and opportunities prior to entering the market and ways to effectively appeal and communicate to your target audience.
So what's next?
Once you have clearly outlined your target market, the next step is to create buyer personas. Differently to target marketing, a buyer persona is an inbound marketing term used to describe who your buyers are. This information is generally gathered from market research which covers key factors such as consumer demographics, customer preferences and behaviour patterns, motivations and goals. Attaining this type of information is a beneficial way to gain a deeper understanding of your consumers and helps to make better informed decisions when developing your marketing strategy. Download the free guide on 'How to Create Buyer Personas for Your Business'.
Buyer personas can be created for any B2B and B2C businesses - big or small. Now that many businesses are shifting to the digital world, buyer personas are becoming a powerful and useful lead generation tool for attracting new customers. By defining your target audience you can begin to create interesting and useful blog articles, eBooks and guides which answer or solve your customers’ needs and posting relevant content across social media. These are some examples of online marketing strategies to help build your brand awareness, drive more web traffic and generating leads.
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