What Is Market Segmentation, Anyway?

16 July, 2014 — 5 Comments

Dividing a broad market into scalable segments is the only way that you’ll become truly remarkable. And only then you’ll actually be able to broaden your reach (if that’s really what you want to do).


The common belief is: when you market a product or service, you market it to everybody.

Market it to the everyday man, his brother, his mother, his neighbour, and even his dog. But this is all wrong. The reason that this is wrong is that if you end up marketing your product to everybody, it’ll get picked up by nobody. And even if you do pick up a few customers, they’ll probably end up being generally poor customers.

Take a look at any big company in any industry. Very rarely will you see a marketing message that’s aimed out to the masses. Here’s some of the biggest footwear brands out there for example: Nike, Hush Puppies, Converse and Dr. Martens. Those brands don’t all target the same type of customer. In fact, they all target a different type of customer… even though everybody needs footwear!

Those brands are aiming their marketing at a specific market segment. If they’re targeting multiple market segments, then the message will always be different for each segment. But the fact it that those companies have made it to the top because of their outright focus – and specialty – on creating one type of shoe that will bode well with the type of customer they chose to target in the first place.

Sure, the idea of trying to please everyone is a dignified objective, but it just doesn’t work in a crowded marketplace. If we realise this, then we stand a better chance of grabbing a bigger piece of the pie that is market share.

“A product or service that tries to appeal to everyone winds up appealing to no one.”
Al Ries and Jack Trout

This all goes back to what I said earlier about picking up the “best kind” of customer.

Would you rather target 10 people that truly love your products, or 100 people that are simply content with your products? I know which I’d rather – and that’s a choice not determined by short-term revenue.

So to get these customers, the ones that will love you and your brand, you’ll have to zero in on a specific type of customer who has a specific type of need. You’ll have to identify the buying characteristics within your niche.

Let’s not forget the 21st-century customer. He is well connected, demanding, social and knowledgeable. But more than anything, he wants you to speak to him like a real person. He wants you to know his needs and wants. And not only does he expect you to satisfy those, but he’s expecting you to go above and beyond with everything you do that involves him.

How else are you going to be able to satisfy his SPECIFIC need if you’re trying to satisfy his brother’s need, his mother’s need, and his dog’s need too? The answer is simple, you simply can’t. That’s why you have to focus on YOUR customer, in YOUR market segment.

Think about who your ‘perfect’ customer is – the most profitable ones and the repeat buyers – then work around the needs and wants of this customer. That’s your niche. Your market segment.

And even if you’re still sceptical about market segmentation, think about giving something really outstanding to a specific audience first – because that idea can still be appealing to the masses. It just needs to have a niche focus that can go “mainstream.”

That’s how the unorthodox marketer thinks.

5 thoughts on “What Is Market Segmentation, Anyway?

  1. The problem I have is that I don’t want to miss out on any possible customer that I may get if I do segmentation. I want more customers

    1. You’re going to have to think about your positioning here. It all depends on your product/service of course, but you can’t possibly own the entire market, therefore you cannot possibly target everybody that may be “interested” in your stuff from that market. You need to focus on getting more customers like your best ones – the ones you already have that love you and your stuff. You’ll grow faster this way (and get more customers in the long run).

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