You can have an awesome product or service, but you’ll probably have a lot of trouble selling it if you focus on the wrong market segment.
Of course, no single ad or pitch will appeal equally to everyone—your customers and your target market bring diverse expectations, needs, and preferences to their relationship with your company. But addressing these differences requires a strategy for market segmentation.
Surveying your potential customers is a great way to really understand who they are and how best to reach them. Once you are able to segment your market, delivering the right product and the right positioning becomes a whole lot easier.
Market segmentation surveys help you understand what different members of your target market have in common—and how they differ. Here are a few different types of segments used by marketers:
Some of the most critical data points on existing and potential customers are their basic demographics. These include income, gender, race, education level, and marital status. Demographic segmentation is often a useful way to divide up your target market.
Where people call home can drastically change how they respond to interactions with your company. Learn where your target customers live, and tailor your marketing efforts to account for their local values, whether they live in an urban or rural area, their climate-specific needs and behaviors, and other traits.
Some of your most subtle but powerful marketing insights can result from informed psychographic segmentation. This research, for which surveys are especially useful, allows you to divide your customers into groups based on their lifestyle—their attitudes, values, habits, and opinions. Psychographic segmentation helps decode the emotional elements of buying that might otherwise seem mysterious.
Behavioral segmentation research reveals how customers interact with your particular product or service. For example, how often do they buy it, and where? Position your marketing differently for those who use your product as a daily necessity versus those who see it as a luxury and use it only occasionally.
Segmentation strategies can vary drastically for different businesses. Say, for example, you sell raincoats. Demographic segments like men, women, and children probably have drastically different preferences. Similarly, types like geographical segmentation might reveal that people who live somewhere where it rains all the time might view raincoats differently from someone who lives in the desert.
When you understand these different segments (and segment types) you can begin to craft customer profiles and positioning, and focus efforts from product development to advertising to make sure you’re hitting the mark.
Segmentation typically occurs as part of a marketing, product, or customer support effort. Here are a few times when you might seek to create segments:
When you survey potential customers who are likely to consider your product or service, you’ll have an opportunity to segment. For example, if you send a survey questionnaire about a new product concept to a broad group of people, adding demographic questions will help you understand the differing appeal to men and women, who you might want to focus your marketing efforts on, and what shortcomings you need to address to increase your market size. Segmentation can be a useful strategy, whether you’re interested in concept testing, branding, or product development.
But segmentation isn’t limited to these scenarios. Event planners might segment sponsors from attendees. Educators might look at the differences between boys and girls, or teachers and support staff. HR departments might segment survey results by job level or department.
The key is to think about how you might want to segment before writing a survey. If you don’t ask the right questions, you might not be able to segment your market the way you want to when it comes time to analyze your results.
If you need help getting responses from your target market, check out SurveyMonkey Audience. Just give us your criteria, and we’ll find the right people to take your surveys.
Whether you sell directly to individual consumers, provide services to other businesses, or consult on marketing strategy, survey questionnaires with a few well-directed questions can simplify your market segmentation analysis. By asking customers and potential customers about demographic information like their age, gender, income, and education levels, you can get a much better sense of who they are.
How old are your customers? Are they married? What are their income and education levels? These questions are a starting point for more in-depth analysis.
If you market to other businesses, ask them about their own customers to better understand their needs.
To understand your B2B clients, get a broad look at how they define their target markets.