Does one size fit all? The value of segmentation

Q: What do many public health campaigns and many small business marketing approaches have in common?

A: Trying to target everyone – with the same message and in the same way.

Food and wine businesses know that we aren’t all the same – that our tastes, interests, behaviours and preferences are not uniform.  How else can you explain the extraordinary variety of cereals available in supermarkets, or the bamboozling bank of beer options at the bottle shop?

And while food and wine businesses make a massive investment in market research and have their own wonderfully talented strategists and insights teams, we can all learn a lot from their approach to market segmentation.

If we accept that segmentation for marketers is about dividing the market into clusters of like people, what then are the best ways to segment?

In business to business marketing, it can be very straight forward to identify and profile your ideal segment of the market.  One of our long standing clients, Accountancy Insurance, offers tax audit insurance to accountants.  Their segment is very clear.

In the case of public health messages, where your aim is to reach multiple segments, it can be much more effective to divide the market up and approach say, young adults in a different way to family sporting clubs.  The Cancer Council in NSW and across Australia has developed some wonderful and highly targeted sun smart campaigns using this approach.

Our recommendation for many clients is to develop a segmentation model based on attitude, usage and/or behaviour.  This is much more difficult than dividing the market based on demographics or educational status, but generally much more effective.  With guidance, most organisations can develop an attitude and behaviour segmentation that is reasonably robust without investing in a full-blown U&A study.

Identifying the most appealing segment/s and developing a clear profile of your target market are essential in helping you make the most of limited marketing funds and resources.

By segmenting your market, you can focus your marketing efforts on those people most likely to use or purchase your service or offering; “fish where the fish are” as they say.

So while the budgets for marketing a public health campaign and for SMEs are often massively different, there are opportunities for both to gain better outcomes and far better efficiency by segmenting their markets in a relevant way and becoming consistently focused in their marketing and communications.


Need help with segmenting your target market? Contact us for help.

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