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Segmenting Customers to Focus Marketing Messages

by Kristie L.
04/01/18 Merchant Qtly

The better you know who your customers and clients are, the more you will start to see that there are some characteristics and traits that separate them into segments. While they are customers or clients because they have bought from you, you'll start to notice that there are differences in their demographics or buying behaviors. As these differences emerge, you should segment or categorize these customers by group. While the majority of your customers may be women, moms may be the primary buyer of one of your products while women without children that hold a career position outside of the home buy another product.

The segments and sub-segments you establish can vary greatly from business to business. In general, however, there are four primary segments you should consider: demographic, behavior, geography and lifestyle. When customers are categorized correctly, you write and send more effective marketing messages and communications because you are basing the message on the needs and wants of the segment.


When you segment customers by demographics, you are separating customers into groups based on age, ethnicity, race, household income, gender, education level or profession. Assume you are a hair dresser that specializes in styling African-American hair. African-Americans are your primary demographic. Even within the African-American segment you serve, you have sub-segments that may include age group segments such as children, teenagers and adult women. You may also have gender sub-segments such as male and female.


Buying behavior is another way you can segment your customers. You may separate your customers by how frequent they order or buy from your business, such as once a month, once every six months and once a year. When you separate your customers by how often they buy from you, you can create and send marketing messages that are relevant to them, such as keeping frequent buyers engaged and trying to reengage less frequent buyers. Customer segmentation is an important concept because it allows you to approach each customer segment in the most appropriate way.


Geography segmentation is when you separate customers by country, region, state or county. Geographic differences can have an effect on the products or services your customers buy. For example, if you run an air conditioning service in several different states around the country, including Michigan and Florida, when you send heater promotions and air conditioning promotions are going to vary greatly between these two areas.


Lifestyle segments allow you to separate customers by values and attitudes. Religion, extracurricular activities and household makeup are all examples of lifestyle, attitude or value segments. For example, if you are a professional organizer that offers packages for small business owners with home-based businesses, then you want to separate these mailings from the customers of stay-at-home moms, families and couples that have careers outside of the home.

Take the time to evaluate what different segments of your customers have in common. Then, create segments and sub-categories for the groups of customers that you identify. When you segment your customers, you can also segment your marketing messages. Segmenting your customers allows you to create effective marketing messages that speak directly to the members of the group and moves them into action.


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