The No-Nonsense Guide to Market Segmentation (With Tips and Examples)

Dirigirse al segmento equivocado puede ser como ladrar al árbol equivocado o, más concretamente, ladrar a decenas de miles de árboles equivocados.

Nearly everybody in sales has, at one point or another, heard someone reasoning that simply adding more people to the funnel will improve their sales numbers while preserving their conversion rate. If you’re a sales rep making 30 calls a day, you might reasonably extrapolate that making 60 calls a day would double your closed deals. Unfortunately, it’s not that straightforward.

Building a sales process can be complicated. What one audience might find valuable might just be noise for another.

That’s where effective customer segmentation can bring in some serious value for your business. Different demographics respond differently to marketing campaigns, and finding the right target market for your products or services can help you tailor your marketing strategies to be the most impactful they can be.

This guide to marketing segmentation will help you find your target audience and choose the best market segmentation strategies.

¿Qué es la segmentación del mercado?

Market segmentation is the process of qualifying companies (or people) into groups that respond similarly to specific marketing strategies. This is the first critical step in creating a marketing and sales process tailored to differentiate your business in the market and resonate across multiple demographics.

Market segmentation divides customers into segments based on shared characteristics, behaviors, or other attributes so you can create marketing strategies that appeal to entire groups. Your marketing segmentation strategy will be mainly influenced by what your product is and which types of companies are already buying it.

The history of market segmentation

La expresión "segmentación del mercado" fue acuñada por primera vez por Wendell R. Smith en su publicación de 1956 Product Differentiation and Market Segmentation as Alternative Marketing Strategies. Smith escribió que el marketing moderno apela a motivos de compra selectivos en lugar de primarios.

En otras palabras, los consumidores contrastan activamente unos productos con otros en lugar de limitarse a comprar un producto para satisfacer una necesidad inmediata. Esta constatación fue el inicio de la segmentación moderna del mercado que practicamos hoy en día.

Before 1956, there wasn’t a huge market variety, and general stores tended to carry only one or two brands’ versions of the same product. As time went on, more and more emerging brands began offering similar products and thus needed to differentiate themselves with branding and by targeting different markets.

No bastaba con fabricar ketchup, tenías que identificar tu marca como el ketchup de América, o el ketchup de los niños, o el ketchup de lujo.

ad for cigarettes from the 1970s
Este anuncio de Virginia Slims de los años 70 promociona los cigarrillos entre las mujeres. Afortunadamente, hemos avanzado mucho (nena) desde la terrible publicidad.

¿Cuáles son las ventajas de la segmentación del mercado?

Market segmentation provides several benefits to small teams and enterprises alike, including:

  • Bang for your buck: With tailor-made, demographic-specific messages and advertising, companies can more effectively communicate with their audiences, begin boosting their conversion rates, and actually spend less on broad advertising.
  • Better conversion rate: The more information you have about your various audiences, the more specificity you can add to your outreach, which will help your prospects convert more easily.
  • Customer retention: By marketing towards customers who have already gone through their own buyer’s journey, segmentation makes it easier to keep them engaged and pitch them with occasional upgrades. And with the segment data you’ve captured, you know how to talk to them.
  • Expanding your efforts: Segmentation can be a great way to pursue new markets that have something in common with your current markets.  

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The 10 most common types of market segmentation

Market segmentation helps savvy marketers categorize their target customers based on shared characteristics to keep their efforts focused and effective. Below are the 10 most common types of market segmentation: 

1. Demographic segmentation

La segmentación demográfica del mercado es la forma más utilizada de segmentación del mercado y consiste en clasificar su mercado en función de la edad, el sexo, los ingresos, la profesión, la raza, la religión, la educación, la ubicación, la situación familiar, etc.

Ejemplos de segmentación demográfica:

  • Switch to the cartoon channel and check out those commercials. Do Nerf guns and neon-colored slime appeal to someone your age? Yeah us too, bad example.
  • Commercials for vacation homes may target people across ages, genders, locations, and other demographics, but they all appeal to customers with disposable income who are interested in travel.

2. Psychographic segmentation

More specific characteristics are categorized under the umbrella of psychographic segmentation. Less tangible than demographic segmentation, this classification method includes details like lifestyle, personality, beliefs, values, and social class.

Esta evaluación es importante porque dos individuos pueden poseer idéntica información demográfica pero tomar decisiones de compra completamente distintas y, por tanto, requerir un marketing diferente.

Ejemplos de segmentación psicográfica:

  • Los anuncios de salud y bienestar pueden no llegar muy lejos con alguien que prefiere gastar su dinero en videojuegos y bebidas energéticas, aunque trabajen en la misma industria y vivan en el mismo edificio de apartamentos.
  • Advertisements for large social gatherings (events, clubs, bars) might not appeal to introverts who would much rather snuggle up with a book than be surrounded by other people.

3. Behavioral segmentation

En esencia, la segmentación por comportamiento consiste en clasificar a los clientes potenciales en función de sus acciones, normalmente dentro del embudo de marketing. Por ejemplo, los clientes potenciales que visitaron una página de destino para un próximo evento podrían beneficiarse de recibir una invitación personalizada.

Los profesionales del marketing suelen segmentar el mercado en función de los comportamientos dentro de su software de automatización de marketing, pero cualquier empresa con una lista de correo ya ha realizado la segmentación por comportamiento simplemente mediante el seguimiento de los clientes potenciales que se han suscrito para recibir correos electrónicos.

Ejemplos de segmentación por comportamiento:

  • Sending emails to website visitors who have left items in their cart. “But wait…come back!”
  • Una campaña de retargeting que sólo muestra anuncios a personas que han comprado previamente un artículo.

4. Geographic segmentation

Geographic market segmentation takes into account prospects’ locations to help determine marketing strategies. Although SaaS sales are relatively unaffected, a salesperson of gigantic coats knows to avoid pitching to Arizona residents.

people wearing gigantic coats

Variables y ejemplos de segmentación geográfica:

  • El clima: Las marcas de bañadores no deberían dirigirse a los residentes de Alaska en enero.
  • Cultural preferences (based on location): For obvious reasons, the McDonald’s in Germany sells beer.
  • Population type: A bicycle company may segment its audience differently depending on the population type—rural (mountain bikes; thicker tires; more durable), urban (road bikes; thin tires; lightweight), etc.
  • Densidad: Un centro comercial gigante puede requerir una alta densidad de tráfico peatonal para prosperar.

5. Price segmentation

Price segmentation alters the price of similar products and services sold to different consumer groups. If you ever forced your kids to pretend to be under a certain age to qualify for the “kids eat free” special, then you understand the power and utility of price segmentation.

Sin embargo, la segmentación por precios puede ser mucho más detallada. Se puede utilizar para identificar a los clientes que pueden estar dispuestos a pagar más por un determinado producto o servicio que perciben como más valioso.

Si se hace correctamente, la segmentación por precios puede captar la máxima cantidad de ingresos por cada transacción.

Ejemplos de segmentación de precios:

  • Amplios: Descuento para mayores, descuento para veteranos, cupones, etc.
  • Granular: Computer processors are priced differently when sold to a company as a part (like inside an iMac) than when sold to a consumer as a standalone product.
  • Even more granular: A marketing consultancy may base its prices entirely on the value it can generate for each of its client’s unique situations.

6. Firmographic segmentation

Instead of categorizing consumers based on age, location, income, etc, firmographic segmentation categorizes companies based on industry, annual revenue, job function, company size, location, status, performance, etc.

Para los profesionales del marketing B2B, utilizar la segmentación firmográfica no es negociable para una estrategia de marketing de alto rendimiento.

Al igual que las variables de segmentación demográfica pueden ayudarle a formar un buyer persona a nivel de consumidor, la segmentación firmográfica puede ayudarle a desarrollar un buyer persona a nivel de empresa.

Ejemplos de segmentación firmográfica:

  • Running different ads for different industries—real estate, finance, legal firms, etc.
  • A B2B sales team only targeting companies with revenues over $100m.

7. Generational segmentation

La segmentación generacional es casi comparable a la variable "edad" de la segmentación demográfica. Sin embargo, la segmentación generacional del mercado va más allá de la edad al considerar la diferencia de preferencias, hábitos, estilos de vida y actitudes de una determinada generación.

It’s self-evident that the generations are vastly different. Someone born in the 1960s will likely have experienced a different culture than someone born in the 2000s.

Ejemplos de segmentación generacional

  • Utilizar más memes en Facebook para llegar a un mayor porcentaje de Millennials.
  • Alterar el calendario de publicación de contenidos para dirigirse a un mayor porcentaje de Baby Boomers.

8. Life stage segmentation

La segmentación por etapas vitales es el proceso de dividir el mercado en función de la etapa vital en la que se encuentra el público objetivo. Alguien que está casado y tiene 5 hijos puede responder bien a un anuncio emocional sobre descapotables durante su crisis de mediana edad.

Ejemplos de segmentación por etapas

  • Ads about life insurance may not appeal to sophomores in college, but they may appeal to someone who just started a family.
  • Alguien que acaba de incorporarse al mercado laboral por primera vez puede estar más interesado en un piso nuevo que alguien jubilado.

9. Seasonal segmentation

Seasonal segmentation targets people based on their purchasing habits during certain periods of the year. It can include actual seasons (spring, summer, fall, winter), events (Coachella, Super Bowl), and holidays (Christmas, Mother’s Day).

Ejemplos de segmentación estacional

  • A local you-pick berry farm may want to target their ads based on the fruit in season.
  • A flower shop that specializes in same-day delivery may want to ramp up its ad spend around Mother’s Day targeting forgetful children.

10. Technographic segmentation

Much like firmographic market segmentation, technographic segmentation only applies to B2B audiences. It’s used to target companies based on the types of technology they’re using. Whether it’s a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, a website CMS, or a niche-specific software tool, utilizing technographic segmentation can help enhance sales and marketing efforts.

Ejemplos de segmentación tecnológica

  • A company that develops WordPress plugins would have no business targeting companies that use a different CMS, like Wix.
  • It would make sense for a SaaS company to target businesses using an app it just integrated with.

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Estrategias de segmentación del mercado (y sus ventajas e inconvenientes)

Every market segmentation strategy is different but most of them follow one of two fundamental outlines:

1. Concentration strategy

Concentration strategy is when a company determines that its efforts are best focused solely on a single market segment. This strategy is particularly great for small, growing businesses that have demonstrated a viable use case within a specific market. Focusing on one segment will allow the company to invest more time, energy, and resources into one specific market, which minimizes advertising spend and potentially mitigates wasting efforts across multiple segments.

La estrategia de concentración es como poner todas las cartas sobre la mesa: si no funciona, puede acabar mal. Si el segmento de mercado no se ha investigado adecuadamente y resulta ser un fracaso, todos sus esfuerzos de marketing podrían ser en vano. Asegúrese de planificar cuidadosamente y realizar pruebas de mercado exhaustivas antes de comprometer su negocio con un único segmento de mercado.

  • Ventajas: Altos porcentajes de conversión, prácticas de marketing repetibles, menor gasto en marketing
  • Contras: "Todo o nada", el potencial de crecimiento está limitado al tamaño del segmento.

2. Multi-segment strategy

Multi-segment marketing, or differentiated marketing, is when a company’s marketing strategies are designed to advertise one product to more than one market segment.

Aunque aparentemente es más "seguro" que la estrategia de concentración, el marketing multisegmento supone un impuesto mucho mayor sobre el gasto en marketing de una empresa, ya que requiere campañas completamente diferentes para cada segmento de mercado.

Sin embargo, si un segmento en particular es extremadamente receptivo y convierte bien, es fácil adaptar su estrategia para comercializar más directamente a ese segmento.

  • Pros: Safer, appeals to more consumers, diverse marketing, high growth potential
  • Contras: menores porcentajes de conversión, mayor gasto en marketing

Cómo hacer su propia segmentación de mercado por fases

Ready to complete market segmentation for your company? Here are three phases to follow during the process that will help you ensure you’re analyzing your markets effectively:

Fase 1: Recopilación de datos

First things first, it’s time to gather data so that you can use it to form your market segments. There are many ways to go about it—some people like to buy pre-made lead lists and others prefer to do their own research

Two helpful methods of researching prospects are webforms and surveys. You can place high-quality data behind webforms that requires site visitors to submit their name, email address, and other information to access the content. Surveys can get specific information from potential buyers in exchange for tangible rewards, like a gift card or special offer.

If you’re doing your own research, you can frame your searches along the following categories:

  • Researching by company size: Size can mean a number of things, but is most often measured by the number of employees, number of customers, or overall sales revenue a company claims. Some companies have greater transparency on their websites, which makes reaching out to the correct person much easier.
  • Researching by industry: It’s unlikely that your product is applicable across all industries, which is why industry segmentation exists. Industry segmentation will help you ensure that you’re not wasting your time by targeting a company with no need for your product.
  • Researching by location: If you’re offering a location-specific product or service, like landscaping services within the local community, your geographic market segmentation is probably pretty airtight: You probably use handy tools like lead maps, and engage in local marketing wherever possible. For other industries, like IT staffing, your reach might be international. Whatever your product, location is a crucial thing to know about a company, because it will help you decide which sales tactics to use and when to send your emails if you’re communicating across time zones, at the least.
  • Researching by needs: This method of segmentation entails qualifying companies based on whether they need your products or services. While this definition is straightforward, the process behind making this determination may not be, depending on what you’re offering. If you sell landscaping services, you can use Google Maps to look up a company’s HQ. If their office is in a tower in New York City, they probably don’t need any landscaping.

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Fase 2: Clasificar los datos en segmentos

There are many ways to go about sorting data. Most involve expensive analysts, marketers, and lots and lots of time. Although the DIY route is faster, it is no substitute for a comprehensive market segmentation strategy.

Suponiendo que el tiempo y el dinero sean un obstáculo, puede aproximar su propia segmentación de mercado compilando sus datos en una única fuente y ejecutando filtros en ella para agrupar manualmente sus clientes potenciales y empresas por segmentos.

Recuerda, pregúntate lo siguiente:

  • ¿Se puede medir este segmento?
  • ¿Es este segmento lo suficientemente amplio como para obtener beneficios?
  • ¿Es estable este segmento y no va a desaparecer al cabo de poco tiempo?
  • ¿Puedo llegar a este segmento con mis estrategias de marketing?
  • ¿Es este segmento homogéneo y responderá de forma similar a mis estrategias de marketing?

Fase 3: Conecte sus canales de marketing

Now that your segments have been firmly established, it’s time to connect the dots and breathe life into your marketing. This means establishing a plan for each of your marketing tools and channels and coming up with real ways to reach your segments with them.

You’ll be attributing different marketing and sales tactics to each stage of your pipeline and determining what sticks. The good news is that your market segments are clearly defined and you’ll be able to speak to them clearly.

El verdadero reto consiste en mejorar continuamente sus esfuerzos mediante ensayo y error para obtener los mejores índices de conversión posibles.

Hay una buena manera, a la antigua, de trazar este mapa de forma rápida y sencilla:

  • Draw your pipeline stages horizontally across a sheet of paper.
  • Above each pipeline stage, jot your marketing channels, like Linkedin, emails, or webinars, with blank space in between them.
  • Below each marketing channel, write exactly how you will use this tool at this pipeline stage, like “email prospects a link to a recorded webinar.”

Repeat this exercise for each market segment to help establish a concise and repeatable process for marketing to your various audiences. You can fully flesh out your segmented marketing strategy by configuring your sales software and email automation around the outline you’ve created, and then make tweaks as needed.

To this end, some CRMs have reporting and performance tracking as well as custom reporting to help you figure out what’s working and what needs to change.

Frequently asked questions about market segmentation

Still have questions about market segmentation? Check out the FAQs below for answers to some common questions:

What are some common challenges faced when implementing market segmentation? 

Here are a few of the challenges you may encounter when implementing your market segmentation strategy:

  • Creating segments that are too broad: Your product or service may appeal to several different market segments, but trying to appeal to too many can lead to ineffective marketing and high ad spending.
  • Creating segments that are too narrow: The opposite problem can also arise. Small segments might be difficult to quantify and distract from other segments with greater buying power.
  • Not being flexible: Just because a particular segment is currently buying from you doesn’t mean they always will. Be willing to reevaluate your market segments over time to maximize your marketing spending and revenue.

What are the key factors to consider when selecting a target market segment? 

Five key factors to consider when selecting market segments for your marketing strategies are:

  • Whether the segment is measurable
  • Whether the segment is large enough to generate a profit for your business
  • If the segment is stable and won’t vanish after a short time
  • If the segment is reachable by your marketing strategies
  • Whether the segment is homogenous and will respond similarly to your marketing strategies

How can you effectively redefine your target market?

If you’ve determined that your target market no longer fits, you can always identify new markets. Here are a few tips for doing so: 

  • Identify trends and patterns: Do companies that make a certain amount of annual revenue seem to be shying away from your offerings? If you want to reach those customers, identify any patterns in which products or services they choose instead and strategize for how to provide the value they’re looking for.
  • Listen to customer feedback: Your current (or former) customers are valuable sources of feedback. Consider what they’re saying about your product or service and whether you’re meeting their needs. You may be able to identify new opportunities.
  • Diversify your marketing channels: Using multiple channels to reach your target market can be a highly effective way to increase exposure for your brand. Consider diving into new channels like content marketing, email marketing, SEO, and online advertising to drive engagement with your target audience.

Additional resources:

Segmentación del mercado en un nutshell

Now you’ve got your demographics clearly segmented, your strategy figured out, and your sales processes mapped tightly to your market segments.

Por ello, debe tener claro cómo dirigirse a sus clientes potenciales y cómo diferenciar sus esfuerzos de divulgación en función del segmento de mercado.

Los retos que tenemos por delante consisten en ajustar constantemente nuestro marketing, probando nuestros mensajes, nuestras tácticas y midiendo las respuestas de nuestro público.

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