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

Faire du marketing auprès du mauvais segment peut donner l'impression d'aboyer dans le mauvais arbre, ou plus précisément d'aboyer dans des dizaines de milliers de mauvais arbres.

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.

Qu'est-ce que la segmentation du marché ?

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

L'expression "segmentation du marché" a été inventée pour la première fois par Wendell R. Smith dans sa publication de 1956 intitulée Product Differentiation and Market Segmentation as Alternative Marketing Strategies (Différenciation des produits et segmentation du marché en tant que stratégies de marketing alternatives). Smith a écrit que le marketing moderne fait appel à des motivations d'achat sélectives plutôt que primaires.

En d'autres termes, les consommateurs comparent activement les produits les uns aux autres plutôt que de se contenter d'acheter un produit pour satisfaire un besoin immédiat. Cette prise de conscience a été à l'origine de la segmentation moderne du marché que nous pratiquons aujourd'hui.

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.

Il ne suffisait pas de fabriquer du ketchup, il fallait identifier sa marque comme étant le ketchup de l'Amérique, le ketchup pour enfants ou le ketchup de luxe.

ad for cigarettes from the 1970s
Cette publicité de Virginia Slims des années 1970 commercialise des cigarettes destinées aux femmes. Heureusement, nous avons parcouru un long chemin (bébé) depuis cette terrible publicité.

Quels sont les avantages de la segmentation du marché ?

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 segmentation démographique du marché est la forme la plus courante de segmentation du marché et consiste à classer votre marché en fonction de l'âge, du sexe, du revenu, de la profession, de la race, de la religion, de l'éducation, de la situation géographique, de la situation familiale, etc.

Exemples de segmentation démographique :

  • 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.

Cette évaluation est importante car deux personnes peuvent posséder des informations démographiques identiques mais prendre des décisions d'achat complètement différentes, et donc nécessiter un marketing différent.

Exemples de segmentation psychographique :

  • Les publicités en faveur de la santé et du bien-être risquent de ne pas faire mouche auprès d'une personne qui préfère dépenser son argent en jeux vidéo et en boissons énergisantes, même si elle travaille dans le même secteur d'activité et vit dans le même immeuble.
  • 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

La segmentation comportementale consiste essentiellement à classer les prospects en fonction de leurs actions, généralement au sein de l'entonnoir marketing. Par exemple, les prospects qui ont visité une page de renvoi pour un événement à venir pourraient bénéficier d'une invitation personnalisée.

La segmentation de votre marché sur la base des comportements est généralement effectuée par les spécialistes du marketing dans leur logiciel d'automatisation du marketing, mais toute entreprise disposant d'une liste de diffusion a déjà effectué une segmentation comportementale simplement en suivant les prospects qui se sont inscrits pour recevoir des courriels.

Exemples de segmentation comportementale :

  • Sending emails to website visitors who have left items in their cart. “But wait…come back!”
  • Une campagne de reciblage qui n'affiche des publicités qu'aux personnes qui ont déjà acheté un article.

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 et exemples de segmentation géographique :

  • Climat : Les marques de maillots de bain ne devraient pas cibler les habitants de l'Alaska en janvier.
  • 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.
  • La densité : Un centre commercial géant peut avoir besoin d'une forte densité de circulation pour prospérer.

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.

Cependant, la segmentation par les prix peut être beaucoup plus fine. Elle peut être utilisée pour identifier les clients qui sont prêts à payer plus cher pour un produit ou un service particulier qu'ils perçoivent comme ayant plus de valeur.

Correctement réalisée, la segmentation par les prix permet d'obtenir le maximum de revenus pour chaque transaction.

Exemples de segmentation des prix :

  • Large : Réduction pour les personnes âgées, réduction pour les vétérans, coupons, 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.

Pour les spécialistes du marketing B2B, l'utilisation de la segmentation géographique n'est pas négociable dans le cadre d'une stratégie marketing performante.

Tout comme les variables de segmentation démographique peuvent vous aider à former un buyer persona au niveau du consommateur, la segmentation firmographique peut vous aider à développer un buyer persona au niveau de l'entreprise.

Exemples de segmentation firmographique :

  • 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 segmentation générationnelle est presque comparable à la variable "âge" de la segmentation démographique. Cependant, la segmentation générationnelle du marché va au-delà de l'âge en prenant en compte les différences de préférences, d'habitudes, de styles de vie et d'attitudes d'une génération particulière.

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.

Exemples de segmentation générationnelle

  • Utiliser davantage de mèmes sur Facebook pour cibler un plus grand pourcentage de Millennials.
  • Modifier le calendrier de publication de votre contenu pour les matins afin de cibler un plus grand pourcentage de baby-boomers.

8. Life stage segmentation

La segmentation par étape de la vie consiste à diviser votre marché en fonction de l'étape de la vie de votre public cible. Une personne mariée et mère de cinq enfants peut bien réagir à une publicité émotionnelle sur les cabriolets au moment de la crise de la quarantaine.

Exemples de segmentation par étapes de la vie

  • Ads about life insurance may not appeal to sophomores in college, but they may appeal to someone who just started a family.
  • Une personne qui vient d'entrer sur le marché du travail pour la première fois peut être plus intéressée par un nouvel appartement qu'une personne à la retraite.

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).

Exemples de segmentation saisonnière

  • 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.

Exemples de segmentation technologique

  • 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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Stratégies de segmentation du marché (et leurs avantages et inconvénients)

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 stratégie de concentration revient à mettre toutes ses cartes sur la table - si elle ne fonctionne pas, cela peut mal se terminer. Si le segment de marché n'a pas été correctement étudié et qu'il s'avère être un échec, tous vos efforts de marketing risquent d'être réduits à néant. Veillez à planifier soigneusement et à réaliser des études de marché approfondies avant d'engager votre entreprise sur un seul segment de marché.

  • Avantages : Pourcentages de conversion élevés, pratiques marketing reproductibles, dépenses marketing réduites
  • Inconvénients : "tout ou rien", le potentiel de croissance est limité à la taille du segment.

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.

Bien qu'apparemment plus "sûr" que la stratégie de concentration, le marketing multisegment représente une taxe beaucoup plus importante sur les dépenses de marketing d'une entreprise, car il nécessite des campagnes complètement différentes pour chaque segment de marché.

Cependant, si un segment particulier est extrêmement réceptif et convertit bien, il est facile d'adapter votre stratégie pour commercialiser plus directement ce segment.

  • Pros: Safer, appeals to more consumers, diverse marketing, high growth potential
  • Inconvénients : pourcentages de conversion plus faibles, dépenses de marketing plus importantes

Comment réaliser votre propre segmentation de marché en plusieurs étapes

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:

Phase 1 : Collecte des données

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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Phase 2 : Trier les données en segments

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.

Si le temps et l'argent ne sont pas un obstacle, vous pouvez effectuer votre propre segmentation du marché en compilant vos données dans une source unique et en les filtrant pour regrouper manuellement vos prospects et vos entreprises par segments.

N'oubliez pas de vous poser les questions suivantes :

  • Ce segment est-il mesurable ?
  • Ce segment est-il suffisamment important pour être rentable ?
  • Ce segment est-il stable et ne va-t-il pas disparaître après peu de temps ?
  • Mes stratégies de marketing permettent-elles d'atteindre ce segment ?
  • Ce segment est-il homogène et réagira-t-il de la même manière à mes stratégies de marketing ?

Phase 3 : Branchez vos canaux 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.

Le véritable défi consiste à améliorer continuellement vos efforts par des essais et des erreurs afin d'obtenir les meilleurs taux de conversion possibles.

Il existe une bonne méthode, à l'ancienne, pour dresser une carte rapidement et facilement :

  • 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:

Segmentation du marché dans un nutshell

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

C'est pourquoi vous devez bien comprendre comment parler à vos prospects et comment différencier vos efforts de sensibilisation en fonction du segment de marché.

Les défis à venir sont liés à l'adaptation constante de votre marketing - tester vos messages, vos tactiques et mesurer les réponses de votre public.

If you’re ready to put your sales and marketing automation into action, get started with a free trial of Nutshell today!

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