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

Marketing in het verkeerde segment kan voelen als tegen de verkeerde boom blaffen, of meer specifiek, tegen tienduizenden verkeerde bomen blaffen.

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.

Wat is marktsegmentatie?

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

De uitdrukking "marktsegmentatie" werd voor het eerst gebruikt door Wendell R. Smith in zijn publicatie Productdifferentiatie en marktsegmentatie als alternatieve marketingstrategieën uit 1956. Smith schreef dat moderne marketing eerder selectieve dan primaire koopmotieven aanspreekt.

Met andere woorden, consumenten vergelijken producten actief met elkaar in plaats van een product te kopen om in een onmiddellijke behoefte te voorzien. Dit besef was het begin van de moderne marktsegmentatie die we vandaag de dag toepassen.

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.

Het was niet genoeg om gewoon ketchup te maken, je moest je merk ook identificeren als Amerika's ketchup, of kinderketchup, of chique ketchup.

ad for cigarettes from the 1970s
Deze reclame uit 1970 voor Virginia Slims is een marketingreclame voor sigaretten gericht op vrouwen. Gelukkig hebben we een lange weg afgelegd (baby) van verschrikkelijke reclame.

Wat zijn de voordelen van marktsegmentatie?

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

Demografische marktsegmentatie is de meest gebruikte vorm van marktsegmentatie en houdt in dat je je markt indeelt op basis van leeftijd, geslacht, inkomen, beroep, ras, religie, opleiding, locatie, gezinssituatie, enz.

Demografische segmentatievoorbeelden:

  • 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.

Deze evaluatie is belangrijk omdat twee individuen identieke demografische informatie kunnen hebben, maar totaal verschillende aankoopbeslissingen nemen en dus verschillende marketing vereisen.

Voorbeelden van psychografische segmentatie:

  • Reclame voor gezondheid en welzijn zal misschien niet veel indruk maken op iemand die zijn geld liever uitgeeft aan videospelletjes en energiedrankjes, zelfs als ze in dezelfde branche werken en in hetzelfde flatgebouw wonen.
  • 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

In de kern is gedragssegmentatie het categoriseren van prospects op basis van hun acties, meestal binnen uw marketingfunnel. Bijvoorbeeld, prospects die een landingspagina voor een aankomend evenement hebben bezocht, kunnen baat hebben bij het ontvangen van een gepersonaliseerde uitnodiging.

Het segmenteren van je markt op basis van gedrag wordt meestal gedaan door marketeers in hun marketingautomatiseringssoftware, maar elk bedrijf met een mailinglijst heeft al gedragssegmentatie uitgevoerd door simpelweg prospects te volgen die zich hebben aangemeld om e-mails te ontvangen.

Voorbeelden van gedragssegmentatie:

  • Sending emails to website visitors who have left items in their cart. “But wait…come back!”
  • Een retargeting-campagne die alleen advertenties weergeeft aan mensen die eerder een artikel hebben gekocht.

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

Variabelen en voorbeelden van geografische segmentatie:

  • Klimaat: Badmodemerken moeten zich in januari niet richten op inwoners van Alaska.
  • 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.
  • Dichtheid: Een reusachtig winkelcentrum kan een hoge dichtheid van voetgangers nodig hebben om te gedijen.

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.

Prijssegmentatie kan echter veel gedetailleerder. Het kan worden gebruikt om klanten te identificeren die bereid zijn om meer te betalen voor een bepaald product of een bepaalde dienst die ze als waardevoller beschouwen.

Als dit goed wordt gedaan, kan prijssegmentatie het maximale bedrag aan inkomsten voor elke transactie vastleggen.

Voorbeelden van prijssegmentatie:

  • Breed: Seniorenkorting, veteranenkorting, kortingsbonnen, enz.
  • 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.

Voor B2B-marketeers is het gebruik van bedrijfssegmentatie onmisbaar voor een goed presterende marketingstrategie.

Net zoals de demografische segmentatievariabelen je kunnen helpen bij het vormen van een buyer persona op consumentenniveau, kan firmografische segmentatie je helpen bij het ontwikkelen van een buyer persona op bedrijfsniveau.

Voorbeelden van bedrijfssegmentatie:

  • 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

Generatiesegmentatie is bijna vergelijkbaar met de variabele "leeftijd" in demografische segmentatie. Generatiesegmentatie gaat echter verder dan leeftijd door rekening te houden met het verschil in voorkeuren, gewoonten, levensstijlen en attitudes van een bepaalde generatie.

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.

Voorbeelden van generatiesegmentatie

  • Meer memes gebruiken op Facebook om een groter percentage Millennials te bereiken.
  • Je schema voor het publiceren van inhoud aanpassen om een groter percentage babyboomers te bereiken.

8. Life stage segmentation

Levensfase segmentatie is het proces van het verdelen van je markt op basis van de levensfase van je doelgroep. Iemand die getrouwd is en 5 kinderen heeft, kan goed reageren op een emotionele advertentie over cabrio's tijdens hun midlifecrisis.

Levensfase segmentatie voorbeelden

  • Ads about life insurance may not appeal to sophomores in college, but they may appeal to someone who just started a family.
  • Iemand die net voor het eerst gaat werken is misschien meer geïnteresseerd in een nieuw appartement dan iemand die met pensioen is.

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).

Voorbeelden van seizoenssegmentatie

  • 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.

Technografische segmentatievoorbeelden

  • 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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Marktsegmentatiestrategieën (en hun voor- en nadelen)

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.

Een concentratiestrategie is als al je kaarten op tafel leggen - als het niet werkt, kan het slecht aflopen. Als het marktsegment niet goed is doorgelicht en een flop blijkt te zijn, kunnen al je marketinginspanningen voor niets zijn geweest. Zorg ervoor dat je zorgvuldig plant en grondige markttests uitvoert voordat je je bedrijf aan één marktsegment verbindt.

  • Voordelen: Hoge conversiepercentages, herhaalbare marketingpraktijken, minder marketinguitgaven
  • Nadelen: "Alles of niets", groeipotentieel is beperkt tot segmentgrootte

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.

Hoewel het "veiliger" lijkt dan een concentratiestrategie, legt multi-segmentmarketing een veel grotere belasting op de marketinguitgaven van een bedrijf, omdat het totaal verschillende campagnes vereist voor elk marktsegment.

Als een bepaald segment echter zeer ontvankelijk is en goed converteert, is het eenvoudig om je strategie aan te passen en directer op dat segment af te stemmen.

  • Pros: Safer, appeals to more consumers, diverse marketing, high growth potential
  • Nadelen: Lagere conversiepercentages, meer marketinguitgaven

Hoe je je eigen marktsegmentatie in fasen kunt uitvoeren

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: De gegevens verzamelen

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: Sorteer de gegevens in segmenten

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.

Ervan uitgaande dat tijd en geld een belemmering vormen, kunt u uw eigen marktsegmentatie benaderen door uw gegevens in één enkele bron samen te brengen en er filters op toe te passen om uw prospects en bedrijven handmatig te groeperen op basis van segmenten.

Vraag jezelf het volgende af:

  • Is dit segment meetbaar?
  • Is dit segment groot genoeg om winst te maken?
  • Is dit segment stabiel en verdwijnt het niet na korte tijd?
  • Is dit segment bereikbaar met mijn marketingstrategieën?
  • Is dit segment homogeen en zullen ze op dezelfde manier reageren op mijn marketingstrategieën?

Fase 3: Sluit uw marketingkanalen aan

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.

De echte uitdaging is het voortdurend verbeteren van je inspanningen met vallen en opstaan om de best mogelijke conversie te behalen.

Er is een goede, ouderwetse manier om dit snel en gemakkelijk in kaart te brengen:

  • 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:

Marktsegmentatie in een nutshell

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

Daarom moet je een duidelijk inzicht hebben in hoe je met je prospects moet praten en hoe je je inspanningen kunt differentiëren op basis van het marktsegment.

De uitdagingen die voor ons liggen, liggen in het voortdurend aanpassen van je marketing - het testen van je boodschappen, je tactieken en het meten van de reacties van je publiek.

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