An Overview of Client Segmentation

blog author
Chris Murvine
CEO | Founder

Digital marketers face a distinct challenge: how to appeal to a set of incredibly diverse clients. While many companies have very defined target markets (Revlon seeks out middle-age women, Columbia attracts outdoorsy folk) we offer services to all sorts of businesses.

Ask me to define our typical client and I’d be hard pressed to tell you. We work with lawyers, accountants, jewelers, and software companies alike. And while it’s great to have such a broad market, for many in the industry it can be tricky to communicate in a way that will resonate with each specific client.

Thankfully, a way exists—Segmenting.

What is segmenting?

Segmenting is a method businesses use to group clients into pods, or segments, based on similarities such as needs, habits, and interests.

Why segment?

Segmenting will help you communicate more effectively with each of your clients. Many businesses still rely solely on methods of mass communication. They project one message to hundreds of potential clients. And while this is unarguably time saving, what are the chances that all these individuals will be attracted to this one message?

Our interests and our needs are varied. I may be intrigued by an ad on mineral makeup, but my grandpa surely won’t. In order for marketers to be effective, they need to tailor their messages to appeal to the various personas of their clients. And to determine these personas, they segment.

If it weren't for its separate sections, this quilt would be a mess of shapes and colors.

How to segment:

1. Compile a list of all features that differentiate your clients (industry, location, frequency of interaction, etc.).

2. Further specify each feature.

Industry: law
Location: within city limits
Frequency of interaction: monthly

3. Under each specification, list all clients who fit the profile.

4. Eliminate any segment that does not possess the following features:

• Substantial: You want your investment in each group to be of value. So each segment should have either several low-mid value clients or a few high-value clients.

• Distinct: Each segment should be distinct (or there’s really no point segmenting at all). Avoid overlap. If a client fits into two categories, consider which has a larger impact on your everyday dealings with them.

• Similar: Ask yourself if the clients you have grouped into one segment will be receptive to a similar message. If you feel one may not, find a different segment in which to place this client.

Since our clients are indeed so diverse, you may find it difficult to create substantial segments. No two clients will boast the exact same set of features, just like no two individuals have identical interests. But resist the temptation to get too specific.

In a perfect world (perfect for customers, at least) one-to-one communication would be the norm. Businesses would know and appeal to each client’s individual needs and interests, and all would be satisfied. But, unfortunately, this simply isn't feasible. Digital marketers, and all business professionals, have neither the time nor the money to so deeply invest in each client.

You can’t tailor your digital marketing efforts to each specific client, nor can you expect to reach them all with a universal message; so compromise. Make your marketing efforts as personal as possible without exhausting your resources.

Segmenting your customers will not only save you time and money, it will pay off in their increased loyalty to your business.

Looking for help segmenting your clients or reaching better prospects? Get in touch. We can help.


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