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What The Best Marketers Know About Customer Segmentation


Customer segmentation is a bit of a tired subject in the world of marketing. Grouping an audience into manageable, more well-understood segments means you can…yada, yada, yada. For many a business/company, the idea of customer segmentation has become a bit tired, old-fashioned, and seemingly antiquated. As such, they’ve set their sights on bigger, brighter, more flashy ways to connecting with the right customer.

What Exactly DO You Know?!?

Not fully understanding who the ‘right customer’ is a major folly with this thinking. The whole ‘bigger, brighter, flashier’ schtick tends to revolve around buzzwords that tend to muddy up marketing. ‘Pizzazz’, ‘pop’, ‘zip’, and ‘zing’ are major players in the vocabulary of purveyors of pop-marketing. These are the folks that promise to ‘revolutionize outside the box’ and ‘shift paradigms’ in your industry so that YOU stand out above the rest. Question — stand out how???

Your Own Worst Enemy

There is a reason that customer segmentation has been a major element of marketing campaigns for years — because it works. The issue with customer segmentation use being seen as ‘boring’ or ‘behind the times’ is that business/companies refuse to evolve in their use of it. Guess what? Doing anything the same way over and over again will always amount to the thing being boring. It’s YOU that’s become stagnant, and it’s that realization that no one wants to come to terms with.

The Good Stuff

And so, it gets taken out on customer segmentation. But the best best marketers out there know that segmentation gets results. They also understand the following:

All About Messaging

Segmentation is about narrowing focus. Not only is this good for audience organization, but it proves to be important for pinpointing solid messaging/branding.

Improving Product/Service

Having to find customers where THEY are at means having to come to grips with how your product/service is missing the mark. Customer segmentation allows for businesses/companies to really see how they can make their offerings better & more useful.

The Only Thing That’s Constant is Change

Stagnation in customer segmentation work has many problems. Perhaps highest on the list of issues has to do with the inability to see how today’s audience is different from the previous one. Whether it’s one day to the next, Q1 to Q3, or Year One to Year Five, audiences are constantly different. Reaching prospective customers takes serious work. It also means welcoming change as it comes. Audience type and overall targeting is akin to the proverbial ‘moving goalpost’ in that just when you think you’ve got things figured out, it’s time to change things up.

Some of the most observable audience behavior shifts has taken place during the ongoing global health crisis. Between stay-at-home orders, the shifting of priorities, and a need to redefine financial necessities, businesses/companies have had a front-row seat to a vastly different audience than ever before. As such, approaching customer segmentation has had to be done in a bit of a hybrid sort of way. More traditional data points have had to make room for outliers that have made their way into the mix over the last few years. Generational tensions, a palpable lack of brand loyalty, and a muted skepticism about the future have made marketing insiders really have to dig deep for usable data with which to form campaigns.

Getting Out of Your Own Way

If there is one thing the best marketers know about customer segmentation, it’s that it is a MUST-HAVE element to maximizing retention. Being able to narrow one’s focus enough to see what folks want & need, both now and over time, is critical to keeping folks interested in what you have to offer. This is where many businesses tend to falter the most. Comfortable ruts are the perfect place to wallow in stubbornness. A refusal to see beyond what you think of your product/service as opposed to the audience will net one result — failure. 

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