Customers, at first glance, are the same because they buy a product or a service that you offer. Sub-categories and sub-segments, however, emerge and set some customers apart from the others. Suppose your product line is for women and you find that women with children tend to be a different product than women that do not have any children. While women are your target market, the different sub-segments of women also require your marketing messages to be different to speak directly to them.
Segmenting and sub-segmenting your customers according to your business may be done in four key ways. In conjunction with the customer segments, your marketing messages may change according to which category your customers fall under.
1. Demographic Segment
Information pertaining to age, ethnicity, race, household income, gender, education level or profession defines your customers' demographic segment. A hairdresser who focuses on African-American has customers in a particular demographic. One sub-segment in this category may be by age-- children, teenagers and women.
Buying habits, behavior and frequency of purchase are also factors that help place a customer in a particular customer segment. For example, there are frequent, mid-range and one-time buyers. So, the marketing messages you send to your frequent buyer may focus on ways to keep the business relationship going, while a one-time buyer may receive a marketing message to attract them back to doing business with you. The segmenting will help you send different, but appropriate marketing messages to your customer segments.
The product or service you offer may also vary by the location of your customers. For example, if your line of business is heating or cooling services, customers in cold regions may not have a need for cooling services. Similarly, customers in warmer areas may not need heating services. Customers in other areas may need both types of services. Your marketing messages too need to be adjusted according to the regional needs of the customers.
4. Lifestyles, Values and Attitudes
Religion, hobbies and household composition are the factors that determine customers that fall into the final customer segment. Your product offering and marketing strategies in a religious community may have to be in accordance with beliefs and lifestyles. Areas that are mostly families with young children as opposed to senior couples would also require marketing messages that speak directly to the different needs of the households. It is a matter of proper targeting your marketing on a segment-by-segment basis.
Study your customers' common denominators and learn to segment them and sub-categorize them according to the group in which they belong. Your marketing approach has to cater to what the customers’ needs are that fall into each of these categories.