4 Customer Target Types for Straight-Shooting Marketers

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Table of Contents

    We talk a lot about marketing to segments of customers, but there’s not just a single way of defining or segmenting your audience. As you build your ad campaigns, think about the following categories of segmentation and which might best serve your business.

    #1 Geographical Segmentation (The Basic One)

    Geographic segmentation is the simplest, most basic form of audience division and categorization (ie, segmentation). It works exactly like how it sounds: Your business categorizes customers based on their location and related factors. 

    • City, state, country
    • ZIP code
    • Urban vs. rural
    • Climate

    Geographic segmentation might denote some defined cartographical boundary, like a city, or a quality of the given area, like the weather in that location. People in warm climates, for instance, are more likely to be interested in products like sunscreen, so if you’re selling that sort of thing, it’s in your best interest to segment your audience by climate.

    #2 Demographic Segmentation (The Social One)

    Demographic segmentation is a popular way of segmenting and dividing up groups in your customer base. So when you hear “demo segmentation,” it’s referring to statistical data about groups of people divided along some of the following lines:

    • Ethnicity
    • Gender
    • Age
    • Location
    • Income
    • Family Setup
    • Education

    These bulleted items help you to segment your B2C audiences, which you might define along the following lines: 

    • Industry
    • Size of the company
    • Job role/function

    Now since demographic info is fact-based and statistical, it’s usually fairly easy to discover by means of market research. For example, B2C demographic segmentation could look something like a kitchen appliance manufacturer that sells deluxe stand-up mixers. A company like this would probably be targeting audiences with decently high incomes—families or other customers who can afford luxury kitchenware for specialty meal making. 

    #3 Psychographic Segmentation (The Tricky One)

    Psychographic segmentation categorizes groups of customers using metrics relevant to personalities and personal characteristics. Here are some examples of traits or factors along which you would divide a group of people for psychographic purposes:

    Psychographic Market Segmentation Examples 

    • Personality
    • Attitudes
    • Values
    • Interests
    • Lifestyles
    • Subconscious beliefs and motivations

    Psychographic segmentation is a bit more challenging to get right than its demographic cousin. That’s because these traits are largely subjective and need certain operational definitions to be functional at all. An operational definition is a relatively concrete description of some abstract or subjective concept, which allows the concept in question to be measured. For example, if you wanted to measure feelings of love, you’d be in a tight spot – what is love? How does it feel? How can you certifiably recognize it? A researcher would have to give “love” an operational definition. Something like… 

    Personally reported feelings experienced and labeled as “love” or comparable feelings of affection like adoration, accompanied by expectations of negative emotion if the loved person or object is damaged/lost.

    Even that is a pretty rough definition! So you can see how in measuring things like attitudes and personality, you run into some issues. What is a “happy” customer personality? What constitutes “strong” values? It’s not as simple as merely listing someone’s age or where they live. So if a business wants to get this stuff right, it may have to embed some demographic targeting into its psych targeting process. 

    For instance, if a company manufactures t-shirts with rebellious slogans printed on them, and they want to target customers who feel an “internal sense of defiance,” they have to define this vague target person operationally. This could be done by targeting a demographic like teens from low-to-middle income homes in a more turbulent part of some city.

    #4 Behavioral Segmentation (The Action-Based One)

    Behavioral segmentation refers neither to personality nor living situation. This segmentation type is all about action. It requires you to know about how your customers spend their time—particularly their time spent online, where much modern shopping is done. Customer activities often tell you a lot about how they interact with your brand. Examples of behavioral segmentation factors include:

    • User status or subscription status
    • Spending habits
    • Brand interactions

    So if you’re selling an online membership to a series of career-building webinars, you might behaviorally segment your audience into categories based on how recently a person has actually signed up for some webinar membership—either with your company or someone else’s. 

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