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What Is Market Segmentation?

  • How It Works
  • Determining Your Market Segment
  • Limitations
  • Market Segmentation FAQs

The Bottom Line

  • Marketing Essentials

Market Segmentation: Definition, Example, Types, Benefits

market segmentation sample business plan

Yarilet Perez is an experienced multimedia journalist and fact-checker with a Master of Science in Journalism. She has worked in multiple cities covering breaking news, politics, education, and more. Her expertise is in personal finance and investing, and real estate.

market segmentation sample business plan

Market segmentation is a way of aggregating prospective buyers into groups or segments, based on demographics, geography, behavior, or psychographic factors in order to better understand and market to them.

Key Takeaways

  • Market segmentation seeks to identify targeted groups of consumers to tailor products and branding in a way that is attractive to the group.
  • Markets can be segmented in several ways such as geographically, demographically, or behaviorally.
  • Market segmentation helps companies minimize risk by figuring out which products are the most likely to earn a share of a target market and the best ways to market and deliver those products to the market.
  • With risk minimized and clarity about the marketing and delivery of a product heightened, a company can then focus its resources on efforts likely to be the most profitable.
  • Market segmentation can also increase a company's demographic reach and may help the company discover products or services they hadn't previously considered.

Investopedia / Matthew Collins

Understanding Market Segmentation

Companies can generally use three criteria to identify different market segments:

  • Homogeneity , or common needs within a segment
  • Distinction , or being unique from other groups
  • Reaction , or a similar response to the market

For example, an athletic footwear company might have market segments for basketball players and long-distance runners. As distinct groups, basketball players and long-distance runners respond to very different advertisements. Understanding these different market segments enables the athletic footwear company to market its branding appropriately.

Market segmentation is an extension of market research that seeks to identify targeted groups of consumers to tailor products and branding in a way that is attractive to the group. The objective of market segmentation is to minimize risk by determining which products have the best chances of gaining a share of a target market  and determining the best way to deliver the products to the market. This allows the company to increase its overall efficiency by focusing limited resources on efforts that produce the best return on investment (ROI).

Market segmentation allows a company to increase its overall efficiency by focusing limited resources on efforts that produce the best return on investment (ROI).

Types of Market Segmentation

There are four primary types of market segmentation. However, one type can usually be split into an individual segment and an organization segment. Therefore, below are five common types of market segmentation.

Demographic Segmentation

Demographic segmentation is one of the simple, common methods of market segmentation. It involves breaking the market into customer demographics as age, income, gender, race, education, or occupation. This market segmentation strategy assumes that individuals with similar demographics will have similar needs.

Example: The market segmentation strategy for a new video game console may reveal that most users are young males with disposable income.

Firmographic Segmentation

Firmographic segmentation is the same concept as demographic segmentation. However, instead of analyzing individuals, this strategy looks at organizations and looks at a company's number of employees, number of customers, number of offices, or annual revenue .

Example: A corporate software provider may approach a multinational firm with a more diverse, customizable suite while approaching smaller companies with a fixed fee, more simple product.

Geographic Segmentation

Geographic segmentation is technically a subset of demographic segmentation. This approach groups customers by physical location, assuming that people within a given geographical area may have similar needs. This strategy is more useful for larger companies seeking to expand into different branches, offices, or locations.

Example: A clothing retailer may display more raingear in their Pacific Northwest locations compared to their Southwest locations.

Behavioral Segmentation

Behavioral segmentation relies heavily on market data, consumer actions, and decision-making patterns of customers. This approach groups consumers based on how they have previously interacted with markets and products. This approach assumes that consumers prior spending habits are an indicator of what they may buy in the future, though spending habits may change over time or in response to global events.

Example: Millennial consumers traditionally buy more craft beer, while older generations are traditionally more likely to buy national brands.

Psychographic Segmentation

Often the most difficult market segmentation approach, psychographic segmentation strives to classify consumers based on their lifestyle, personality, opinions, and interests. This may be more difficult to achieve, as these traits (1) may change easily and (2) may not have readily available objective data. However, this approach may yield strongest market segment results as it groups individuals based on intrinsic motivators as opposed to external data points.

Example: A fitness apparel company may target individuals based on their interest in playing or watching a variety of sports.

Other less notable examples of types of segmentation include volume (i.e. how much a consumer spends), use-related (i.e. how loyal a customer is), or other customer traits (i.e. how innovative or risk-favorable a customer is).

How to Determine Your Market Segment

There's no single universally accepted way to perform market segmentation. To determine your market segments, it's common for companies to ask themselves the following questions along their market segmentation journey.

Phase I: Setting Expectations/Objectives

  • What is the purpose or goal of performing market segmentation?
  • What does the company hope to find out by performing marketing segmentation?
  • Does the company have any expectations on what market segments may exist?

Phase 2: Identify Customer Segments

  • What segments are the company's competitors selling to?
  • What publicly available information (i.e. U.S. Census Bureau data) is relevant and available to our market?
  • What data do we want to collect, and how can we collect it?
  • Which of the five types of market segments do we want to segment by?

Phase 3: Evaluate Potential Segments

  • What risks are there that our data is not representative of the true market segments?
  • Why should we choose to cater to one type of customer over another?
  • What is the long-term repercussion of choosing one market segment over another?
  • What is the company's ideal customer profile, and which segments best overlap with this "perfect customer"?

Phase 4: Develop Segment Strategy

  • How can the company test its assumptions on a sample test market?
  • What defines a successful marketing segment strategy?
  • How can the company measure whether the strategy is working?

Phase 5: Launch and Monitor

  • Who are key stakeholders that can provide feedback after the market segmentation strategy has been unveiled?
  • What barriers to execution exist, and how can they can be overcome?
  • How should the launch of the marketing campaign be communicated internally?

Benefits of Market Segmentation

Marketing segmentation takes effort and resources to implement. However, successful marketing segmentation campaigns can increase the long-term profitability and health of a company. Several benefits of market segmentation include;

  • Increased resource efficiency. Marketing segmentation allows management to focus on certain demographics or customers. Instead of trying to promote products to the entire market, marketing segmentation allows a focused, precise approach that often costs less compared to a broad reach approach.
  • Stronger brand image. Marketing segment forces management to consider how it wants to be perceived by a specific group of people. Once the market segment is identified, management must then consider what message to craft. Because this message is directed at a target audience, a company's branding and messaging is more likely to be very intentional. This may also have an indirect effect of causing better customer experiences with the company.
  • Greater potential for brand loyalty. Marketing segmentation increases the opportunity for consumers to build long-term relationships with a company. More direct, personal marketing approaches may resonate with customers and foster a sense of inclusion, community, and a sense of belonging. In addition, market segmentation increases the probability that you land the right client that fits your product line and demographic.
  • Stronger market differentiation. Market segmentation gives a company the opportunity to pinpoint the exact message they way to convey to the market and to competitors. This can also help create product differentiation by communicating specifically how a company is different from its competitors. Instead of a broad approach to marketing, management crafts a specific image that is more likely to be memorable and specific.
  • Better targeted digital advertising. Marketing segmentation enables a company to perform better targeted advertising strategies. This includes marketing plans that direct effort towards specific ages, locations, or habits via social media.

Market segmentation exists outside of business. There has been extensive research using market segmentation strategies to promote overcoming COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy and other health initiatives.

Limitations of Market Segmentation

The benefits above can't be achieved with some potential downsides. Here are some disadvantages to consider when considering implementing market segmentation strategies.

  • Higher upfront marketing expenses. Marketing segmentation has the long-term goal of being efficient. However, to capture this efficiency, companies must often spend resources upfront to gain the insight, data, and research into their customer base and the broad markets.
  • Increased product line complexity. Marketing segmentation takes a large market and attempts to break it into more specific, manageable pieces. This has the downside risk of creating an overly complex, fractionalized product line that focuses too deeply on catering to specific market segments. Instead of a company having a cohesive product line, a company's marketing mix may become too confusing and inconsistently communicate its overall brand.
  • Greater risk of misassumptions. Market segmentation is rooted in the assumption that similar demographics will share common needs. This may not always be the case. By grouping a population together with the belief that they share common traits, a company may risk misidentifying the needs, values, or motivations within individuals of a given population.
  • Higher reliance on reliable data. Market segmentation is only as strong as the underlying data that support the claims that are made. This means being mindful of what sources are used to pull in data. This also means being conscious of changing trends and when market segments may have shifted from prior studies.

Examples of Market Segmentation

Market segmentation is evident in the products, marketing, and advertising that people use every day. Auto manufacturers thrive on their ability to identify market segments correctly and create products and advertising campaigns that appeal to those segments.

Cereal producers market actively to three or four market segments at a time, pushing traditional brands that appeal to older consumers and healthy brands to health-conscious consumers, while building brand loyalty among the youngest consumers by tying their products to, say, popular children's movie themes.

A sports-shoe manufacturer might define several market segments that include elite athletes, frequent gym-goers, fashion-conscious women, and middle-aged men who want quality and comfort in their shoes. In all cases, the manufacturer's marketing intelligence about each segment enables it to develop and advertise products with a high appeal more efficiently than trying to appeal to the broader masses.

Market segmentation is a marketing strategy in which select groups of consumers are identified so that certain products or product lines can be presented to them in a way that appeals to their interests.

Why Is Market Segmentation Important?

Market segmentation realizes that not all customers have the same interests, purchasing power, or consumer needs. Instead of catering to all prospective clients broadly, market segmentation is important because it strives to make a company's marketing endeavors more strategic and refined. By developing specific plans for specific products with target audiences in mind, a company can increase its chances of generating sales and being more efficient with resources.

What Are the Types of Market Segmentation?

Types of segmentation include homogeneity, which looks at a segment's common needs, distinction, which looks at how the particular group stands apart from others, and reaction, or how certain groups respond to the market.

What Are Some Market Segmentation Strategies?

Strategies include targeting a group by location, by demographics—such as age or gender—by social class or lifestyle, or behaviorally—such as by use or response.

What Is an Example of Market Segmentation?

Upon analysis of its target audience and desired brand image, Crypto.com entered into an agreement with Matt Damon to promote their platform and cryptocurrency investing. With backdrops of space exploration and historical feats of innovation, Crypto.com's market segmentation targeted younger, bolder, more risk-accepting individuals.

Market segmentation is a process companies use to break their potential customers into different sections. This allows the company to allocate the appropriate resource to each individual segment which allows for more accurate targeting across a variety of marketing campaigns.

PubsOnline. " Millennials and the Takeoff of Craft Brands ."

Crypto.com. " Fortune Favors the Bold ."

market segmentation sample business plan

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5 Types of Market Segmentation with Examples

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You’ve invested a large amount of money and much time into an efficient marketing strategy, and you really hope your message resonates perfectly with your potential customers. Is it right?

This is the reason why market segmentation is important. This practice enables you to concentrate your marketing efforts on each customer segment so you can better satisfy their demands. Your brand can leverage this method to combat your competitors as you show your potential customers that you understand them and apprehend what they need.

Therefore, to know more about What is Market Segmentation? 5 Market Segmentation Examples that will Inspire You , please read on.

Let’s start now!

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What is market segmentation?

What is market segmentation?

Market segmentation is the process of classifying a market of potential customers into small groups or segments based on multiple features significant to you. In a group, customers share the same characteristics and react similarly to your messages.

The aim of segmentation is that you are capable of introducing a more tailor-made message that will be accepted successfully. This is beneficial for organizations that have a product or service in the marketplace that shows off different uses for different groups of customers.

Market Segmentation based on business types

Market Segmentation based on business types

So what criteria can we base on to implement market segmentation? Here are the two criteria we want to introduce to you:

B2C business

B2C business

Except for professional customers or prosumers, customers are often more sensitive to price and tend to come up with an impulsive decision. Segmentation of these types of consumers shows their purchasing habits.

B2B business

B2B business

B2B purchasers are a different type. They are not sensitive to price. As your products can save the business money and time or make money, then it’s worth it. Price is just a secondary factor.

They will consider how much it impacts on their workflow and how difficult it is to carry out.

5 Types of market segmentation and examples

5 Types of market segmentation and examples

Demographic Segmentation

Demographic Segmentation

Demographic segmentation is the easiest and the most popular applied type of market segmentation. Organizations utilize it to form broad segments of the population in terms of age, gender, location, religion, family size and so on.

These are typically black and white groups that provide you a profile of whether or not someone can purchase your products. For instance, if you offer a product for people 21 and beyond, then those who under that age would not be for you.

Correspondingly, products for men usually won’t be relevant to women unless you offer it as a gift.

Behavioral Segmentation

Behavioral Segmentation

Behavioral segmentation involves the way people decide over time or react to stimuli. For instance, the method that a business uses during Christmas time will differ from the rest of the year.

They recognize that people are more receptive and may be willing to make bigger orders. Younger generation and athletes would love brands like Jordan and Air Max whereas older people would vote for brands like New Balance.

Geographic Segmentation

Geographic Segmentation

As its name, the market segmentation type divides people into different groups based on their physical location. This type may be helpful for your company as the demands of your consumers are different from area to area.

For instance, people living in the countryside wouldn’t need a subway but those who work in the city would.

It’s also possible for you to use geographic segmentation to bring special deals to your potential consumers. Besides, you can use it to acclimate the language and tone of your messages.

In Georgia, people would consider soda as coke until you ask several questions. In Chicago, every soda is called pop.

Psychographic Segmentation

Psychographic Segmentation

Psychographic segmentation is used to form groupings based on customers’ lifestyles, interest and activities. Demographic segmentation shows you someone is a younger male, while psychographic segmentation tells you they go to the cinema on the weekends.

This type of segmentation indicates what customers do and why they purchase. It is quite similar to behavioral segmentation, but there exists a difference.

Behavioral segmentation lets us know that this demographic segment buys paper straws. Psychographic segmentation tells us this demographic segment buys paper straw because they can be recycled and the buyers are environmentally conscious.

Lenovo collaborated with Newstar, carried out market segmentation, and built personalized banners on their homepage that boosted click-through rates by 30% and conversion rates by 40%.

Firmographic segmentation

This type of market segmentation refers to analyzing and grouping business-to-business audiences and customers according to similar features that are important to your business. The way a firmographic grouping will search for one company may differ from the way it searches for another company.

Does this mean one organization is compatible with their firmographic segmentation and another is not?. No, it just means their KPIs are different from each other. For instance, a domestic brand may divide their leads based on location and these locations are north, south, east and west. Meanwhile, an international brand may also divide based on location, but their groups are Asia, Europe, South America, North America, Australia and so on.

Firmographic segmentation can have an effect on the way you access potential customers, the information you push forward as advantages, and the solutions being recommended. For instance, if you have an accounting solution that can be suitable for small businesses and enterprise customers, you would not use the same method to access them.

For small businesses, you can implement paid ads and try to achieve direct sign ups. For enterprise clients, you may concentrate on lead generation, demos, and create tailored solutions to satisfy their demands. Firmographic segmentation provides you with the insights to come up with those decisions.

Examples of successful market segmentation business

Examples of successful market segmentation business

Automobile industry

Automobile industry

The automobile industry can be a good example of market segmentation. Every person needs a car to travel. However, is traveling from one place to another is the one and only “need” on the basis of which brands market their products? Then why are there a lot of various makes, models and versions from one single company?

This is because purchasers mainly need private and convenient transportation. Nevertheless, there are some other considerations that people want to make. Some people want to buy a large and spacious car to have enough rooms for family members. Some may wish to own vehicles with strong power and high speed. And even others purchase a car as a status symbol.

Automobile companies totally understand how to identify and make use of these differences.

Regarding the Volkswagen Polo, what will spring to people’s minds would be some attributes such as robust, affordable and hatchback. But do you know the Volkswagen group produces Audi , Lamborghini and the Porsche among others?

Volkswagen has some different characteristics for different customer groupings. It can be trustworthy to some and elite to others. It has boosted the science of clustering purchasers with the same demands and invents a focused marketing mix for every cluster to position its vehicles as the perfect choice in the market.

Victoria’s secret

Victoria's secret

Victoria’s Secret deals are creating and marketing women lingerie and beauty products. They concentrated on women and “women” is the main market segment in their marketing campaign. Applying demographics segmentation, this company is also classifying their target market with product differentiation as PINK for adolescent girls.

The company Victoria’s Secret also uses geographic segmentation to serve their customers not only in America but also in the UK and Europe. They currently own more than a dozen stores.

Victoria’s lingerie brand is available in nearly 75 countries with about 1000 stores worldwide. It also owns 990 sales points in the USA. In addition, this company developed geographical segments to China in the lingerie market.

Moreover, as an example of psychological market segmentation, Victoria’s Secret also grouped its consumers according to women’s personalities and self-confidence. Victoria is growing towards a sexy, fashionable and open-minded trait.

Furthermore, in behavioral segmentation, this company has loyal consumers because Victoria makes them feel alive and self-assured. Clients buy Victoria lingerie product lines for prestige and they also go for this brand during birthdays and holidays.

Coca Cola

In demographic segmentation, Coca Cola company aims to serve youngsters from 15 to 25 years old. This organization creates income level groups including different packing, for instance, returnable glass bottles, plastic bottles and tins with various pricing programs.

Using geographic segmentation, Coca Cola has many customer groups in different regions such as Asia Pacific, North America, Latin America, Europe, and Eurasia and Africa.

Besides, Coca Cola is considered a great example of psychographic segmentation. They created Diet Coke for those who are health conscious, offered a number of energy drinks for those who need energy particularly in sport, and also provided Real Gold for busy people in offices.

Plus, in behavioral segmentation, Coca Cola consumers are classified into segments on the basis of their knowledge of, attitude toward, use of and response to a product. Coca Cola buyers can be recognized according to occasions such as weddings, festivals or birthdays. Sometimes, to promote Coke - a drink to quench thirst and to refresh, the company includes prizes in the top cover.


Apple has divided the overall electronics market into mainly early adapters and wealthy market groupings.

Wells Fargo and JP Morgan

Wells Fargo and JP Morgan

The bank industry is another great example of market segmentation. Both Wells Fargo and JP Morgan are large banks with a variety of different products that request market segmentation to best market them individually.

What are the benefits of market segmentation?

What are the benefits of market segmentation

Segmentation marketing was invented to serve one main goal: increase ROI

With the aid of customer segmentation and personalized marketing strategies, organizations decrease the risk of implementing campaigns to uninterested customers. This improved campaign effectiveness concentrates resources on more ROI-generating efforts. Now we’ll look deeper to see how it exactly works.

Boosted competitiveness and market expansion

By concentrating on a certain subset of potential customers, your competitiveness in that market group naturally accelerates. If you’re concentrating mainly on retired seniors, investing much time and a lot of resources into them, your brand recall and brand loyalty are probably to be enhanced, knocking out other competitors.

Your market share can also rise by concentrating on specific market segments. For example, with a geography-based market campaign, you can begin market your products to San Francisco, then the bigger bay area, and consequently the state of California.

Enhanced time and money efficiency

If you launch marketing campaigns tailored particularly for distinct groups, you are able to prioritize consumer segments that are likely to get involved and convert. By putting more conversion efforts on them, rather than distributing resources evenly throughout all segments, tie and money are spent more effectively.

Better relationships and customer retention

The process of market segmentation refers to continually learning more about your customers so you can better satisfy their demands. The more you understand them, the stronger your interaction and your relationship with them becomes.

Closer relationships make it more difficult for them to leave you - improved customer retention . As you implement customer segmentation to track their changing situations - they age, have families, change jobs, grow more interests, have more purchasing patterns - you can certainly market to them. By offering products and services that intrigue consumers at different life stages, you are able to keep customers who might switch to your competitors.

Further readings

  • Marketing to Children: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
  • What Is Market Orientation?
  • How To Do Google Maps Markting?

Market Segmentation can help your business to target the right audience and the right goals. You can understand more about your customers, see how to better approach them and find new markets to expand.

If you feel it’s hard to have the exact data and implement it in your business, hope that the 5 Market Segmentation Examples can be useful. Let us know how you’re implementing Market Segmentation in the comment box or leave any questions you have.

Thank you for your time. Have a nice day!

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