Market segmentation

Ciaran Burke

Page written by AI. Reviewed by Ciaran Burke on March 28, 2024.

Definition

Market segmentation is a strategic approach used by businesses to divide a market into smaller, more manageable segments or groups of consumers who share similar characteristics, needs, or behaviours. 

What is market segmentation?

The purpose of market segmentation is to better understand and target specific customer groups with tailored marketing strategies, products, and services. Markets consist of diverse groups of consumers with varying needs, preferences, and behaviours. Market segmentation acknowledges this diversity and recognises that a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing may not effectively reach all consumers.

Segments can be defined based on various criteria, including demographic factors, geographic location, psychographic characteristics, behavioural traits, or a combination of these factors. The choice of segmentation criteria depends on the nature of the market and the objectives of the marketing strategy.

Once segments are identified, marketers evaluate and prioritise them based on factors such as segment size, growth potential, profitability, and compatibility with the company’s resources and capabilities. This process helps marketers decide which segments to focus on and allocate their marketing resources effectively.

Segmentation enables marketers to develop tailored marketing strategies and tactics for each segment. This includes customised product offerings, pricing strategies, distribution channels, and promotional activities designed to engage with the specific needs and preferences of each segment.

Example of market segmentation

A beverage company conducts market research and identifies that within its target market of young adults aged 18-30, there are distinct segments based on lifestyle and preferences. 

  • Health-conscious individuals: This segment values health and wellness, preferring natural ingredients and low-calorie options. 
  • Flavour enthusiasts: This segment enjoys bold and unique flavours.
  • Convenience seekers: This segment prioritises convenience and on-the-go consumption. 

By segmenting its market, the business can tailor products for each segment, and better meet the specific needs and preferences of its target consumers, ultimately driving sales and market share growth.

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