Marketing involves understanding what consumers want or need and finding a mutually beneficial way to create, communicate and deliver these needs to consumers. As marketers, an important step in truly understanding your target audience and their desires is being able to identify and describe meaningfully different groups of customers, or in other words, being able to segment your audience. Whether working on an email campaign or a direct mail initiative, segmentation allows marketers to reach the right audience, with the right message, through the right channels and at the right time.
I know you’re probably wondering: how can I start to segment my audience? Well, the first step is to understand the four types of market segmentation: geographic, demographic, psychographic and behavioral. If you’ve visited my blog before, you know that I’m a healthcare marketer and I love to explore how different marketing strategies can benefit my niche industry. However, if you aren’t an avid healthcare enthusiast, don’t worry as these marketing concepts can be applied to any industry, brand or business. Now, let’s dive into what each of these market segments mean and of course, how they apply to the healthcare industry.
- Geographic segmentation refers to the location of your customers. Marketers may look at the population size, the classification of the geographic area, what surrounds that location, the language spoken and even what the climate might be like. In healthcare, geographic segments may be used when trying to determine which customers would be more appropriate to target with a Facebook ad about emergency care closer to home.
- Demographic segmentation is based on exactly what it sounds like, the demographics of the customer. Things like age, gender, occupation or socio-economic group are analyzed to determine the best marketing approach. In healthcare, a breast cancer awareness month email blast campaign in October would most likely go to women ages 40 and up. By using demographic segmentation, healthcare marketers are able to target the right audience to come in for a mammogram.
- Psychographic segmentation refers to unmeasurable, qualitative aspects of the customer. It groups people by religious beliefs, personality traits, hobbies and life interests. If a hospital is promoting getting the flu vaccine during flu season, they can use psychographic segmentation to focus on a customer group that will be more disposed to come in for a flu vaccine. Data gathered from psychographic segmentation may lead marketers to exclude families with religious beliefs against vaccines from any marketing campaigns.
- Behavioral segmentation is based directly on consumer behavior and habits. Customers will be grouped according to actions, online habits, engagements and even spending trends. Behavioral segments are useful to healthcare marketers as it gives us insight into what a consumer may be actively searching for. For example, a mom may be actively looking for a new pediatrician for her kids. A healthcare provider can then target ads or an email blast to this specific group of people.
As you can see, there are several different ways to reach an audience. However, the effectiveness of a marketing strategy depends on how well a marketer can segment an audience into its respective group. By leveraging all four of these market segmentation types, any marketer or business will be able to meet consumer expectations while making the most of its resources.
Did you enjoy this post? Learn more about how healthcare professionals can benefit from map visualizations on my last blog post.