Segmentation of Existing and Prospective Customers

06/08/2020 1 By indiafreenotes

Market segmentation is the activity of dividing a broad consumer or business market, normally consisting of existing and potential customers, into sub-groups of consumers (known as segments) based on some type of shared characteristics.

In dividing or segmenting markets, researchers typically look for common characteristics such as shared needs, common interests, similar lifestyles or even similar demographic profiles. The overall aim of segmentation is to identify high yield segments that is, those segments that are likely to be the most profitable or that have growth potential so that these can be selected for special attention (i.e. become target markets). Many different ways to segment a market have been identified. Business-to-business (B2B) sellers might segment the market into different types of businesses or countries. While business-to-consumer (B2C) sellers might segment the market into demographic segments, lifestyle segments, behavioural segments or any other meaningful segment.

The STP approach highlights the three areas of decision-making

Market segmentation assumes that different market segments require different marketing programs that is, different offers, prices, promotion, distribution or some combination of marketing variables. Market segmentation is not only designed to identify the most profitable segments, but also to develop profiles of key segments in order to better understand their needs and purchase motivations. Insights from segmentation analysis are subsequently used to support marketing strategy development and planning. Many marketers use the S-T-P approach; Segmentation→Targeting→Positioning to provide the framework for marketing planning objectives. That is, a market is segmented, one or more segments are selected for targeting, and products or services are positioned in a way that resonates with the selected target market or markets.

Types of Market Segmentation

But what types of market segmentation are there? How can companies divide their prospective markets?

In general, there are four basic types of market segmentation (with some variation in them) – behavioral, demographic, psychographic and geographic.

  1. Behavioral

As the name may suggest, behavioral market segmentation is focused on how consumers interact with a product, or how much they know about a product.

For example, behavioral segmentation could include what brands consumers are loyal to, how sensitive consumers are to certain prices, their usage or certain decision-making processes. Behavioral also includes occasion, engagement and life cycle.

Behavioral marketing is often employed most during Christmas or holiday shopping seasons when consumer behavior is somewhat altered.


  • Behavioral segmentation allows brands to use valuable time and resources more efficiently.
  • It helps to develop smart marketing strategies to improve and expand the customer base.
  • It promotes behavioral patterns that help in predicting customer’s behavior and outcomes.


  • The behavior of people never remains the same, and it keeps on changing. This is the reason marketers do not prefer such a strategy.
  • It covers a limited number of potential consumers.
  • It cannot be measured easily, or in other words, it is qualitative and cannot be quantified due to its subjective nature. So one cannot justify it with figures or estimates as far as the behavior of the consumers is concerned.
  1. Demographic

One of the major ways to segment the market is by demographics. Marketers often segment consumers into groups based on similar age, gender, family size, religion, nationality, income and education level. These are often helpful ways for businesses to better assess what might interest their prospective consumers and better target them based on more narrowed needs.

An example of demographic market segmentation could be marketing a retirement service to older citizens.


  • It saves time by selling unnecessary things to potential consumers.
  • Targeting specific audiences improve customer retention and loyalty.
  • The marketer can modify their product or service in less time to suit the needs of the target segment.


  • It involves limited production because customers are limited in each segment.
  • It is expensive because the cost of production rises due to shorter production runs and product variations.
  1. Psychographic

With psychographic segmentation, companies examine consumer’s lifestyles, personality, interests, opinions, social class, habits and activities to better ascertain their needs.

For example, a consumer who is very active with outdoor activities like camping, hiking and skiing would more likely be interested in tents, hiking boots and ski shoes than someone who spends lots of time reading indoors. In marketing, much of this information is procured through surveys or other data that give a company a better picture of a consumer’s lifestyle and interests to better target their specific niches.


  • It gives due importance to consumer preferences, beliefs, and thought processes. It understands customer concerns.
  • A researcher not only fulfills consumer needs but also creates a sense of satisfaction and loyalty amongst them by catering to varied activities, interests, and opinions.
  • This segment proves best when you involve customization of products and services.


  • The implication of this segment is difficult as compared to demographic and geographic segments.
  • It can cover a limited number of potential consumers at a time.
  1. Geographic

Geographic information about consumers can be very helpful (and even essential) to marketing to the right groups. Geographic market segmenting takes into account what country, region, city or area a potential consumer resides in. However, it may also encompass the density of a city, population, climate and language to help further group consumers.

For example, marketing to Spanish-speaking consumers would be very different than marketing to English-speaking consumers. Or, a company selling heaters would likely need to know where their customers in colder climates were as opposed to those in warmer climates who may have less need of their product.


  • Since geographics are well defined through borders, population, density, topography, etc., it becomes easier for companies to identify the needs of the potential customers and produce accordingly.
  • Companies identify people with similar needs and preferences with the help of geographic segments.
  • Densely populated areas lead to huge market potential and a company can earn more profit by offering a wide range of products or services.


  • You can only predict the weather but cannot be sure about it as it keeps on changing. So it becomes risky at times for companies, who engage their segments according to geographic weather patterns.
  • It does not focus on the buying behavior pattern of consumers. People living in the same region can have different needs and desires. Thus, can result in different buying patterns.