Marketing Segmentation: not what you were hoping for

Like you, I have sat through too many powerpoint presentations about market segmentation. Somehow it didn’t ring true to me. Or, at least, if it is true, I find it almost insurmountable logic to believe that you can be quite as granular as you think you can.

There was a time when the air force thought it could win all future wars and infantry was obsolete. It took a while for them to realize that they needed the “boots-on-the-ground.” So it is with hard and fast “solve it all” “magic bullet” answers. ┬áLife is hard work.

This blog post has a new slant on segmentation you might find interesting.


hbrHer confession was blurted out in the midst of our first conversation about the new digital marketing strategy which we would eventually advise them on: “You know, I don’t think I believe in segmentation anymore.” She said it fast and softly, almost in hope that the sounds around us would make it inaudible. But we did hear it, and responded, “Well, we don’t either….”

…Once the taboo was lifted in our minds and in our conversation, our client, a senior marketing executive in the telco sector, with decades of operational experience, explained that in some of the countries she managed, her marketing teams were simply shelving the results of the segmentations they felt obligated to perform out of routine, or because they felt it was expected of them as serious marketers. They just ignored them. In others, marketers were still adamant that segmentation was the only way to go, but couldn’t explain its benefits. Voodoo indeed.

We agreed to work on a new kind of segmentation based the combinations of jobs that customers need to get done. Here’s how the “jobs done” segmentation works:More Reading

My thoughts:

I can remember almost 30 years ago being shown the results of what may have been the first market segmentation in funeral service. All I can remember were “station-wagon moms” I guess they have been succeeded by soccer moms. Anyway I have noticed something about the results and the reality. Virtually every study indicated the majority of people don’t want to talk to a funeral director BEFORE there was an actual body. On the other hand experience has shown me that when there is an actual body they don’t want to talk to anybody BUT a funeral director. I like the thought process in this article. It makes more sense than putting people in slots.