When it comes to figuring out how best to market your business there are a lot of different methods. SWOT analysis and TOWs matrices are popular choices, but one method that I have found to be extremely effective and considerably simpler in many regards is Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning, or STP.

One reason I love this approach is the focus on your client/customer rather than the products/services. When you use STP right, you start by knowing who you want to work with, and build the product or service they most need and want; something that perfectly aligns with both your goals and zone of genius, and their demand.

It’s also a great way of crafting an effective marketing communication plan, enabling you to easily prioritise your ideas and both existing and potential offerings. You can then deliver a marketing message that is tailored to your ideal clients in the most relevant and engaging way possible.

Focusing on your audience not only ensures your offerings have the most commercial appeal possible, but also that your marketing message is really focused, and more likely to achieve success.

Sound good?

Let’s dive in…

What Is Segmentation, Targeting And Positioning?

The STP process consists of three aspects:

  1. Segmentation – looking at your audience options
  2. Targeting – selecting your ideal clients
  3. Positioning – determining where your offering fits in the market, and where gaps in the market leave opportunities for new creations

How To Use Segmentation, Targeting And Positioning For Easy Growth (1)

One of the big questions people tend to ask when they’ve finished creating their ideal client profile it, “What do I do with it now?”

STP is one of several answers to that question and it’s a great way of ensuring your digital marketing efforts are as targeted and successful as possible. The focus of STP on commercial effectiveness is also an excellent way of ensuring maximum ROI from your marketing campaign, and avoiding the pitfalls of wasting precious resources marketing a product or service that nobody wants or needs.

Instead, by using STP you will focus your efforts on segments in your audience that offer the most potential, and then developing a bespoke ‘marketing mix’ (a strategy) for each of those segments.

How To Identify Segments In Your Audience

The first step in STP allows you to segment your audience and identify key niches as well as their specific needs. You already know your ideal client (if you don’t, download my free Ideal Client workbook now!), but there are niches within your niche, very specific areas you can focus on, and certain areas that will yield more new clients than others. Identifying these segments allows you to deliver a marketing message that is more focused, and as a result more effective.

Segmenting puts your efforts to identify your niche and ideal client on steroids.

As you identify the segments within your audience you will see that, even though they may all be in one niche, and even be a single ideal client, different segments have slightly different needs, wants, and levels. For example, you might have people who need a basic level of service and information (beginners), those who have more experience or more complex needs (intermediates), and those who are absolute pros and need extremely high-level information or services.

They’re the same ideal client, but at different stages in their journey, resulting in different requirements. Which means they will respond to different things.

Think of it as having a different playlist for each segment, a mix that plays the specific songs that segment will love and respond to most.

This is your marketing mix.

There are a few different ways of segmenting your audience…

Demographics

One of the simplest ways of segmenting your audience is to do it by demographics. Are there natural splits in age brackets, gender, income levels, marital status, ethnicity and religious beliefs, location, or profession, which affect the type of product/service they need, the method of delivery, or the price?

For example, local clients who live or work in close proximity to you might prefer for you to deliver a course in person, in the form of a workshop or series of talks. People living further away don’t have that option, so an eCourse would be necessary (especially for international clients).

Another way to use demographics is to target age brackets. For example, older generations might have issues with technology and need simple and easily understood (or learned) solutions, while millennials might prefer high-tech, cutting edge options.

A word of caution when using demographics alone to identify your segments – be sure the criteria you use and solutions you identify genuinely match your audience and aren’t stereotypes. For example, making the branding for a female-only segment pink and very girly not only plays into the stereotype that all women like pink, but also presumes things relating to the gender and personalities of your audience that really can’t be determined by biological sex alone.

Psychographics

The way around the limitation of demographics is to use psychographics. These are the personality traits and emotional facets of your audience, determined through their behaviour (such as items purchased or viewed), attitudes, hobbies, lifestyle, preferences in books, magazines, films, music etc. and much more.

Think of demographics as the ‘who’ of your segments, while the psychographics deal with the ‘why’. They tell you why a person would prefer one thing over another, and why they are compelled to buy at all.

While demographics are usually fairly easy to ascertain, psychographics can be a little trickier. You should already have done the research necessary to discover all this info while pinning down your ideal client, but if you haven’t (or you don’t have enough information for this exercise) here are a few ideas for gathering more valuable insights:

  1. Interview them – speak to your target audience directly and get to know them on a one-to-one level.
  2. Surveys – use SurveyMonkey or a similar free site to collect data through a series of tailored questions.
  3. Customer data – check your existing customers and the information you have on them concerning buying habits, browsing history (you may not have this for your website but most email marketing providers track links clicked in email campaigns), feedback, reviews, and correspondence.

Lifestyle

Another useful way to segment your audience is through their hobbies and the various activities they enjoy when they’re not working. This can include anything from diet and exercise preferences to their entertainment choices, where they go on holiday, as well as more literal hobbies like sports, musical instruments etc.

Depending on your audience this may be easily done, or prove quite tricky. For example, fans of well-established sports like football, who follow specific teams are very easily targeted. People who engage in a very widely enjoyed hobby, such as running, are also easily reached. But there are increasingly more obscure hobbies that aren’t easily targeted, either because they have a very small base, or there is a wide variety across how they are enjoyed.

For example, cooking is a common hobby, but there is a huge difference between a baker and someone who enjoys preparing traditional Indian or Chinese food. Same hobby, vastly different interests.

Belief and Values

If your audience is divided by religious or political beliefs, or value systems this can also be a good means of targeting them. Religion is a particularly good example of this, as certain religious beliefs can have a huge effect on a person’s day-to-day routine or behaviours. For example, the need to stick to kosher food or pray at specific times of day.

While this may not seem relevant to you initially if you dig a little deeper you might find it extremely helpful. For example, Mormons are documented to be a group who favour ‘multi-level marketing’. If you happen to have a group of mormons in your audience this is invaluable information to have.

More than that, making the extra effort to tailor your marketing mix to respect the beliefs and value systems of your audience will go a long way towards building the know, like and trust factor, and demonstrating that you genuinely care about them.

This might be as simple as knowing there are certain words, terms and topics that should be avoided in your copy, or it could be as complex as understanding that there’s a huge gap in the market for a new product line or service that specifically caters to religious, political or moral quirks.

The obvious examples are food lines specifically designed to be vegan, gluten-free, kosher etc.

Life Stages

An extension of age brackets, the stage of life your clients find themselves in can radically alter their needs, wants, and requirements, even if they’re buying exactly the same product or service.

Behaviour

Segments don’t only rely on information from potential clients but also existing clients. Really mine the behaviour of the people you’re already worki