Customer segmentation, can it hurt to be too narrow minded?

September 22, 2006

Working closely with marketeers in my day job I often wonder about customer segmentation and how it can be used to help increase awareness and loyalty (and there by increase sales). I mean it obviously works, it’s common sense that if you appeal to one group of consumers then marketing to more of those types should convert well. But can you focus too much on your loyal segments and risk missing out on others or potentially even alienating some if you’re communications are not speaking to them at all?

As an example, imagine your focusing on families with kids and mature couples but your offering has real potential to appeal to young professional singles, do you aim all your marketing at your loyal segments or do you ensure you speak to the other potential customers as well?

I guess it depends on your priorities, I know of companies who seem to ignore all other avenues when they have a product range that could appeal to a much broader range of customer but they seem to think they can keep growing their market share without reaching outside their comfort zone.

But the purpose of a marketing team is to acquire customers, enforce your brand and get the communications out there. If you only focus on certain segments (when your product could appeal to all) you really aren’t performing the function you were designed for!

This seems especially prevelant in companies who have a large offline business and are trying to move more and more online. They treat marketing to online just as they would to their offline channels and that just doesn’t cut the mustard. As all us online folk know, the web customer profile is generally much broader than your online profile so you need to communicate appropriately. Remember that there is a huge amount of pretty well paid young (late 20’s to 40) singles visiting your website and receiving your email newsletters who may not want to know what is great for families or mature couples, so don’t forget to appeal to them too (if you want to grow your business that is).

If you don’t broaden your marketing reach and get the messages right you may find you never hit your sales targets!

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2 Responses to “Customer segmentation, can it hurt to be too narrow minded?”

  1. Mick Gordon Says:

    It would seem logical to me that once the people are your loyal customers why keep throwing money into interesting them further. Spend your efforts on those who need still to be attracted.

  2. Steve E Says:

    Thats exactly my point Mick. Sadly I do know of companies who seems so confident in their ability to appeal to just their ‘customer profile’ that they feel they can grow just by marketing to more of those types of customer. Narrow minded!

    Nice site by the way!


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