Market segmentation is about identifying target markets by profiling groups of people within the general market that share certain characteristics. Target markets are market segments likely to buy what you sell. Behaviorism is one of four common types of market segmentation. In behaviorism, you profile market segments based on product usage behavior and attitudes. The behaviorism premise is that understanding product relationships facilitates developing marketing strategies to keep current and capture new users.

Types of Segmentation

Marketers commonly employ four types of segmentation methodologies when identifying target markets: geographic, demographic, psychographic and behaviorial. Geographic and demographic segmentations profile market segments by geographic location and other readily observable traits such as age, gender, household income, education attainment and ethnicity. Psychographic segmentation involves profiling segments by personality, values, attitudes, interests, opinions and lifestyles. These methodologies describe target markets according to where they live, who they are and why they behave as they do.

Behavior segmentation describes consumers based on their usage behavior with products. Thus, behaviorism is product- or brand-usage focused in terms of attitudes toward brands, frequency of use, brand loyalty, benefits sought, purchase occasions and readiness to purchase.

Behaviorism Advantages

Behaviorism provides valuable insights into understanding why consumers buy certain products that you don't get with other segmentation methodologies. For instance, behaviorism could reveal that a substantial number of users purchase your product at a certain time of the year or for special occasions. You could use this knowledge as a guide for scheduling promotions. You may discover that people feel happy and content after using your product. This would be powerful validation for the emotional benefits of happiness and contentment in your advertising copy strategy. Moreover, there are a variety of affordable ways for small-business operators to obtain behavior information such as focus groups, email and telephone and in-person surveys.

Merging Methodologies

The goal of using the four methodologies to segment markets is to arrive at a composite description of target markets. For instance, the psychographic profiles of market segments in terms of attitudes, interests, lifestyles and values have a significant influence on the benefits that users look for in and readiness to purchase certain products. Hence, as you identify behavioral segments, you would attempt to match those segments with the appropriate geographic, demographic and psychographic markers that are usually associated with specific user behaviors.

Practical Applications

Behavioral profiling provides a distinct advantage in using consumer behavior to identify target markets. For instance, instead of developing products based on intuition and emotions, you can use a behavioral benefit analysis to create products that deliver certain benefits to unfulfilled target markets and create advertising content that speaks to those benefits. Frequently, however, quantifying the size of market segments by user benefits is a challenge. In the absence of hard data, prudence demands being conservative when using soft data such as surveying distribution channel partners or package supply vendors. Depending on your aversion to risk, you might consider hiring a market researcher skilled in market quantification and segmentation.