How to Evaluate Marketing Segments
Marketing segments are separated by many factors relevant to a given small business or brand. Before marketing campaigns or initiatives are begun, the segments to which they will be marketed must be evaluated accurately to ensure that your efforts are worthwhile. The process of evaluation starts with identification and ends with the practical distribution of your message and your product.
Measure the size of a given marketing segment to determine whether there are enough members to make it a viable and worthwhile target for your small business. If you have identified the perfect group for your product or service, but it totals 100 people in number you should probably move on. Use the latest census data and internal customer surveys to obtain the relevant information, then make a count based on your findings.
Measure the segment's interest in your product and ability to buy based on income level. If your target market has sufficient expendable income to purchase your product but has no interest in doing so, there is no reason to go after it. If the interest is there but the funds are not, the same rule applies. Gauge consumer income by region using an online real estate value estimator or an online salary finder. These services will give you a good idea of who makes what and which areas are home to the consumers you seek. Purchasing habits are harder to discern and will require either direct surveys or actual purchase receipts or credit card transaction records. Both are sold routinely for marketing purposes but the costs can be prohibitive, especially for small businesses.
Determine whether or not the segment you have identified can be reached on a regular basis with success using the often-limited resources of a small business. If you know a big chunk of your target audience lives 25 miles away, determine whether your flyer distributors will be able to get to the area on a regular basis. If you use local newspaper ads, make sure the target region is within the normal distribution area or you marketing will miss its target. The same goes for TV spots on local cable networks, radio spots with limited signal range and a host of other marketing methods that do not have infinite reach. If the segment you have identified seems promising but is located in an area that would make marketing distribution too costly or logistically difficult to be worthwhile, reconsider your approach. Your first step should be to find new ways to reach that audience. If this proves impossible, reconsider the segment.
Determine whether your new marketing segment cannibalizes any of your existing marketing segment targets before moving ahead with any campaigns. Review each segment for overlap and eliminate it wherever you find it. Investing a whole new set of funds and initiatives into an effort that is already being addressed by an existing campaign is counterproductive, inefficient and can result in a confused marketing message. Instead target each group individually so as to avoid redundancy and waste.
Establish a clear line of distribution of product to the new segment. It is often best to arrange for more than one marketing outlet for each segment to maximize exposure and to be certain the message is getting out. There is no use in undertaking a targeted marketing campaign if there is no way to service the market once the orders come in. Be realistic about your reach and capabilities as a small business and make sure the task is possible before going after the segment in question.
Sometimes the best tool for finding a new market segment is your existing client base. Examine who buys your products and why, and then extend that model outward to reach new groups with similar characteristics.
Misjudgments in market size or interest can result in marketing failures that are hard for a small business to rebound from. Take the extra precaution and read the situation fully before making a move.