Market segmentation is a common marketing process that involves dividing a large audience into clearly distinct segments with consumers that have similar needs or wants, according to the online Business Dictionary. By identifying targeted marketing segments, companies can use the marketing mix to discretely approach the most profitable markets with messages specifically designed for them. This makes marketing investments more efficient. Specific criteria are useful in targeting the best market segments.
Before your company can target specific market segments, you must identify the distinguishing characteristics that make the consumers in the segment similar, according to the Net MBA website. These unique attributes for given segments also require measurability. You cannot effectively determine how much to invest in marketing and how to best market to a segment without a clear understanding of what makes the customers unique.
Identifying appropriate marketing segments is a good start, but you need to have access to the market for communication. "The segment has to be accessible and servable for the organization. That means, for instance, that there are target group-specific advertising media, such as magazines or websites the target audience likes to use," according to The Manager website. Inability to access a particular segment renders that segment useless for marketing purposes. You need to reach the market with your communication to have a positive effect.
Net MBA calls it "unique needs" and The Manager calls it "distinguishable." This is the criterion in market segmentation that indicates the need for each segment to have distinctly different attributes. Each market segment must respond to different marketing mixes to justify their seperation as segments. Declaring two market segments that have huge overlap in attributes is not sensible since the idea is to develop specific messages for the different markets. If your segments are too similar, you should consider combining them into one.
Market segments that are constantly in flux or unstable can lead to significant investments in new marketing campaigns and messages. Companies must establish themselves for long-term success by identifying segments likely to exist for some time. When a market segment ceases to exist or is reduced in value to your company, you have to invest in new market development and new marketing messages. Routinely doing this is very expensive.