In order to get the most out of your segmentation you must decide which groups are a good match for your offerings or potential offerings and which are not.

Tailor your offering

If you segment without targeting your marketing will fail because you will not sufficiently tailor your offering to meet the needs of any particular customer group.

The key is to recognize that by creating value for one segment you are almost certainly making your offering less attractive to other segments.

What appeals to independent thinkers will not appeal to conformists, what parents like their teenagers may hate  and what appeals to bleeding edge trendsetters will be anathema to the masses at least for a while.

Pick your target

Pick one target one specific target for each offering. Segmentation is the process of grouping people together based on similarities with a value. Targeting is the next step.

Deciding which of those segments you’re going to serve and which are not going to serve. Some companies divide people up into different groups but then try to pursue all of those groups simultaneously with the same offering.

Our product is for everyone! This is a little like carefully separating after laundry the whites from the colors from the delegates and then throwing them all in the same washing machine.

Decide who is not your customer

Know who your customer is and just as important know who your customer is not. This is a hard thing for many business people to cope with. We think of all those potential customers out there all those people in those non-target segments and we know that those people have money and there not to be spending that money to buy our products and services and that knowledge is painful.

So we are tempted to go after everyone to claim that this product is for everyone which is a mistake. Unless you are a monopoly your customer can’t be everyone you have to pick a target you have to try to meet the specific needs of just that segment. If instead you try to create something that will appeal to everyone it will very likely be that you will end up creating something that appeals to no one.

Targeting as a competitive advantage

But what if you’re not the only manufacturer serving this market? What if there are other manufacturers out there who are willing to provide offerings that are just read or just blue?

Then your compromise solution will end up being a second-best solution for all the customers on the market. Without a specific target in mind your competition will outflank you prepared by providing each customer segment with something much closer to what they want.

So that’s the first rule of targeting pick your target and accept that that means that everyone who is not your target customer is not your customer you shouldn’t be trying to please them.