How Marketing Segmentation Benefits Professional Services Firms

Posted by Joelle Colosi on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 @ 05:00 PM

As a business, you can’t be all things to all people. With market segmentation, you can divide and conquer (so to speak) to own your specific share of the market. To do this, you divide the market into subsets of people with certain characteristics, interests and/or needs in common. From these groups of people, you can complete your segmentation by selecting your target market segment. If you’re thinking about starting a business, segmentation can help you determine how big your target market is and whether your services will be desirable.

Segmentation will allow you to:

  • Begin to plan how you can best reach your niche and by which channels.
  • Create content in your audiences’ “language.”
  • Ensure that your services are structured, and even named, to appeal to the target market and solve their specific problems.
  • Begin to differentiate your business and services from others in your sector. If you're successful, your target market should begin to see you as “their” designer or architect or builder or professional services solution. 

As a result, you will find clients are often willing to pay a premium price for services that meet their needs more closely.

market segmentation, professional services marketing

You may ask, “How do I start segmenting?  There are many ways to approach segmentation.  This post focuses on segmentation aimed to support inbound marketing for professional services firms. Here are four main types of segmentation:

  • Client Persona Segmentation:  As defined by Wikipedia – client personas “…are fictional characters created to represent the different client types within a targeted demographic, attitude and/or behavior set that might engage with a site, brand or service in a similar way.”  Client persona groups consist of the different clients you engage with throughout the business development lifecycle. Their characteristics are typically based upon demographic (gender, age, income, etc.) and geography (region, climate, etc.); these areas are the most common and easiest to define. A client persona profile can be expanded to include industry, company size, company role and other pertinent details. It is up to you and your team to come up with what attributes are most relevant.
  • Behavioral Segmentation: This is based upon audience motivations or tendencies like social class or personality and details like level of brand loyalty, how often or how fast people use a service and readiness to adopt services. These factors are more challenging to measure, but can be stronger/more reliable motivators of purchases.
  • Benefit segmentation: This is segmentation based on a specific benefit or need that a group of people may want, have or be seeking to fill. It’s difficult, however, to identify a single benefit that most influences people to adopt services.
  • Business Development Lifecycle Segmentation:  The business development lifecycle is a series of well-define procurement phases that help to nurture engagement of each lead or opportunity.  A well-defined lifecycle is essential for knowing how to converse with different client personas at each phase. 

Once you set up your client personas and identify their business development lifecycle stage, start putting your segmentation plan to use.  There are a lot of different ways to engage your target audience including:

  • Develop workflows to court leads from each client persona.
  • Generate blog content that speaks to different client personas and business development lifecycle stages.
  • Find and monitor engagement among contacts in client personas on social media.

Your client personas will help to set a greater inbound marketing strategy. Once your personas are set up, you’ll be able to see the makeup of your entire contact database at very a high level.  Evaluate which persona buckets your leads fall into? Which business development lifecycle stages? This is an easy way to manage and prioritize your marketing efforts.

For more information, contact Colosi Marketing.

Image via Shutterstock.com

Topics: Marketing Strategy, market segmentation, business development

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