Archives for posts with tag: Segment

2 x 2 segmentation matrix

I ran a series of marketing workshops a few months ago, covering a pretty wide range of topics in a relatively short space of time. It was quick-fire, perhaps 30 minutes on a topic and then an exercise to put into practice what we’d discussed.

The one area that people struggled with the most was segmentation, and the task of segmenting your market. It’s easy to see why. It’s a really important part of the marketing process. How you segment your market determines who you will sell to, and also who you will compete against. Segmentation can be basic, such as by country, region, or company size, or it can be more sophisticated, covering groupings around values, or buying criteria.

Generally, you see people pick two axes against which to judge their segments or groups. For example, one axis might be how easy it is for us to sell to each group, and the other might be how attractive is this group to us. Then you plot each group against these two axes – low, medium or high – to decide which quadrant or group is worth targeting.

The trouble is, how you group your companies, and which axes you choose to judge them against – and there could be many possible axes – is critical. Bad decisions here can lead to you targeting bad companies, bad for you that is. Also, you could end up competing against the wrong competitors. As this post reminds us, if you know your market, define it, and segment it better than anyone else, you may find yourself to be the only competitor.


In our fourth B2B marketing step we profiled our addressable market. Now we have a detailed picture of the market we’re trying to market and sell to. This is good. If we don’t understand the market and where it needs our help, then we can’t help.

The fifth B2B marketing step is segmenting our addressable market. That’s right, we’re going to further divide our market. Imagine that your market is a pizza and you’re going to slice it up. These slices are market segments, except that the process of deciding how you slice up your market is not that straightforward. It’s also crucial.

Many companies segment their market by the obvious factors like geography, size and so on. They’re perfectly valid, but they may not be the best ways to divide the market into alike groups. You could segment by attitude to risk, openness to your type of solution, cultural bias, stage of maturity, type of business problems, type of buying process for your solution; the list is as long as you want to make it. The trick is to to segment according to what is most compelling for your offering and by extension your marketing.

Imagine that you can only segment your market in 2 ways, and each way is an axis on a graph. The x axis is your first segmentation ‘knife’ , the y axis your second. Then you have to plot the companies or company types on the graph according to where they fall on each axis. Then you have to decide which cluster of companies or company types you are going to target. When you see your market visually laid out like this, according to the segmentation axes you have picked, then you understand how important it is that you segment in the right way.

Get your segmentation right and your next two steps are easier and more accurate.

Is it possible to be both an early adopter and a laggard?  Of course.  Just because you might be more comfortable getting later to some ideas and technologies as an individual, doesn’t mean you can’t play the role of prime-mover in others.

It’s just a question or perspective, mind-set and attitude, which can change when you need it to.

It also makes it harder for us marketers to figure you out, because we have to do it properly.  It clearly raises the stakes for the hardest part of the segment-target-position triumvirate, namely the segmentation.