The Marketer’s Guide to Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning

I once heard a new business owner define their target market as … waiting for … “everyone”.

* wince *

While it is nice to think that everyone is interested in buying your product or service, it is not advisable to define your target market as such.

Not only does that definition (or lack thereof) create a lot more work for you. This also adversely affects your actual target market. If you expand your scope, you will not be able to educate and educate your audience about how your product or service can improve their life.

This is where segmentation, targeting and positioning come into play. We designed this guide to help you understand how and why to invest time to better understand your audience and target your marketing. Let’s dive in.

Segmentation, targeting and positioning

Segmentation, targeting, and positioning (often referred to as segmentation targeting positioning or STP) is a consumer-centric approach to marketing communications. The STP model helps send more relevant, personalized messages to audiences.

At its core, STP helps you better align your marketing messages and better serve your customer base.

The model can also uncover niche markets, uncover new customer or market opportunities, and ultimately make your marketing efforts more efficient and cost-effective.

With STP, you can target a large, anonymous audience and define how your different products (or different components of the same product) relate to specific consumer segments within that larger audience. This way, you can understand how to position your products and messages to reach the target audience’s attention of each segment.

Let’s unpack each part of the segmentation targeting positioning model.

1. Segmentation

Segmentation refers to the process of dividing your audience into smaller groups based on certain characteristics. This process allows you to group your individual audience members into similar groups to better communicate your products, features, and benefits that may be most relevant to them.

You can segment your target audience based on one or more of these criteria:

  • Demographicsthat usually answer the question of who your buyer is (e.g. age, gender, education, location, and occupation)
  • Psychographythat answer the question of why your buyer is buying (e.g. priorities, personality traits, and beliefs and values)
  • lifestyle Trainssuch as hobbies, entertainment preferences, and activities outside of work
  • behaviorsuch as brand loyalty, channel preferences, and other shopping habits

Segmentation may seem a little familiar to another process that we discuss a lot here on the HubSpot blog – creating buyer personalities. The two are very similar in that they help you identify the most important factors in your target audience.

If Buyer Personalities help you create a handful of customer profiles that represent your broader audience, segmenting can help you break your audience down into myriad segments that you can target individually.

For example, let’s say Paws & Tails is a Chicago pet care company that provides pet care, dog walks, and boarding. Given the large number of pet owners in the city, they need to divide their audiences into smaller groups to better understand how to position their services.

Based on their research and the current customer base, they divided their target audience into three main segments:

  1. Segment A. consists of high-income pet owners who work frequently and have to walk the dog and visit pets during the day
  2. Segment B. consists of middle class individuals and families who travel and require overnight or pet care services
  3. Segment C. consists of senior pet owners and retirees who need help taking care of their pets

2. Targeting

With your audience segments in hand, it’s time to move on to the targeting phase. But first, you need to decide which segments you want your marketing to target. To decipher this, ask yourself a few questions about each segment:

  • Does this segment have enough potential customers to warrant targeting? Would there be enough profit if the segment converted?
  • Is it measurably different from the other segments?
  • Is it available to all members of marketing and sales?
  • Is your company equipped for the segment and in a position to serve it? Are there any physical, legal, social or technological barriers that could prevent this from happening?

Choosing which segments to target is a strategic decision. Fortunately, certain strategic planning models like PESTLE analysis can help you better understand the profitability of each segment.

It takes a lot of work to successfully address a segment of your target audience. Regardless of whether you have identified two or ten segments, you do not need to address more than one segment at a time. Targeting can help you position your marketing much better for each segment.

Following our earlier example, Paws & Tails is conducting research to better understand the Chicago audience. Paws & Tails notes that segment A is 60% of its market size, segment B is 30% and segment C is 10%. Additionally, segment A has a higher median income and is willing to pay more for pets sitting and walking. Because of this, they focus on segment A.

3. Positioning

At this point, you should understand the demographic, psychographic, motivational, and painful points of the segments you are targeting. This can be a starting point for positioning your product or service.

First, take a step back and examine your product or service from the perspective of your selected segment. If you were in their shoes, why would you choose your product over a competitor? Which features or benefits are most relevant to you based on the motivations and weaknesses you identified?

This information is important in defining your brand positioning and understanding how it will hold up against your competitors. One way to understand where you stand is to create a positioning map, which is the visual representation of specific brands versus axes, with each axis representing an attribute known to determine brand selection.

The segment you want to target should determine what two attributes you will draw on your positioning map. For example, let’s say Paws & Tails decides that Segment A selects pet care brands based on two attributes: service level and reliability. This is what a brand positioning map (with fictitious brands) could look like.

Example of a brand positioning map

When Paws & Tails understands 1) what the target segment considers most important to brand selection and 2) where its competitors are (and failing), Paws & Tails can identify an open market opportunity and position its marketing to target the Requirements and goals of best suits its audience.

What is segmentation, targeting and positioning in marketing?

The STP model is an invaluable addition to any marketing strategy, regardless of your industry, product or target group. It prioritizes efficient and effective marketing, ensuring that you deliver only the most relevant, targeted news across the board.

It also plays an important role in developing other strategies, e.g. B. Your buyer personality, the stages of the customer lifecycle and the core brand offering.

Segmentation target and positioning


When you lead with a consumer-centric approach like STP, you can be sure that every inch of your marketing is relevant to your audience. This increases the likelihood that they will convert, buy, and become lifelong customers.

Examples of good market segmentation and positioning

Brands are constantly segmenting, targeting and positioning their target groups and their marketing, often without us (consumers) even noticing. Have you ever seen a brand or product and thought, “Huh, this is perfect for me” or “Wow, the right place at the right time”? Yes, you were subject to the STP model.

Let’s look at some examples of great segmentation and positioning in marketing.

1. Panera bread

With tons of quick, casual eateries on the map, deciding where to eat when you’re in the mood for a quick meal can be difficult. However, for some reason, Panera Bread always springs to mind (at least to me).

Panera has successfully cornered the “health conscious” and “climate conscious” segment of the fast casual dining industry. Is Panera’s food that different from other fast-casual options? Incomplete.

By branding itself with the perspective that “we believe that good food, food that makes you feel good, can bring out the best in all of us,” Panera remains a place where quality food can be obtained . fast.

2. AllBirds

There are so many brands of shoes out there. However, AllBirds wasn’t deterred from venturing into a new niche in a busy space full of comfortable, active shoe options.

How has AllBirds positioned itself to differentiate itself from the competition? By increasing environmental awareness and placing that front and center in its marketing. According to the AllBirds website, “The brand uses environmentally friendly natural materials like merino wool and eucalyptus trees because they are our best chance for a sustainable future.”

At first glance, AllBirds shoes don’t look terribly different from other running or hiking shoes. However, the target group segment that cares about sustainability and environmentally conscious products knows the difference.

3. Billie

Organizations can no longer simply segment their audiences into “men” and “women” – people vary too widely within each broad gender group, and Billie razor brand has taken note of this.

To eradicate the “pink tax”, Billie markets low-cost razors and related products. In addition, they normalize body hair and other forgotten or embarrassed body parts of women.

This positioning allows Billie to differentiate its products from the competition and create a strong, positive community around their brand.

4. hinge

The world of online dating is a busy, strange place. From Tinder to, there seems to be one place everyone can hang out. Hinge only hit the scene a few years ago, but has made it to the top of the list of the most popular and reliable dating apps.

Time and time again, I’ve heard that hinge is a favorite because it works – which means it helps people meet people and build real relationships. You wouldn’t believe a dating app would position itself as unnecessary, but that’s exactly what Hinge did. The guiding principle is: “We have created an app that should be deleted.”

By putting the needs and wants of its audience first, Hinge has created a more trustworthy, in-demand online dating experience and differentiated itself from its competitors.

The segmentation targeting positioning model is designed to help you better target your marketing messages and better serve your customer base. It’s a win-win situation for you and your customers!

Product Marketing Kit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *