In a perfect world, all customers of B2B businesses would be the same, with the same needs and wants and budget and buying patterns. This would make it incredibly simple for businesses to produce and price their product, and to market effectively. All businesses would turn a profit because they would understand their customers and be able to use one marketing strategy that works for them as a collective group.
Unfortunately it’s not a perfect world and a business needs to understand how its customers are different, with different needs and values, in order to succeed. A business typically cannot offer the same solution to every customer and expect to be successful but must understand the makeup of their customer base, and make adjustments. This is where segmentation comes into play, and if a business understands how this works, they can increase their bottom line accordingly.
What is segmentation?
Segmentation is exactly what it sounds like; it refers to breaking down your customers into segments so you have a better understanding of your most frequent customer and their needs and buying habits. As an example, CVS Pharmacy is one of the largest and most successful in the world. Some years back they looked at their customer base and found that 80% of them were women, and responded accordingly. They expanded their beauty products line to appeal to women. They also made changes to shorten waiting times for prescriptions, and made their aisles wider which was meant to attract busy women with children in tow.
By doing this, CVS responded to this large segment of their customer base. They didn’t make generalised changes to their stores but considered this segment of their customers and made changes based on their needs.
How can you create customer segmentation in B2B marketing?
To create a B2B marketing segmentation strategy, you need to understand your customers and their buying habits. It’s vital to know who is spending the most and on what product, and why. Your sales data will come into play here, and you need to analyse it carefully to better understand these segments of your customers.
Because each B2B supplier and customer is different, it will be up to you to determine how to break down these different segments, but typically patterns will emerge that will be obvious. You might notice that customers in a particular area are spending more, or customers are buying more of a particular product line.
Remember that segmentation is about more than data mining. Simple numbers only tell you a portion of the story, for example, sales may have surged with a certain segment of your customers because of a temporary situation. If you sell building supplies you may have seen residential builders suddenly buy more after a natural disaster. Look past the data itself to determine your best customer and their buying habits overall.
If you respond to this segmentation you’re sure to increase sales and profitability. You can make changes or adjustments to your business or product lines in response, and improve your company’s bottom line.