STP: Segment, target and position
If you’re speaking to everyone, you may as well be speaking to no one. This has never been truer than it is now in the day and age of digital marketing. The importance of segmenting, targeting and positioning (STP) is to have your message heard by those whom you want to hear it.
Why would you want to segment the market, target your audience and position your business?
Personalized Message. Think about it this way. When you speak to someone, you speak in a certain way depending on who you’re communicating with. For example, you wouldn’t speak the same way to your grandmother as you would to your best friend – at least I wouldn’t.
Source of Differentiation. This is just as important in a marketing context when gearing your message to a specific audience. If you want your message to be received and internalized, it must resonate with the reader on some level. Unfortunately, when a message is generic you will blend into the crowd and masses of other mediocre online content. That being said, this is a way to stand out from competition and potentially develop a source of competitive advantage through differentiation of your business.
Eye Opening. Another huge benefit of going through this exercise is that it may help you see opportunities in the markets and get a sense of where other big players are (again, a way to differentiate your business). This process is vital for your understanding when creating messages to be communicated by your business.
What does it mean to segment the market and how do you do it?
To segment the market means to break it into groups of consumers that share some similarity based on a dimension of your choice. Really, it can be multiple dimensions which will make your segmenting much more specific and will allow for an even more personalized message. Although, you must remember that the more specific you become the smaller the segments become. Here’s some options for segmenting your audience:
Stage of Life
Benefit of Use (from your product or service)
Beliefs & Values
Keep in mind that when you segment your audience, there should be enough difference in the criteria that there isn’t overlap of customers between groups.
What does it mean to target your audience and how do you do it?
To target your audience means to select from your previously segmented markets. This is who you are planning to serve and target with your value offering. Ideally, you will want to keep this type of individual in mind when writing your marketing message geared toward a specific user. So how do you decide which segment to pursue? Consider aspects such as:
Size of segment
Potential sales (i.e. frequency, volume, average order, etc.)
Which desired benefits align most with your brand strengths
Accessibility (can you easily reach this audience?)
Number of competitors targeting this segment
Of course, you will want to choose the segment that is most attractive based on the criteria above and any others you have included.
What does it mean to position your business and how do you do it?
To position your business is to differentiate it from competing brands based on some attribute or benefit offered by your product or service. You can start by thinking about the key brands in your industry and what sets those apart from others. This may give you an idea as to what consumers value in your industry segment and help you select your point of differentiation. Consider the overall competitive landscape and consider how they’re differentiating themselves. Now it’s your turn to decide where you would like to compete, who you’ll be competing against and how to stand out.
It’s important to keep in mind that positioning is process you can plan to implement, however you cannot guarantee the outcome. Essentially, your brand will be positioned from the perspectives of consumers and how they associate with you. It refers to how customers perceive your value offering in the marketplace. This is where you must get creative and portray a consistent message to your audience that clearly communicates the aspects you’ve decided to compete upon.
So when should I be using this STP process?
You can do this on an overarching scale for entire marketing efforts, as well as within each marketing campaign or promotional message. Specifically, you may be targeting an overall segment but have aspects of your campaign geared toward sub-segments within the larger audience. For example, you may have a certain group of users based on demographics, but they differ in the sense that some visit your blog versus others who visit your Facebook page. By using this process, you can cater each message according to the type of user who is most likely to view it.
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