Every PR professional has unique strengths and preferences, and the endless quest for positive coverage is pursued using a wide variety of tools and techniques. I mention these things because they speak to two common mistakes.
Firstly, some PR pros make the mistake of being too comfortable doing the same few things. One might get into a comfortable groove of spooling out gimmicky infographics as outreach assets, picking up easy attention from content-hungry bloggers. And that may be an effective approach for some time, true—but good strategies feature variety and flexibility
Secondly, other pros attempt to do absolutely everything: use all the tools, master all the techniques, and cover all the ground. This is utterly impossible. Trying to do it all will only ensure that you use nothing to its fullest potential.
The topic of this post is market segmentation, and it relates to these mistakes because it’s one of the keys to preventing them. Allow me to explain in greater detail what I mean, and generally elaborate on its tremendous value. Let’s get underway.
It makes niche projects markedly more impactful
It’s often the most keenly-targeted projects that make the most difference. Something that really impresses a small number of people can matter far more than something that briefly attracts attention from a much larger number of people—and the process of market segmentation can continue to narrow down a specific audience until you have only the most relevant people.
Depending on the scale of the project as a whole, it could be optimally effective to conduct extensive segmentation early on and use that breakdown to pick out various niches to target in this way. If you can truly win over those small groups, their enthusiasm can spill over to other people in your broader audience (brand loyalty is hard to win, but it matters).
This is essentially how smart influencer marketing works. You pick out someone whose opinion holds a lot of sway, and you get them on your side through free samples (or even direct payment) because you know that it will grow your reputation with their followers.
It highlights what people want (and don’t want)
Even in the glorious digital age, not every element of PR can have its value tracked directly at all times—and when you can track value, you still need to trial something meaningfully before you can yield the required results. Market segmentation involves extensive research of your target audience, and that research will give you a much deeper understanding of what people want: you can then use that understanding to guide your choice of tactics.
For instance, you might be nurturing an idea to create a free software tool as a PR asset, thinking that it’ll pick up a lot of goodwill from prospective customers—but the act of dividing your audience into smaller categories based on shared characteristics and traits might make it fairly clear that those most likely to be swayed by such a tool are those with the least to spend.
This wouldn’t need to derail that software project entirely, but it should certainly influence how much of a priority you make it (both creatively and financially: more on that next). Alternatively, you might be trying to offload niche items in ecommerce, in which case you need to dig deeply into your segmentation to figure out which people will be willing to pay for particular items.
Take the popular area of selling electronics, for instance. How would you position (and price) a refurbished MacBook? (Disregard how that store does it for a moment.) People love Apple products because they’re expensive and shiny, so a second-hand item will be less appealing to them. On the other hand, they also love them because they have exceptional build quality and last a long time, so getting a cheaper Apple product that’s still fairly shiny is a fine prospect.
The trick lies in knowing when you’re targeting the Apple fanatics who care about the quality and when you’re dealing with those who care about the prestige. If you can manage that, you can figure out how to max out your sales.
It inevitably reduces spending inefficiency
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, market segmentation is hugely important for financial management. Smart budgeting lies at the core of good PR: and the more you know about how much money stands to be made through a market section, the more efficiently you can spend. And if you know that you’re not going to win over some people, there’s no sense in trying.
Time is money, so putting a day or two into market segmentation does constitute an investment, but it’s one that’s always going to pay off: not just in the short, but also in the long term. Whenever you adjust or overhaul your budget, you can allocate resources very neatly, acting with great confidence that you’re deploying them to great effect.
Before you start a PR project, take the time to properly segment your intended market: splitting it as much as necessary to yield useful categories. This small upfront commitment will save you a lot of time, effort and money in the long run.