Defining Geographic Segmentation
As we begin to delve into the realm of segmentation marketing research, perhaps the most basic of all segmentations to explore is geographic. In its simplest form, geographic segmentation is the division of markets based on geography. Geographic segmentation allows companies to target and customize their marketing efforts to reach potential customers based on commonality of geographic factors.
For the purposes of marketing and segmentation, geography can be defined by:
- Location (country, state, city, zip code)
- Urbanicity (urban, suburban, exurban, rural)
- Population (size, density)
- Climate (hot, cold, humid, snowfall, rainfall)
The Benefits You'll See
Geographic segmentation provides the information necessary to clearly delineate customers based on geographic boundaries, group customers by potentially similar needs and wants, and concentrate marketing budget on areas with the most likely return on investment.
Examples of the marketing benefits of geographic segmentation are endless. Companies selling snow blowers need to target regions with a likelihood of substantial snowfall (which apparently is every part of the country except here in Southern California where we’re experiencing 75º sunshine in January and enjoying the marketing of bikinis and surfboards). If you’re marketing a wifi-ready portable laptop station for commuters using public transportation you’re looking at an entirely different urbanicity than if you promote farm implements.
The Limitiations You Should Know
There are, of course, certain limitations to geographic segmentation. Geography does not necessarily determine buying habits or behavior, as people residing in the same geography don’t automatically need or want the same products or services. Further, shifts in geographic boundaries, climatology, and topography affect needs in these areas.
Combining Segmentation Types
Rarely does geographic segmentation alone suffice for a business’s segmentation requirements. Rather, geographic segmentation exists as a needed part of your full customer profile. Often coupled with demographics and/or firmographics, and then refined with needs-based, attitudinal and behavioral segmentation, geographic segmentation provides the platform on which other segmentations are built. As we continue to explore additional types of segmentation, we will take a closer look at each of these.
Performing Actionable Segmentation
Actionable Research regularly performs geographic segmentation research in conjunction with both consumer and business facing research studies. Be sure to subscribe to our blog for notifications of updates to our series, and keep an eye out for our upcoming eBook on the 5 types of segmentation you need!