Segment marketing, sometimes called “target marketing” or even “niche marketing,” is the most powerful, affordable and effective marketing tool we have to grow our business. Why do we need to segment our marketplace? Because clients respond differently to our work. Segment marketing gives us the opportunity to target groups of clients by their needs, regions or attitudes.
A one-size-fits-all marketing approach just doesn’t cut it in these economic times. Unless you see your work servicing one very specific type of client, mass marketing should not be your marketing strategy.
So, let’s talk marketing strategies. You might describe your work as “clean tabletop still life,” but you know as well as I do there’s a wide spectrum of clients that could find a use for this kind of work. Your advertising pharmaceutical group might need something brightly lit and graphic. Your advertising food and beverage group might be attracted to those more conceptual and abstract takes. And you might find that your editorial group favors something slightly more stylized.
As you market your business, you need to be consistent about sending your clients this message: “I understand and can satisfy your needs.”
Who are your best clients? I would bet you can divide your clients into at least three distinct groups. This is how we segment our market. Once the likeminded clients are in their clusters, we can start thinking about how we can differentiate from our competitors and improve our product according to our clients’ needs.
Segment marketing also allows us to measure the success of our marketing efforts. The fewer the variables, the easier it is to see how effective your positioning is within a targeted group.
Once you have a base group of client segments, you can look for new segments that will help drive business growth. Sometimes a new segment can form from a popular new lifestyle or trend; sometimes a new segment can come out of a new direction in business.
For example, as the Generation Y demographic (20s to early 30s) grows in purchasing power, we see clients directing their efforts toward this customer base. Can you create a client segment that addresses the needs of clients targeting Gen Y?
Another new segment worth looking at closely is corporate online portraiture. Look around you: Whether they’re a cool design firm, a traditional real estate agency or a pediatric practice, they need a professional portrait for their website, blog and LinkedIn profile.
Ultimately, your marketing segments need to be relevant to your creative vision. Your segmentation strategy can really make your marketing more efficient and greatly improve customer retention. Bottom line: Getting the right message about your work to the right clients will make your business more profitable.
Karen D’Silva is one of today’s most influential creatives in the commercial photography community. She founded Karen DSilva Creative Services, a trend, marketing and research company designed to help photographers understand the marketplace, find where their images fit, and profile and market to clients who share the same photographic vision. Karen DSilva Creative Services
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