Geographic segmentation is not just a marketing technique. In fact, it is the actual core of all modern marketing endeavors. It is now used by both multinational companies as well as small ones who want to personalize their marketing strategies according to consumer needs. Here are all the ins and outs of geographic segmentation and how you can start using it yourself.
What Is Geographic Segmentation?
Geographic segmentation has a genuinely simple explanation. Every business out there wants to make a profit. However, it cannot achieve this goal unless it has a solid marketing strategy. Now marketing in itself is a very broad field, which encompasses a lot of segments and concepts. Some of them are studying what preferences and needs the buyer has. Others focus on designing a product according to these specific needs. Even more focus on the promotion and sale of aforementioned products by using specific techniques.
However, when establishing a marketing strategy, retailers and business owners should know that not all their customers have the same needs or preferences. This happens especially if the company has gone international. If that be the case, evidently there will be regional differences, as well as national, cultural, climatic, age, and tradition differences. Looking at things from this light you can understand why treating all your customers, in the same way, is, in fact, silly.
The development and sale of a product cannot happen based on assumptions and predictions. All types of products can fail in the market. Low-quality ones will quickly make a name for themselves as being bad. However, that doesn’t mean that high-quality ones will do any better if you do not find the right market for them.
From Segmentation to Marketing
For example, let’s say that you produce the best ski boots in the world, guaranteed to last the customer 30 winters. If you try to sell them in Hawaii, you will fail from the get go. Now are you starting to understand just how important geographic segmentation really is?
Therefore, what you need now is a market study, especially if you’ve already gone global or you’re planning on doing it at some point. A marketing strategy that you can apply here is ‘target marketing.’ It will recognize the fact that your customers are very different and that they have differentiated needs. The result is that your marketing campaign will treat them individually and increase the possibility of customers buying your product.
Examples of Geographic Segmentation
Here are some examples to help you better appropriate the whole concept of geographic segmentation.
- The climate: Let’s say we have a company with an extensive product portfolio. It sells both gear for the rain, as well as clothes for the sunny weather. In this case, it will have to think very carefully about its marketing strategy, so as to aim the appropriate clothes to the right individuals. Geographic segmentation will work like a charm here, as the criteria for the potential customer division.
- Population density: There are some particular products which companies advertise and sell according to how dense the population is in an area or another. In very larger cities such as New York, for example, companies stock up more. The reason is that there are more people are there will always be more demand. In places like New York, you can also find products that you wouldn’t necessarily find somewhere else, such as ready-to-eat meals. The fact that you can find them there and not in the rural area is due to marketing studies and, of course, geographic segmentation. You can also find a lot more fast food restaurants, based on the same principle.
- Cultural preferences: The best example for this type of geographic segmentation is the titan McDonald’s. They have quickly understood that, if they want to sell as many hamburgers and possible, they need to do something about it. They had to create a mix between good old American food and traditional preferences of different countries and even regions.
Therefore, they serve beer in Germany, as opposed to the United States. Here, there are no McDonald’s restaurants that offer it. They also serve McVeggies in India, McArabias within the Middles East, banana pies down in Brazil, and pork sandwiches in Romania.
Benefits and Disadvantages of the Geographic Segmentation Strategy
First of all, if we were to talk about dividing the market, geographic segmentation is the easiest way to do it. It will work wonderfully, especially if the areas you set for your business are truly different. That should happen when it comes to tastes, culture, climate, and so on.
Then there’s the fact that geographic segmentation is advantageous for both big and small businesses. The large ones will get an idea on how to treat their customers all over the country or even internationally. The small ones can benefit as well in case they want to expand. If so, depending on their product portfolio, they will know in which areas to open up new shops and which to avoid.
One of the disadvantages of geographic segmentation is the fact that, even if it is a fantastic marketing tool, one cannot rely solely on it. Here’s the reason for that idea. You might manage to divide your customers by country, continent, state, region, county, city, and so on. However, that still doesn’t mean all the people comprised in your allotted geographical setting are the same.
For example, let’s say you set up regions such as the West Coast, Europe, or Asia. You cannot possibly assume that all the people in Europe are the same. Therefore, you will still have to break down this segmentation into further, more granulated ones. If you do not or cannot do this, then you can pair up geographic segmentation with other marketing strategies.
Using it in conjunction with others will guarantee a much better result. Some examples of other criteria include gender, age group, religion, economic status, and so on.
Breaking Down Geographic Segmentation into Examples of Products
Here are some more examples, just so that you can better understand how geographic segmentation works.
1. Seasonal Products
If you’re planning on studying a bit this marketing strategy, you will see that seasonal products are the best examples when it comes to geographic segmentation. They, of course, refer to swimsuits, winter coats, scarves, gloves, and other types of beach attire. Most of the time, marketers retail them according to geographic position. They promote winter apparel for a few months that lead up to late fall all over the Midwest as well as in the north of the country.
The reason is that winters are always a lot harsher up there. When it comes to items for the beach, retailers typically promote them all year long. That happens in places such as California as well as the best part of Florida. In the rest of the geographical zones which see all four seasons distinctly, retailers advertise beach wear for only a few months every year.
2. Local Products
These don’t necessarily have to mean items produced in your local area. They can also mean physical stores, restaurants, spas, or beauty salons that only people who live in the area can reach. You might be running the best tanning salon on the West Coast.
However, it is highly unlikely that someone will come all the way from New York to visit it. Therefore, geographic segmentation strikes again. Why is this important to you, as the owner? Because, as mentioned above, you need to devise a marketing strategy. And when you do, you should aim all your advertisements and campaigns to people living in the area.
In the United States, there are a lot of foods which have very specific geographical regions. Grits, for example, are a lot more common in the South and Southeast than anywhere else. You can, of course, find seafood anywhere. However, it is predominant on both coasts, where you can always find a fresh supply. Even McDonald’s, since we’ve already mentioned it, offers seafood meals which are seasonal. They include both lobster and crab, and you can only find them in particular regions, New England being one of them.
To Sum It Up
Geographic segmentation is one of the best marketing strategies out there. However, before you delve into numbers and plans, remember that, through it, you are trying to serve all the customers who love you and more.