Segmentation is not a small, one off job. They are big, expensive programmes of work which can massively change the landscape of businesses who utilise them. It can take months and even years for the real impact of a poorly aligned programme to surface and so getting it right first time is essential. Here are the key principles in what makes an effective segmentation...

Measurable & Applicable

One the most basic requirements from segmentation is that it should be quantifiable and reliable. While data will always change, without even basic measurement and tracking in place it will be near impossible to understand growth and ascertain as to whether your chosen segment and proposition are valuable.

Not only does your segmentation need to be measurable, but it should also be something which can be applied in other areas, such as other areas of research and within your CRM. With rules-based algorithms and automation it is now much easier to integrate segments into all areas of your business.

Bonamy Finch The quickest way to see a return on investment from segmentation is applying it to your existing database

Accessible & Responsive

Organisations often start segmenting in order to find white space, but while identifying unserved customers is one thing, you also must ensure that they will be responsive to your offering. Target segments need to be reactive to marketing activity or there needs to be evidence that they will show interest in new products and services. It is also critical that they can be served at all. Organisations often fall into the pitfall of chasing after ‘desirable customers’ that are out of reach. This could geographically, physically, psychologically or otherwise. If you cannot ultimately serve that customer then developing an acquisition strategy will be completely wasted. As a general rule of thumb “better” customers tend to take longer to find and convert and therefore have a higher associated cost, if there is not sufficient budget/ people resources allocated to this, then why chase them at all?

Bonamy Finch they could potentially waste a lot of time, money and energy chasing clients they can't realistically serve.


There has been a clear trend in the last decade towards serving niche markets in order to tighten focus and activity. While segmentation is all about grouping consumers, a segment needs to be large enough to warrant separate business action. Segmentation is about focusing attention, but it is not about excluding others from using your product or service. Standing for something doesn’t mean narrowing your appeal, and targeting a segment should lead to a refined message with the same underlying values.

Bonamy Finch The quickest way to see a return on investment from segmentation is applying it to your existing database


Last but in no way least, segmentation needs to have a practical value beyond blue-sky planning. Segmentation is about much more than list-making, it is about providing actionable insight that can drive activity more likely to reach, win and retain new customers. This insight needs to be utilised in a practical manner or it will quickly become abandoned. As such segments need to tie into existing systems, workflows and processes.

Bonamy Finch Standing for something doesn’t mean narrowing your appeal.

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