Thursday, February 16th, 2023

Do you segment your customers?

Do you segment your customers? Here are some reasons I have found that make segmenting customers useful and worthwhile.

About thirty years ago I worked for one of the well-known collector car auction houses based in London. In our business we had two customer segments: people who were selling their car; and people who were buying a car. While some customers fell into both segments, their needs were very different depending on the segment they were in at any given time:
Sellers were looking for:
  • Maximum price for their car (and a fair commission)
  • Prompt payment upon sales
  • Minimum hassle with listing, transportation, title transfer, etc
Buyers on the other hand were looking for:
  • Authentication and provenance of the vehicle
  • Trust in how the vehicle was represented
  • A memorable event that would become part of their buying experience
Because buyers felt they had control over how much they would spend, consigning a car to an auction was a commodity service for sellers but an event for buyers.
Since then I have found that many businesses I have worked with over the years have multiple segments, even if they are not immediately obvious.
For instance, while flight schools like yours may not have such clear-cut customer segments as an auction house, it doesn’t mean you can’t identify segments among your clients. An obvious segmentation is among customers who are looking to fly professionally and those who are looking to fly for personal reasons. Their motivations and goals are very different even if the initial training they experience is similar.
Other obvious segments that apply to businesses I have been involved in over the last thirty years include:
  • Age
  • Whether customers have family
  • Are working or retired
  • Male or female
Similarly, other segments among student pilots could include:
  • Whether they live close to the airport or commute a long distance
  • use aviation to further their business
  • travel to visit distant family members
  • are learning to fly to fulfill a lifelong dream or start a new challenge
  • Come from an aviation family or are new to flying
The sky is the limit.
So what is necessary? Of all the things you could spend time doing, is this important? How many segments are right for you?
Well, businesses succeed when they help customers solve problems. If you can identify real problems shared by a significant percentage of your customers and not others, create a segment. Speak directly to that problem and give a real solution.
When you do that, you can create solutions and tailor what you offer to help them achieve goals. More importantly you are aligning their expectations with your processes and creating a satisfied long-term client.