You have an idea for a new product and you're trying to understand its potential. You have an existing product and you want to make certain that you're marketing it in the most effective manner possible.
How do you segment your market?
Segment the market by creating classes or groupings of users who share similar characteristics and/or attributes. The characteristics include critical needs, buying patterns, and various attributes that are important to you. The attributes in a consumer market might be age, household income, Internet connectivity, and technical literacy . In a business market they might be revenue, number of employees , geography, and so forth. Name the segment on a piece of paper and then write down its most important descriptive characteristics. Large Post-It notes work well because they can be easily ordered.
Concentrate first on the actual users of your current product. (If the users are not the customerspeople who have purchasing authorityyou can address this at a later date.) In this process you will identify common "points of pain" or problems these users face. The results provide input to your Feature/Benefit Map. More important, though, is that you must solve your customers' problems.
When you begin this process try to make your segments as well-defined as possible. This will help you focus your efforts. As you examine each segment to make certain it is a viable (profitable) target, you may want to combine it with other segments. A fine-grained approach to market segmentation will give you more flexibility in combining segments should this be needed.
Once you have a reasonable number of segments (usually between 6 and 12) order them in terms of which segment you will be addressing first relative to the actual and/or contemplated features of your product. Even before the product is finished some segments will naturally emerge as "easier" to address than others. This may be because of existing relationships (such as channel and/or customer relationships) or because it is simply easier to build a product that pleases a certain segment. As you complete the other maps in this pattern language you can adjust the timeframes associated with the target segments.
Provide the market map to all team members , especially user interface designers and QA. User interface designers need the map to understand the needs of the customer. QA requires it to make certain that they are organizing testing according to key customer priorities.
Your market is segmented at a sufficient level to support strategic planning. As the needs of one segment are addressed, the next segment can be more precisely analyzed in preparation for the product cycle.