Many people are aware of Pavlov and Classical Conditioning. However, few are aware of B.F. Skinner - the "father" of behaviorism and operant conditioning. Whereas Pavlov proved that action could be taken thanks to an associated stimulus, Skinner was more interested in proving that stimulus could reinforce behavior. He did this by building a chamber that would release food every time a button was pressed (or a lever pulled).
On second thought, maybe some people shouldn't be segmented by behavior.
People are the same way. I'm sure you know someone who gets irrationally angry when their buttons are pressed. Others tend to ignore the problem. And yet some remain calm and mellow. Finally, there are my favorite who just slowly plot out revenge.
Different behaviors and reactions are a part of human nature. As a small business owner, you can create different pieces of marketing material that speak to these different behaviors - and it all starts with segmenting the market by particular groupings:
- Usage – How often customers use your product can greatly influence how you market to them. Your heavy users probably don’t need a lot of marketing, while your light users could likely use some gentle nudges. You can also use this information to create “in-groups” of people – think Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks.
- Loyalty – Similar to usage, loyalty ranges from light to heavy. Typically, marketers break this area down to three categories: hardcore, soft core, and switchers. Decide whether you want to throw your budget into retention (hardcore) or into acquisition (switchers) in order to grow your business. Note that each will have different motivations – usually with hardcores caring more about quality while switchers care more about price.
- Occasion – What triggers a purchase among your customers and prospects? Is it seasonal? Time based? Event based? Inventory based? Completely spontaneous? Not only can you use this in current advertising, but new advertising can try to create new situations for purchase. For example, today a lot of fast food and fast casual restaurants are getting into the catering business. This expands their occasions to include larger events that they may not have been able to cater to before (pun intended).
- Buying Cycle Stage – There is a big difference between targeting someone who is a loyal customer and someone who is barely aware you exist. You can create buying cycle groupings in many different ways. Depending on the campaign, I like to group them into Customers, Inquirers, and Prospects. If I go more detailed, I break it down by Unaware, Aware, Knowledgeable, Interested, First Time Buyer, Repeat Buyer, Lifetime Buyer. Depending on your needs, you could reduce (or expand) on the number of groupings.
- Benefits Sought – Benefit marketing is probably already at the core of your advertising. Telling people how you can make their lives better should be at the core. However, customers are going to use your products for different reasons. If you are a personal trainer, some will want to lose weight, some will want to gain muscle, some will be training for a race, and some will just want to be healthier overall. Promoting one or two can help you build your brand identity, while also attracting a certain segment of the market. Not to mention, this makes actually creating a campaign that much easier.