B2B marketing: segmentation of UK businesses

14 May 2020

Segmentation of UK businesses

Segmentation of UK businesses

A quick browse of the internet reveals countless articles and pages on ‘Marketing Segmentation’. Very few seem to focus on B2B marketing segmentation of UK businesses.

That’s what we are most concerned with here at DataEco – segmenting companies. Not consumers. How can we dig deeper into groups of companies that share similar traits, in order to market to them more effectively.

STP in marketing stands for Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning. … The goal is to deliver relevant messages to commercially attractive audience segments. STP focuses on identifying the most valuable segments and then creating the right marketing mix and product positioning strategy (think 4Ps) for those segments. (Smart Insights)

No doubt that the B2B world has lots to learn from the consumer industries marketing. Accurate and reliable Segmentation is just as critical, if not more, for companies targeting other businesses. The principles are the same but they need to be applied slightly differently.

Market segmentation consists of breaking down a target market into ‘chunks’ that share similar needs/wants. That allows marketing strategies to target them individually, in more meaningful and relevant ways; It allows products and services to be shaped to match different needs; and so on….

In summary, Segmentation involves getting under the skin of your audiences, splitting them into groups, then building a business strategy around their specific characteristics.

Generally four different types of market segmentation are used, often a combination of these, to create meaningful segments:

  • Demographic segmentation
  • Geographic segmentation
  • Psychographic segmentation
  • Behavioural segmentation

Consumer businesses then tend to turn their segments into Personas – pen portraits of the ‘typical’ consumer that brings each segment to life. Personas represent common mindsets and are very useful to create emotional connections with our target segments – that’s what brands are built on.

How do these principles apply to companies, rather than consumers?

Demographic segmentation of UK Businesses

Segment and target UK businesses using a combination of criteria:

  • Company age – e.g. start-ups vs established corporations
  • “life-stage” – e.g. fast growing businesses vs shrinking ones
  • industry/sector – pick an industry, or sector, or narrow down to more granular sets, like “secretarial services” (DataEco’s Company Search view allows you to do just that)
  • ‘financial health’ status (e.g. high equity, average equity, high cash value, turnover value)
  • Size (no of employees, turnover, reach)

Geographic segmentation of UK Businesses

This one is straightforward and similar to how you would segment consumer markets. Think country, region, area, even postcode. Make comparisons and analyse trends per sector, based on location. Add economic indicators to create new perspectives and reveal new opportunities.

DataEco’s platform adds to that dimensions such as crime, employment and other dimensions – by better understanding the local setting of businesses, new segments might emerge. See where DatEco sources data from and how it curates it to deliver new insights.

Psychographic segmentation of UK Businesses

Like people, companies have personalities (often expressed in culture and values). This is difficult to measure per se, but we can look at segmenting industries by their profile reputation – the perceptions and general sentiment around their activities.

(Imagine a PR company wanting to find businesses that may need particular help with reputation management, such as tobacco or betting-related companies.)

You could imagine segmenting and targeting companies by:

  • Reputation levels
  • News-worthiness (is there a particular sector surfacing in the news?)
  • Employee churn rates (say a recruitment agent, for example, might want to tailor their services and messages to business with different churn rates)
  • Sentiment score (does a set of companies inspire respect and confidence or does it operate in a low-profile

Behavioural segmentation of UK Businesses

Like people, companies present patterns of ‘behaviour’. Some of these might help us segment markets. We’re looking for criteria that affects HOW companies operate, such as:

  • E.g. we want to target businesses who experience increased demand (or lack of) at certain periods of the year. Travel related companies, for example.
  • Social media activity
  • Purchasing behaviours – procurement policies might indicate how easy (or not) it is to sell to certain businesses.
  • Sustainability
  • Accreditation
  • Regulation

Those are just examples of criteria that will affect how businesses make choices – which in turn can reveal what’s important to them – and therefore how best to target and reach them.

In summary

Businesses Segmentation is a key strategy to breakdown audiences and market to them effectively.

Three main activities of target marketing are segmenting, targeting and positioning. These three steps make up what is commonly referred to as the S-T-P marketing process.

The DataEco platform can aid this process in two ways:

  • Company search views: helping you find and refine the UK business data that you are looking for – reveal the ‘knowns’.
  • Unique Insight views: allowing you to generate original insights. Using different views, users can go on a discovery journey, by asking questions and searching for answers – discover the ‘Unknowns’ and unlock new opportunities.



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Smart Insights

Chartered Institute of Marketing


Thinking with Google

3 steps towards UK business segmentation: