How finely should you segment? Asked in another way, how many segments should you have for your plan? We’re always told of the value of segmenting, and that we should compartmentalize our activities.  Yet, the data doesn’t actually support this theory. Let me show you why.

 After looking at a couple of thousand plans in the database, I found that the data was unambiguous. The net conclusion is that you need more plans, not more segments per plan.  Let me show you the data, and what this means for us when we’re thinking about planning for growth.


What does the data reveal?

To examine what the data showed, I began by ranking a couple of thousand plans for growth (accessed in Funnel Plan), and split the highest growth from the lowest growth. I discovered that the differences were very stark. The low growth plans had 6 segments, and the high growth plans had 4.  As there were fewer segments in the higher growth plans, I explored deeper to determine why.  What I found was another inverse piece of data that suddenly opened my eyes to the issue. The high-growth plans came from companies that had more plans – typically 6 plans per company.  Whereas, the low growth businesses, which had more segments, had fewer plans – typically 4 plans per company.

What does all this mean?

  • Fewer segments and more plans equals higher growth.
  • More segments and fewer plans equals lower growth.


Why, and what is going on?

If you add many segments to your plan but keep the same strategy and tactics, then you are broadening your reach, not narrowing it. As a consequence of broadening your market, you dilute your focus.  To meaningfully slice your market up, you need to do something different to each slice. If you don’t have a different strategy in terms of the problem, the solution that you’re taking to market, the tactics, and a different message, then you’re actually becoming very generic rather than hard-hitting and cut through, relevant to your market.

You don't need more segments. Rather you need multiple plans for narrow segments

You need multiple plans, with each focusing on a narrow market


Four actions you can take now

These include:

  1. Identify all the segments you serve, and add them into your plan.
  2. Test whether your strategy is tight and relevant for all of these segments. Focus particularly on the problem that you solve and the solution that you use to solve that problem. Ask whether this is completely relevant for all of these segments.
  3. Test whether your message is hard-hitting for each segment, or has it become generic and accommodating.
  4. If your strategy is too broad or your language has lost any of its edge, then move those segments out of your plan and into a new plan.

If you do not already have a Funnel Plan to do all this in, get yourself a free trial here, and start planning for high growth with more plans. If you already have a trial plan, I recommend that you upgrade to a paid plan. One of the many features you get in the paid version, is that you can edit all of your segments. If you have a paid plan, consider whether you need more paid plans. Why? As shown above, it turns out that you need to be very precise with each of the markets that you serve.  Subsequently, you require multiple plans which target a narrow market (without too many segments).



Our thanks

  • Claudia Ivanka for production
  • Hannah Sivalingam for supervising
  • Hugh Macfarlane for scripting and presenting this week’s show