There are nearly limitless resources (including online articles, books, entire websites) that address customer segments and customers segmentation. Most of these approach customer segmentation from a marketing perspective. This is important, but as an entrepreneur the more critical issue at the start is the underlying need and how/why potential customers make purchases, not how you actually reach the customers.
There are many ways to segment customers. They include, for example:
Which segmentation type will be best? It will depend on your product or service, along with a variety of other factors. It is essential to keep in mind that customers should be grouped in a segment because they can be treated similarly in the purchasing process. Think about the AEB again. “Students” seems like a pretty obvious segment, but a little thought reveals that we can do better. After all, some students live in dormitories on campus; some students do not own a car. In the short term, we probably do not want to target those students.
Here are two online articles that my students have generally found useful as a starting point for thinking about customer segments in an entrepreneurial context:
Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm” framework is primarily a marketing approach, but it emphasizes the importances of market segments based on purchasing criteria with a specific focus on when customers are likely to abandon an older technology or product set for a new innovation. If your opportunity requires educating customers about a new innovation, or convincing customers to upgrade from a product or service that they have relied on for any length of time, then this is a topic you should carefully investigate. We will return to this concept in Chapter 11.