What is Geographic Segmentation and Why You Need It Article Hero

What Is Geographic Segmentation And Why You Need It

The best way to accelerate growth is to seek out interested people that will buy your products or services. That means segmenting your leads by certain criteria to send tailored messages that encourage action. 

Imagine showing a Facebook Ad for snow shovels to an audience living in Southern Florida. You can’t, because that’s crazy — Southern Florida doesn’t even get snow. No one living there will never need or buy a snow shovel. You’d never make any sales.

At the heart of successful marketing lies market segmentation. Or, the act of defining who your primary customer is, and sending them specific messages that match their wants and needs. Depending on the type of segmentation you use, it’s not always easy. 

But what can be easy is using geographic segmentation, which helps refine your audience and improve targeting based on location. When combined with other forms of audience segmentation, this can reduce ad spend and show better ROI for your marketing efforts. 

What Is Geographic Segmentation?

Geographic segmentation is the process of dividing people into groups based on location, such as city, country, state, region, and even continent. It can help you tailor your approach during seasons customers may need your product. 

For example, a fisherman in Alaska may only buy more equipment leading up to the salmon season. Whereas a fisherman in Orange Beach, Alabama, might purchase equipment all year round.  

In contrast to other types of segmentation — demographic, psychographic, and behavioral — location-based segmentation is easier to see results from. It doesn’t take a lot of research to identify someone’s location and the characteristics of a certain area, versus figuring out potential customers purchasing behaviors and psychographics.

Geographic Segmentation Example — McDonald’s

There are a lot of ways to differentiate your target customers based on where they live. McDonald’s illustrates the power of this strategy. 

McDonald’s is the world’s biggest restaurant chain, with over 37,000 restaurants in more than 120 markets. The fast-food chain divides its target markets into segments by country, region, and cities, then customize the menu by local preferences.

Instead of trying to sell a Big Mac (a beef burger) in India and affecting the local sentiment, they introduced the Maharaja Mac: a variation of the Big Mac but without pork or beef.

In Japan, they factor in seasonal tastes, for example, the TeriTama Burger in springtime and Tsukimi Burger in autumn.

Similarly, you can get a McDo chicken with Spaghetti in the Philippines, while the Russian McDonald’s has a regular breakfast item on the menu in the form of blini-like rolls stuffed with cottage cheese, raisins, and dried apricots.

McDonald’s adapts its product offering in line with the geographic and cultural region. This not only shows respect toward local traditions and beliefs, but also improves their company’s image and bottom line. 

Geographic Segmentation Variables

Here are a few examples of how geographic segmentation can empower marketing strategies and help you get the most from your budget.

1. Climate.

Climate-based segmentation involves marketing based on a region’s weather. 

Let’s assume that your ideal customers live in a town near Vancouver, British Columbia, where the climate is typically warm and temperate. You can heavily promote swimwear leading up to and in the summer months. 

2. Cultural preferences.

Similar to the geographic segmentation example of McDonald’s detailed above, many companies practice culture-based segmentation of their markets. 

Cultural segmentation is an incredibly effective way to divide your audience. The benefits are two-fold: one, you learn how and why certain cultural groups behave, and two, customers feel heard and valued. 

These groups can be as large as entire countries, or as small as a sub-group within a region, for example, farmers in the South of the United States. Each has a different trigger that makes them buy. You should try to discover what they are to improve your campaigns and show better ROI.

3. Population type.

Unilever — a transnational consumer goods company based out of the U.K.— targets customers based on rural, urban, and suburban locations, but sells them the same products in different ways. 

They tailor everything from the brand message to strategy to create a hyper-focused marketing program. They also use new marketing channels based on each segment’s needs.

4. Language.

Research shows that language is one of the most significant ways of segmenting for exporters. It can have a considerable impact on how you create conversations and promotional materials for your geographical target market. 

Take Budweiser, for example; not only have they managed to snag a large share of the Chinese market, but they have assimilated so that it’s now one of the most famous beverages locally. They even launched a brand new bottle to commemorate the Chinese New Year.

McDonald's Geographic Segmentation Example for Chinese New Year | What Is Geographic Segmentation And Why You Need It
Image: Tias2g

Advantages Of Geographic Segmentation

Geographic segmentation helps you connect with potential (and existing) customers on their level. Here are some ways this strategy can benefit your business:

More focused marketing campaigns.

Geographic segmentation helps you concentrate on a specific area. If you can speak to a location-based pain point and how you can relieve it, customers will be more likely to engage with your message. This means less ad spend dollars left on the table and higher ROI.

Overcome regional differences.

Food and clothing trends vary from coast to coast and continent to continent. Geographic segments can give your business a clear idea of how your product will be received locally. You can develop a marketing plan that keeps local preferences in view. 

Affordable and adaptable.

Any size business can make an impact with little marketing dollars. They can focus on a defined area where prospects are most likely to respond. If they don’t, you can do one of two things: Improve messaging for geographic target or, shift focus to another geographic segment and test your message there. 

How to use geographic segmentation in your lead generation

1. Send targeted messages based on location.

Most successful campaigns have adopted increasingly aggressive geo-targeting in paid Facebook or Google ads for finding ideal customers. Now you can expand on that by sending Sponsored Messages or Click-to-Messenger ads in Facebook Messenger. 

This effort has yielded unexpected benefits. According to Mobile Marketer, marketers in 2018 said location data helped grow their customer base by 85%, response rates by 83%, and customer engagement by 83%. It also gave them more insight into their customers’ needs and interests. 

2. Local retargeting.

Think about your own Facebook feed — the ads you see and new products launched, for starters. Now consider where these businesses popping up in your feed come from. Which ads do you click on the most?

The value of local retargeting is widely recognized. You can reach people inside geographic regions and push relevant messages. Instacart has found that adding location-based text in their campaigns achieved better responses. 

One way to do this is to replace the city in your ad text. But that approach has limits. Images can be confusing if someone lives in a different climate, for example. You can use this method to launch a product across multiple regions at once. Just make sure your image matches the region you go after.

3. Give directions in Messenger.

It’s tempting to think of geographic segmentation in terms of paid ads and subscriber lists. However, you can now enable Messenger bots to give directions to your business, collect and store address information from users, and send location-specific offers based on your geographic criteria. 

With LocationKit, you can connect ManyChat with Google Maps to apply location-based marketing into your business. See the video below for more information.

4. Take advantage of local events.

With a little research into weather or traditional local celebrations, you can target geographic segments. It’s not uncommon for companies to plan in advance for special events, such as Mardi Gras in New Orleans. A week or two before, a retailer may promote masquerade masks or mardi gras beads to boost sales. 

Companies can also prepare for unexpected events in a local area, for example, a snowstorm in Boston. You can promote anything from snow boots to jackets, snow shovels to tea. The goal is to take advantage of the increase in demand and generate revenue. 

Using geographic segmentation in your marketing strategy

Many companies don’t yet practice geographic segmentation. Some may be focusing only on demographics and don’t expect geography to make a significant impact on sales. 

To create customized and targeted marketing campaigns, truly understanding geographic and local differences is critical. People respond better to marketing that feels it’s made for them — which in turn, boosts ROI for you. 

Armed with this information, make the best use of your technology and data to experience the benefits of geographic segmentation. 

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