Monday, 16 September 2013

Market Segmentation: 4 Dimensions to Find Your Target Segment

Would a 43-year-old, single investment banker from Brazil be interested in a German children's book?
Do you think he is the reader you should address with "Barnie's Adventures in Playschool"?

Hardly likely. That's were market segmentation for your book comes in.

The benefit of segmenting the book market and identifying your target segment/audience is to ultimately address the right readers. In order to make your final target market more tangible, you can formulate your target segment description in the form of a reader profile. 

Since our time and resources for marketing are limited as a writer, we should invest them into reaching out to the readers that best fit our writer's profile. After all, we would rather be writing than chasing after readers that won't even be interested in what we have to offer. 

On that note, are you ready to figure out the target segment for your book and formulate a reader profile for your book? Let's get to it. :)

How do I segment the market to identify my target group?

Marketers generally use 4 dimensions (demographic, geographic, behavioural and psycho-demographic) to identify the people most likely to buy their products. 

I put together the following matrix of questions to make it easier for you to identify the correct reading audience for your book. Please, pick out the questions you find most relevant (at least 3 out of each) and start taking notes.

  • What age, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity of your readers?
  • What is their job? Are they employed or independent?
  • Which generation do they belong to? Baby boomers? Gen X? Millenials/Gen Y?
  • What is their education level? High school diploma? Apprenticeship? College degree?
  • What is their relationship status? Single? Married? Divorced? 
  • Do they have kids? How old are the kids?
  • What is their religion? What are their political affiliations?
  • What is their income? Based on their income how much are they likely to spend on books?
  • In which country do your readers live?
  • Are there regional differences within the country?
  • Are their cultural differences? 
  • What language do they speak?
  • What is the climate like? Equatorial? Mediterranean?
  • Do they have seasons? Northern vs. Southern hemisphere?
  • How many books do your readers read in a month?
  • Are they familiar the genre of your book?
  • When, where and how do they read your books?
    • In the evening? On their way to work? On vacation?
    • In one sitting? In several installments?
    • As paperback? Hardcover? eBook?
    • On a tablet, e-reader or on their mobile?
  • Do they buy books based on content or based on price?
  • How willing are they to buy your book?
    • Do they already know your authorbrand?
    • Did they purchase any of your previous books/ the first book in a series or trilogy of yours?
  • What emotional and attitudional affiliations do your readers have? (e.g.: nerds, emo, scifiers)
  • What lifestyle do they lead?
  • What social class do your readers belong to? Lower, middle, upper?
  • What are your readers’ sctivitie, interest, opinions (AIOs)?
  • What are their goals, beliefs, habits and values?

How to create a reader profile


Once you have gathered your answers on a host of the questions above summarise them in a single paragraph. The trick is to use you answers like attributes you would normally attach to a character description. This paragraph on a character will become the reader profile for your book and should guide any future marketing decisions.

I wrote an example reader profile for a guide on self-development for professional women (no clue where that came from, but I don't question my muse in these things):

My target readers are single, middle to upper class female professionals, aged 24-35. They are ambitious, fashionable, career-oriented and health conscious. They look for challenges also in their personal life and are eclectic in their reading habits, enjoying a light chick lit novel as a time-out, planning their fitness programme with a HowTo Guide and but futhering their knowledge with non-fiction books focused on business, historical and political topics. Being mobile, they prefer the ebook format and mostly read in smaller installments on the go. Online they are most active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked In. They are price conscious when it comes to leisure reading, but willing to spend a buck on a non-fiction book.

If you feel like you reader profile is still too vague after the first round of answers, just go back and try to incorporate the answers to a few more questions.

Voila, by formulating your reader profile you now know your target market segment and can let that knowledge inform the next steps in your book position plan. 

Other Useful Articles and Texts on Reader Profiles and Segmentation

Did you figure out your target segment?

What is your reader profile? How did your reader profile help you with your book marketing plan?

Please share your thoughts below in the comments

Why Book Positioning Is The Secret Ingredient

While ideally you would think about book positioning and your target market before even putting down the first word that is not how it happens in most cases. Instead you get struck by a story idea and if you are a seat-of-the-pants writer like me, you will sit down and let that idea flow into words while it is at its most vivid. Who will ever read them is not your first concern.

However, what to do once you realise that you would actually like to publish the book you wrote?

Don't panic. All is not lost if the idea of book positioning doesn't occur to you until the end. In that case you just have to figure out which target group your book is most suited for, instead of defining which target reader you would have liked to written your book for before you got around to the actual writing.

In this series I will give a run-down of things to consider when positioning your book. Let's start with a definition.

What is positioning?

Positioning means "identifying and attempting to occupy a market niche for a brand, product or service utilizing traditional marketing placement strategies (i.e. price, promotion, distribution, packaging, and competition)." Additionally, "[p]ositioning is also defined as the way by which the marketers attempt to create a distinct impression in the customer's mind." - Wikipedia

With the vast competition in the book market of today, it is essential to identify the correct market niche for your book. The goal is not to reach a mass of readers, but instead to address the right kind of readers for your book. In other words, figuring out the best positioning for your book will assure that your limited time and resources for marketing are employed to the greatest effect with a group of people interested specifically in the content you are offering.

Having said that, I will post the following sections of a simple beginner's guide to positioning over the next few weeks. The first section is available today.

The Beginner's Guide to Book Positioning

Learn how to segment the global book market to identify the target market for your book
Getting the genre right further narrows down your target market and ensures that your book messaging addresses the right audience of readers 
An overview over some great online distribution channels and sites
Insights on how to research prices for your target segment and genre
A few guidelines on how to communicate your book positioning in a glance
6 pointers on how to compose a compelling, tailored blurb which will encourage potential readers to give your book a chance

Questions to Go

Have you figured out your positioning strategy for your book yet? 
Has refining your understanding of the treated areas helped you shape your book marketing plan? 

Please share your ideas and thoughts in the comments below.