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Customer Segmentation in Your Print Business

Understanding your customer segmentation and even more importantly the “jobs” the printed products do for your customers can help you better target your sales efforts. Diversity is a hedge against catastrophic market segment collapse (another lesson of COVID-19).


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About Jennifer Matt

Jennifer Matt is the managing editor of WhatTheyThink’s Print Software section as well as President of Web2Print Experts, Inc. a technology-independent print software consulting firm helping printers with web-to-print and print MIS solutions.


By Robert Godwin on Jan 27, 2021

As always, on point. My two cents.
Segmentation and diverse customer base are used differently, and very different decisions are driven by this data. Agreeing with your point: "Do you know if you have a diverse portfolio of customers? This is where customer segmentation comes into play." and using them correctly. It is difficult to imagine a business not knowing what their customers need, and of course a CRM tool will help document that data, and so will a report from the MIS. But as you have opined before, few use MIS to full effectiveness, heck even partial effectiveness.
And so, the differences: -
-segmentation is most effective in marketing/sales.
-Diversity is data best used, essential in fact, for manufacturing and workflow choices.
Finally, Industry segmentation is useful, but ‘needs’ segmentation is vital. Industry is the macro view, needs (as in what printed products are bought) is the micro view. For instance, healthcare and hospitality are industry sectors. The marketing team at a healthcare company likely needs many of the same products as a hotel chain marketing department. Different industry sectors, similar needs. And they represent diversity and would inform the manufacturing process that the same equipment can serve both.


By Robert Lindgren on Jan 28, 2021


Fantastic article! The focus on who's buying our stuff, what are they using it for and what's the probability of it changing to another process is right on.

This analysis should be at the center of everyone's strategic planning.


By Chris Lynn on Jan 28, 2021

Great advice in the article and comments! I'd add that another often-neglected segmentation is by 'mutually-referencing' groups. That is, groups of customers who meet or interact regularly and who therefore are likely to report a good experience with your product or service. These are likely to be in the same industry, but could be any affiliation.

I'd also add that having some sort of CRM is essential unless you have only a handful of customers and no ambitions to add more.


By Stan Tan on Feb 02, 2021

If only more printers had this level of strategic prowess. Printers want to take on "big clients" because of economies of scale and efficiency but they do not know where or how to get that "big client". Their judgement of a big client is based on the initial quote or project scope but as we all know an increasing number of clients are going with a small quote initially because they can. Times have changed. Back in the day, clients had to order a much larger quantity even though they didn't need them. However, traditional printers are still stuck in those days where they are waiting for that one big quote.

They don't think in segments. They don't think in "Our data shows that all our clients in the retail segment spend 500% more than our average. All the retail clients we get regardless of how small the quote is, we will nurture that client and grow them."

They think in "This quote is small. It's not worth our time focusing on this quote."



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