"When I ask a B2B company about its customer segmentation, the answers almost always fall into one of two categories.
Some teams will say they have a segmentation based on size, geography, applications, product types, or in some cases a combination of some criteria. I will hear "yes, we segment our customers into large, medium, and small companies" or "yes, we break down customers by their locations" or "we have the automotive segment and the health care segment." They will say that their segmentation has several advantages: it's intuitive, easy to do, and data-driven. Other teams will explain that they don't have a customer segmentation, because they invest their resources in solving problems. These are often companies that have a strong engineering focus, and whose very talented R&D teams have discovered ways to help customers accomplish hard tasks more efficiently or more effectively. Many such companies don't even have a formal marketing department, especially in traditional industrial or manufacturing markets.
It is a major wake-up call for companies in both groups when I explain to them that these approaches to customer segmentation are not only inadequate and obsolete but also dangerous, because they cost their companies a lot of money. I am not talking only about the proverbial money on the table, one of the most important incentives for pursuing value-based pricing (VBP). I am talking about real costs you incur right now! Not having a proper segmentation is expensive and inefficient.
The companies in the first group above are using "firmographic" data to group their customers. They adjust their value propositions based on measurable but superficial differences between their customers. That is where the problem begins. A small company can behave the same way as a large one, rendering that size distinction meaningless. A large company based in the US can have the same needs and exhibit the same behaviors as a small company in Asia, which renders the geographic labels meaningless as well.
The companies in the second group are using a one-size-fits-all approach, which guarantees three things.
- They overcharge a lot of customers. ...
- They undercharge a lot of customers. ...
Segmentation is the most neglected step in VBP. This is because it is the most complex step and the most difficult to change. Think back to what you read in the introduction. Around 85 percent of companies do not incorporate customer value adequately into their pricing decisions. One of the root causes of this is the lack of a scientific customer segmentation, one that goes far beyond the traditional firmographic labels of the 198os and 199os and takes advantage of the rich breadth and depth of customer data available to companies in the 21st century. This is a core issue in B2B and industrial sectors, where knowing your customers is just as essential as knowing your competitors, if you want to succeed at VBP."
- They annoy or even anger customers. ...
Trechos retirados de "Dollarizing Differentiation Value: A Practical Guide for the Quantification and the Capture of Customer Value" de Stephan M. Liozu.