STP Marketing Basics Every Small Business Needs to Understand (For Non-Marketers) 

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Even if your professional background is as far away from marketing as possible, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with this key marketing strategy to grow a successful business.  

It can seem overwhelming when first trying to grasp the purpose and procedures behind digital marketing, but, step by step, you can get enough of a gist to set the pieces in motion and put the right people in place.  

This article will walk you through a tried and true marketing strategy—STP Marketing—and provide some tips for getting the ball rolling. 

But first, let’s get an essential thing straight.  

What Does Marketing Do?

The true purpose of marketing’s is to predict and identify customers’ needs and respond to them profitably.

Marketing isn’t advertising or sales.

These are both actually functions of marketing. Real marketing identifies customers’ needs and responds to them accordingly with value.  

The goal of marketing is to create value.  

Okay, that makes sense. But how do we get there? 

STP Marketing Is The Answer 

STP marketing stands for segmentation, targeting, and positioning marketing.

It is a widely used and tested marketing strategy that helps streamline the marketing process, saving time, resources, and money. 

In essence, marketers using an STP strategy position their products, goods, or services to clearly defined and distinct segments of a target market.

Through market research, marketers identify different segments from this target market and create tailored content that positions their product, good, or service in the most favorable light according to the various segments (or demographics).  

Let’s break it down further. 

Segmentation 

Segmenting your market into smaller, manageable chunks sounds straightforward, but how do you actually do it?

There are several ways to segment your audience, but here are a few of the most common methods: 

Geographic Segmentation 

As the name implies, geographic segmentation breaks your audience into groups based on physical location. These could be broad—like North or South America. Or they can be pretty narrow—like Brooklyn or Queens.  

Demographic Segmentation 

This segmentation strategy breaks your audience up by particular demographical characteristics.

Examples are age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, income, occupation, or family size. 

Behavioral Segmentation 

This segmentation strategy breaks down your audience by looking at differences in consumer behavior patterns.

How do they consume media?

What platform(s) do they use for social media?

How do they search in Google—what keywords do they use?

When are they active online?

All of these are ways to group or segment your audience. 

Psychographic Segmentation 

At first glance, this segmentation strategy seems similar to demographic segmentation.

However, there is a clear distinction when looking at both more closely. Demographic segmentation is concerned with the what 

What job do they have?

What is their income?

What is their gender identity? 

With psychographic segmentation, marketers are concerned with the who. Who are they? Psychographic segmentation is concerned with lifestyle, activities, opinions, and values—namely, core identity traits. 

How to Use Segmentation

Using segmentation isn’t a zero-sum game. You don’t value one and discard all the others. Real people will overlap in unique and sometimes unpredictable ways. If you want to reach real people, you’ll have to perform due diligence when segmenting your audience. You’ll need to take into account all segmentation strategies and analyze how they overlap and blend so that you can better target them. 

This leads us to the next section.  

Targeting 

Next, you have to choose which segments—or combination of segments—will be most likely to convert. In addition to this main consideration, you must also consider the cost of reaching this segment and the size, stability, and growth potential of this segment.  

All these factors will go into determining which segments you allocate budget targeting. What you must consider when deciding which segments to target: 

Reachability 

What will it cost to reach this segment and have them convert? How difficult will it be to reach this particular segment over another?

Segments that don’t use the internet will be harder to reach at cost than those who do, for example. What are the customer acquisition costs? 

Profitability

Which segments are most likely to convert? Are they high-income earners? How much do they spend?

Are they likely to become repeat customers? What is this segment’s lifetime value? 

Size and Stability 

What is the current size of this segment? Is it likely to grow or shrink in the years to come? 

Positioning 

This final step requires you to position your good, product, or service as the obvious choice in the minds of your target segment. This is where your brand identity and your unique value proposition must come together to “pitch” without pitching. To "sell" without sales.  

If you position your product, good, or service correctly, your brand will do all the sales work for you. The people you target will convince themselves that your brand is the obvious choice.  

There are a few different positioning philosophies you can use. 

Experiential Positioning 

When positioning your good or service, focus on how it makes your customer feel. This plays off of their emotional connection to your brand.  

Coke = Joy, and Happiness 

Functional Positioning 

Another strategy is to focus on the value proposition of your good or service. If your good or service provides genuine benefits and measurable value, use this positioning. 

Ikea = Affordable and Convenient 

Symbolic Positioning 

An additional strategy is to focus on how your good or service improves a person’s confidence, well-being, belongingness, or social position. 

Rolex = It’s more than a watch (even though it’s not)  

How Can You Make STP Marketing Work For You? 

As mentioned at the start of this article, if you don’t currently grasp the finer points of marketing, this information probably seems overwhelming.

However, there are ways you can start doing marketing right, depending on your business’s size, scope, and ability to scale.  

For smaller businesses, owners might be able to manage this research and planning on their own. However, there are ways companies can get some extra help with their marketing. 

  • Hire a fractional, or part-time CMO
  • Hire a third-party digital marketing agency 
  • Speak with a marketing consultant 
  • Check out Digital Marketing QuickStart Guidethe best new book on digital marketing (and marketing in general) in 2022 and beyond!

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