Market Segmentation of Target Customers For Wellness Businesses

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Most conventional business plans get market segmentation for wellness businesses all wrong. Here’s how you should think about your target customer.

Traditional segmentation is the description of your potential customers by income, age, gender, etc.: “Our target market is busy married women with two or more kids who work fulltime and have a household income of at least $75,000.”

That data may help Procter and Gamble sell Tide laundry detergent, but it’s not likely to help YOU sell your health and wellness services.

Instead, your business should develop a wellness-oriented segmentation that describes which groups (or segments) of people your business serves best.

Common market segments that matter to health and wellness businesses, with examples:

1. Current health concerns

“My back hurts.”

“I want to stay in shape and have a healthy baby.”

2. Future health anxieties

“My mom had a broken hip, I sure don’t to end up like her.”

“I have Type 2 diabetes and my doctor says I might have to start taking insulin.”

3. General dissatisfaction with current wellbeing

“I just feel like we should be eating better.”

“I’m always exhausted by the end of the week.”

4. Previous health-related experiences

“I’ve tried so many different things but nothing ever helps. I’m about ready to give up.”

“My headaches are so bad I can hardly stand it but my doctor just doesn’t take me seriously.”

5. Concern about family wellness

“Bob’s doctor wants him to take Crestor and Janey just plays computer games.”

“Petey’s school says he’s at the 99th percentile for weight.”

6. Level of self-efficacy

“I can’t do much, I’ve got a lot going on with the kids plus my knee issues really slow me down and then I’ve got back problems too.”

“I’m going to do my first Ironman this  year, who else in this area have you worked with?”

7. Presence of psychological or psychiatric considerations

“I’ve been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and I’m taking Zoloft and Wellbutrin for that.”

“My mom’s in a nursing home and I’m the only family member nearby.”

8. Price sensitivity

“If I feel like it really works for me, I’m not as worried about price.”

“I’d be willing to pay up to $65 for a gym membership, but I’d never pay over $100.”

9. Level of self-direction (vs externally-provided structure or direction)

“Just tell me what to eat and I’ll make it happen.”

“I need a class or I won’t get around to it on my own.”

10. Gender-influenced concerns

For example: women are much likelier to prioritize weight concerns and raising healthy kids, while back problems concern both men and women.

11. Subject-matter focus – fitness, nutrition, weight loss, etc.

“I need advice on how to fuel after ultramarathons.”

“I want to get involved in a prenatal program so I stay on top of my weight while I’m pregnant.”

Other dimensions to consider include:

  • Preference for solo activity, large group, small group, etc.
  • Life stage — young adult, young marrieds, empty-nesters, and so on.
  • Time-of-day pressures and inclinations — early birds, night owls, swing shift, rotating work schedules and so on.
  • Preference for face-to-face interaction, email, text or phone interaction, etc.
  • Respect for credentials and other formal evidence of expertise.
  • Technology affinity — early adopter, uncomfortable online, etc.
  • Temperament and personality — risk-averse, curious, adventurous, methodical, etc.