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Segmenting your target market via career stages


puzzle pieces coming out of a jar

HR | Marketing

By Brenda Mainland

Career Segmentation is a popular method if your client’s stage of career is a very relevant reason for doing business with your organisation. If you are an association with members for example, this is highly relevant way for segmenting your database.

Following our previous post segmenting an audience via generations, you may also be interested in another common segmentation method, known as career segmentation.

Career segmentation is a popular method if your client’s stage of career is a very relevant reason for doing business with your organisation. If you are an association with members for example, this is highly relevant way for segmenting your database.

Generally, careers are segmented into four categories:

  • Entry level
  • Mid level
  • Senior level
  • Chief executive or director level.

Acknowledging that there will always be exceptions to the rule, these four career stages are highly correlated to the generational categories (link). And, as with the generational categories, each career stage has different characteristics. These are:

Entry level

From year 12 and university, career plans are mapped out. ‘How will I earn a living’ drives many decisions and ultimately ‘what do I want to do’.

Millennials or GenY are the generation that are currently entering or leaving university, and embarking on their chosen career path. Because they are entering the workforce, they are also at an entry-level stage in their careers.

Mid level

Typically, although by no means exclusively, mid level career stage correlates with Gen X. They are taking up management or subject matter expert roles, probably changing employers and sometimes changing industries or even their career path.

They probably have family commitments as well during this period, and are therefore time-poor.

Senior, CEO and director level

Again, as a generalisation, these stages are linked to Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation.  They are either in very senior specialised positions, leading large companies/departments or running their own business. They are reaching (or have already reached) the pinnacle of their career.  Generally their families have grown up and they no longer have the same demands on their time as their younger counterparts.

It is important to understand why segmentation matters to your business.

In the western world, Baby Boomers were the first generation that did not experience poverty and large-scale world wars. They developed affiliations with organisations and associations, and were loyal and repeat customers. The Silent Generation and Boomers are retiring from the workforce, and Gen X and Y are moving into senior and mid-level career stages. These career stages mean they will play a major role in decision-making.  Therefore, your organisation needs to be ready to respond to changing business practices, and segmentation helps you to understand different preferences so that your products and services remain relevant.

Segmenting your database doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. Regardless of how up to date your information is, you can still gather information that will help you understand the composition of your clients, and what they prefer and value.

There are a number of ways to get segmentation started in your organisation – here are two suggestions:

  • Internal knowledge – you may be surprised about how much your team already knows about your clients
  • On-line surveys – provide the ideal platform to gather demographic information, seek opinions about your products and services, and find out what really matters to your clients – whatever age or career stage they are in.

Getting real data about your clients helps in decision-making and can assist with future business plans as well.

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