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The segmentation-targeting-positioning (STP) model: How to achieve precision in marketing

The segmentation-targeting-positioning (STP) model: How to achieve precision in marketing

Home Blog Digital Marketing The segmentation-targeting-positioning (STP) model: How to achieve precision in marketing

The Segmentation-Targeting-Positioning (STP) model is one of the most widely known marketing strategies. It’s been around since the very earliest days of digital marketing.

In fact, if we’re honest, it’s been around a lot longer than that. After all, STP is essentially a modern iteration of age-old audience research and targeting.

“Old” is sometimes a loaded term in marketing. As marketers, we’re prone to chasing after what’s new, always reaching for the newest, shiniest piece of mar-tech, and priding ourselves on being ahead of trends.

But there’s a reason why the oldest marketing techniques last for as long as they do: they work. And they work well. In cases like the STP model, the old ways really are the best.

In combination with content marketing, the STP model is still one of the most efficient ways of streamlining your marketing operation, getting close to your customers, and boosting your conversion rate.

So, it’s important to regularly step back and make sure that you’re taking every opportunity to segment, target, and position your marketing data and operation.

Table of contents :

What is the STP marketing model?

The STP marketing model is all about closely defining the who, the where, the when, and the why’s of your audience. When you’ve got all of this knowledge, it also helps you out with the how.

Let’s explain a bit further. The STP model aims to pinpoint your customers as closely as possible, and group them via shared characteristics so that you can target them with content that’s truly relevant to them.

Let’s make a very simple example. Let’s say you run an international chain of burger restaurants. You want to launch a new burger, and you devise a marketing campaign for it.

Now, you could blast your entire audience with the same advert. It works great in the USA, it tested brilliantly with US audiences, what could go wrong?

Well, for a start, your ad talks about ingredient weights in pounds, when the majority of your international audience uses grams. You’ve also used the words “pants” and “fries”, which won’t fly internationally even if your international audience speaks English.

And the storyline of the advert, while very relatable to American audiences, will leave your international customers cold. It’s just not relevant or relatable to them.

What are you to do? You can’t create a completely universal advert. An advert that’s designed to be relevant for absolutely everyone is usually not actually relevant to anyone.

So how can you make sure that your marketing is relevant no matter who it reaches?

With Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the STP Model:

stp model

The STP model consists of three stages:

1) SEGMENT. Divide your audience into “segments” based on key characteristics. These could include things like interests, demographic, geographical location or purchase behavior. For example, you might group all the people who live in New York in one segment, and all the people who live in Chicago in another.

2) TARGET. Evaluate your segments. Work out which could be most profitable for you, which need more attention, which are the most engaged, and so on. Select the segments you most want to target, and begin developing content that will appeal to these segments.

3) POSITION. Produce a marketing mix which positions relevant products in ways that your key segments will find attractive. Depending on the segments you decide to target, you may even make strategic domain registrations to secure relevant domains.

Digital marketing campaign

Why is the STP marketing model useful?

The STP marketing model makes it easy for marketers to focus on several of the key elements of any good marketing strategy: prioritization, differentiation, and personalization. It allows you to group customers according to the data points that work for your brand.

For example, if you have offers that might appeal to younger customers and others that might appeal to older ones, the STP model helps you to identify these older and younger customers and group them into segments.

You can then put together a killer sales pitch and intensively target your marketing with personalized, relevant content for each segment.

STP is also helpful for your overall marketing strategy. Through segmentation, you can learn which audiences have the most potential, and which need the most work.

With the right data, you can see at a glance which segments are most engaged and likely to convert, which need a bit of extra effort to build a lasting customer-brand connection, and which are disengaged to the point that you should disregard them.

Differentiation is at the heart of any segmentation effort, and it’s very important both for personalization and for product positioning.

By segmenting your audience according to different characteristics, you can streamline your targeting efforts by zeroing in on the different aspects that will interest each audience.

For example, one demographic may appreciate the price of your product, while another will be more interested in its quality. You can use these points of differentiation to intensively target your marketing content for maximum effectiveness.

Then there’s personalization. Personalization is an absolute must for modern marketing. Consumers are no longer content with generic marketing content.

To catch their attention, your content marketing strategy needs to prioritize relevance. Your content needs to be personal to their lives, their needs, and their interests.

By neatly grouping people according to their interests, location, needs, and so on, the STP model makes it a lot easier to personalize your marketing content in ways that get results.

Marketing automations such as dynamic content blocks can be really helpful here. It’s worth looking for a marketing platform that uses AI and automations to take the hard work out of things like matching data points to content types and so on.

benefits of personalization

How to use the STP model

The STP model focuses heavily on your audience rather than on your product. It’s all about delivering the right messages to the right people at the right time.

So, in order to make it work for you, you need to be sure that you understand your audience.

There are several ways to gather data and learn about your audience, including social listening, surveys, reviews, monitoring online behavior, email tracking, and more.

However, it is very important that you are always honest and transparent about your data gathering. Otherwise, you risk losing the trust of your audience — and that could have a devastating impact on your brand reputation.

When should you use this model?

Ideally, you would use the STP framework at an early stage in your marketing strategy, and keep referring back to it as your campaign progresses.

For example, you might use your STP model to decide who to target and how to target them. If your campaign does not go as well as you’d hoped, you can then look deeper into your segments to try and find insights you may have missed.

Perhaps your target audience are resolute Apple users, and you need to prioritize developing a remote desktop app for Mac rather than Windows, for example.

How to segment your customers?

How to segment your customers?

The criteria you use to segment your customers will depend on which are most useful for your business, most relevant for your product, and most pertinent for your customers.

As a general rule, methods of segmentation tend to fall into four broad categories:

Demographic. This could be any combination of age, gender, income, ethnicity, education level, household size, and so on.

Psychographic. Psychographic data points include anything relating to personality and/or emotion. Examples include risk-aversion, social attitudes, and ethical concerns.

Geographic. Where the audience is located. This can be important if you run different promotions in different locations — for example, customers in New York don’t want to hear about promotions you’re running in Chicago.

Behavioral. This relates to the way that customers behave. Typically, for marketing purposes, this will include things like purchase behavior and behavior online.

For example, how much the customer engages with your social media, whether they make calls from a browser or a physical phone, the time of day they usually interact with your brand online, and so on.

Make sure to factor in your social media posting schedule into your STP marketing strategy. You may find that certain segments prefer to respond at certain times.

Is the STP model still relevant today?

Is the STP model still relevant today?


One of the great things about the STP model is that it’s very adaptable. Rather than detracting from it, new tools and tech enhance its performance.

For example, new tools like Facebook’s interest-based targeting and enhanced email personalization options can be of huge benefit to your STP efforts. They offer new ways to segment your audiences and target your marketing content like never before.

Where STP is changing, however, is in data gathering.

As we’ve mentioned above, data gathering is vital for effective STP. You need to learn about your customers before you can begin to effectively segment and target them.

However, consumers are steadily becoming more and more protective of their data — and big brands are listening.

Lately, we’ve seen an increased focus on the use of Google News SEO for marketing. By optimizing your content for Google News, you can reach a wider audience and drive more traffic to your site.

This can be a valuable addition to your STP efforts, especially if you’re targeting news-savvy audiences.

One of the key strategies for Google News SEO is to focus on producing high-quality, relevant content that appeals to your target audience.

By using the right keywords, headlines, and meta descriptions, you can increase your chances of being featured in Google News results, which can drive significant traffic to your site.

In summary, while the STP model remains relevant in today’s marketing landscape, new tools and tech are constantly emerging to enhance its performance.

By incorporating strategies like Google News SEO into your STP efforts, you can stay ahead of the curve and reach more of your target audience than ever before.

The last year has also seen a stream of privacy tools and filters introduced by prominent tech brands, backed up by legislation.

For example, last year Apple updated iOS to include an “ask not to track” option which, when enabled, effectively blocks third parties from tracking Apple users’ behavior online.

This was a popular move with consumers, but it also means that marketers can no longer reliably track simple metrics like email open rates. That data is now effectively hidden from us.

Does this mean that STP is impossible?

Not at all. It just means that we have to prioritize customer consent when gathering data.

Call monitoring, for example, is a great way to learn more about your customers’ pain points, needs, and interests. However, in order to maintain the trust of your customers you have to inform them that you may be monitoring their calls, and how you may be using any data gathered from call monitoring or call center voice analytics.

Similarly, when asking for permission to track customer behavior through your app or website, you should always explain exactly why you need the data, and how you will be using it.

By being transparent about your data usage, and explaining how it can benefit the customer, you can not only get to know your audience better, you can also build trust with them as you do so. And, in the modern marketing milieu, customer trust is a truly valuable thing to have.

Digital marketing campaign

Use the STP model to make your marketing more precise, more streamlined, and more effective

The STP model may have been around for a long time, but that’s because it has some serious staying power. It has yet to be beaten in terms of effectiveness.

If you want to build lasting relationships with current audiences, bring in new leads in double-quick time, find the perfect stories to build your audience, and make your marketing personalization as precise as possible, the STP model is what you need.

So long as you’re constantly updating your STP to fit in with new technologies, and making sure that your data-collection methods are ok with your audiences, STP could be the key to optimizing your marketing.

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Francesca is the Head of Content at Mention since 2021. She manages the blog that gets 100k+ visits monthly, and is a specialist in digital marketing, content creation and co-marketing. She has a Master of Arts - Digital Media from the London Metropolitan University.

Head Of Content @Mention