What is Geographic Segmentation?

In marketing, geographic segmentation is when a business divides its target market based on location in order to better tailor its marketing efforts

There are several ways in which geographic segmentation can be performed.

The market can be divided by geographical areas such as city, county, state, region, country, or international region.

Another option is to segment the market into rural, suburban, and urban areas. 

You can even use geographic segmentation to divide a market by climate, or the total population in each geographical area. 

The Advantages of Geographic Segmentation

Geographic segmentation allows large companies to target the varying wants and needs of customers in different regions.

Geographic segmentation is an effective methodology used by organizations with large national or international markets to better understand the location-based attributes that comprise a specific target market. 

Consumers that live in different geographic regions typically display varying needs, wants, and cultural characteristics that can be specifically targeted for more efficient and better marketing. 

Geographic segmentation allows small businesses with limited budgets to be more cost effective.

The findings that result from geographic segmentation allow small businesses to focus their marketing efforts specifically on their defined area of interest, therefore avoiding inefficient spending.

When the data from geographic segmentation guides the creative, the resulting messaging has a higher propensity for resonating and triggering a purchasing action, thus making marketing dollars go further than when a business simply blasts each audience segment with the same message. 

Geographic segmentation is easy to perform.

Compared to other means of segmentation such as psychographic segmentation, demographic segmentation, or behavioral segmentation, geographic segmentation is relatively easy to perform. 

Simply put, it’s a lot easier to determine which geographic region someone lives in than it is to determine the variable elements of their psyche, or their behavioral tendencies. The geographic location of someone’s residence is an objective fact, while the variable elements of their personality and what pushes them to purchase is much more subjective in nature.

Examples of Geographic Segmentation

Example #1

Picture a retail clothing company that sells both warm weather and cold weather outdoor gear.

It would make logical sense for this business to geographically segment its target market into two halves based on climate in the southern and northern hemispheres.

The company could then use this strategy to adjust their marketing efforts accordingly. This would most likely entail rotating their marketing efforts in the northern hemisphere to focus on either warm weather gear or cold weather gear, depending on the time of year. 

The company could simply market warm weather outdoor gear all year in the southern hemisphere.

Example #2

Imagine a bicycle company that decides to geographically segment its target audiences into urban, suburban, and rural populations.

Research conducted by the company shows that people in urban markets prefer lightweight bikes with skinny tires that allow them to zip in and out of traffic. 

The same research shows that suburban bike riders want long-range race bikes that are capable of being comfortably ridden for long distances. 

Finally, the most rural consumers prefer heavy duty mountain bikes with thick and fat tires that allow them to rip down the face of a mountain.

The knowledge and consideration of the different location-based wants and needs of these geographical segments allow the bike company to efficiently market the appropriate products and features to the appropriate people.

Example #3

An international media outlet that reports on popular culture would benefit from geographic segmentation, as different countries and geographical regions would be most interested in hearing about different celebrities, trends, and other geo-specific occurrences. 

How to Use Surveys to Inform Geographic Segmentation

Simply asking survey respondents about their geographical location can serve as a powerful source of information that can later inform geographic segmentation.

That being said, consider adding a question about place of residency while building your next survey for administration.

Even if you aren’t entirely confident that you will, in fact, perform geographic segmentation, including one simple, potentially optional question in the beginning of your survey can yield a plethora of information that can later inform your marketing strategy. 


While geographic segmentation is considered one of the more introductory methods for gaining a clearer understand of target populations, it certainly comes with its benefits. 

The next time you’re distributing a survey, consider any and all instances in which knowing your respondents’ locations will better survey your decision making process.