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Pharma marketing

A Beginners Guide to Pharma Market Segmentation


Market segmentation in pharma is a powerful tool for marketers to maximize the effectiveness of their communication efforts. Companies do not want to risk targeting a wide, generalized audience. This increases the chance of getting their message lost in the middle.

With the digital shift, pharma companies expanded their reach and, subsequently, their target audience. Defying the power of their message and communication strategies. So, market segmentation became a priority for success. 

And we are here today to guide you through market segmentation in pharma in an era of comprehensive digital communication. 

Pharma market segmentation

What is market segmentation?

Market segmentation is a practice that proceeds with the division of a target market into groups of different approachability. This promotes the creation of subcategories of a market of interest into, for example,  demographics, demand, and interests. 

“Different people respond differently to various components of marketing and to different channels,” Patient Bond, Brent Walker

Market segmentation is, then, guided by the principle of directing all marketing efforts into narrower groups of people. This way, companies, namely in pharma, can establish effective links of communication.  

What are the benefits?

  • Strong messages
    As you segment your audience you have the opportunity to tailor your message to the specific groups of consumers you want to target. That way you can establish a direct link of communication.

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  • Targeting relevant audiences
    With a segmented market, pharma companies have the advantage of understanding which groups of people are a better fit for their products. Therefore, are able to target the audiences of greater interest to the brand, maximizing its potential in generating new customers and increasing sales. 
  • Foster increased brand loyalty 
    As you deliver targeted content and proportionate direct links of communication, you increase people’s trust in your brand. Making them more likely to commit to your brand and what you have to offer. 
  • Stand out from the competition
    If a company strays away from the path of vague, generalized messaging, it enters a fruitful path where differentiation from the competition is obtained. By having a unique voice and unified message, a brand manages to effectively stand out from the crowd. 
  • Tailored advertising
    Personalized messaging and content are not the only advantages of market segmentation. Tailored advertising becomes, equally, a possibility that gives companies the chance to optimize the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. 

There are many more benefits to market segmentation. But the overall message to take away is that turning it a part of your pharma marketing strategy will help you and your team to develop a more relevant and resonant link of communication with the intended audiences.  

Segmentation in pharma

Market segmentation in pharma is a growing concern, particularly for marketing teams.

With the Internet came the openness of consumers to a wider and more varied consumption market. This has affected brand loyalty tendencies. Making it harder for companies to continue using traditional marketing practices to allure people toward their brand. The conjecture is different, and so should be the approach. 

This is an industry that relies on the known “rule of 7” that guides interaction with the different stakeholders. Namely, HCP, are believed to be engaged with sales reps from around 6 to 8 visits before securing a business deal.  This is a tactic that is becoming obsolete and inefficient in the present day. As virtual is taking over face-to-face communication. 

So, the field is on ongoing transformation, first with the digital shift and then with COVID and the post-pandemic era. Pharma companies want to ensure that they cover all fronts and target them with effective messages and communication that is relevant and valuable. For that to happen, these organizations ought to adopt market segmentation practices that allow them to split their audience into groups of interest. 

Deepen your knowledge of market segmentation in Pharma, here

Different types of segmentation

Within market segmentation, there are different types and approaches that one might follow considering its particular needs. So, it is important to know what they are and which one is the best fit for the communication strategy you have in mind. 

Some of the different types of market segmentation you can implement are: 

  • Demographic segmentation (B2C)
    Proceeds with an evaluation and categorization based on a person’s age, gender, education level, income level, and more. This constitutes a simpler approach to market segmentation that is particularly valuable for B2C businesses.
  • Geographic segmentation (B2B/ B2C)
    This type of segmentation can be a part of the demographic approach. Nonetheless, it can be a type on its own. It focuses, then, on geographic location as a way to split the audience into groups of interest. You further assess a customer’s interests, preferences, and needs according to their location

    This can further be a marketing model, geomarketing that can be valuable in pharma. Learn more about it, here
  • Psychographic segmentation (B2B/ B2C)
    Supported by a classification based on a person’s attitudes, behaviors, and values. One can then split groups according to, for instance, lifestyle, traits, opinions, and more. This approach can be implemented in both B2B and B2C organizations.

  • Behavioral segmentation (B2B/ B2C) 
    This is an approach particularly valuable to those that want to target customers based on their purchase behaviors. Here, marketers categorize people according to, for example, their product usage habits, usage rates, and more. This way of addressing segmentation can be adapted to both B2B and B2C companies.
  • Firmographic (B2B)
    This is an approach particularly beneficial to B2B businesses. It classifies companies based on their attributes. Perse, industry, location, number of employees, and revenue.

Where to start

Now, market segmentation might appear difficult at first. And you might wonder, ‘Where should I start?’. It can be complex, but this practice will only benefit your company and marketing strategy. So, we are here to help you take the first step. 

Thus, before diving into the complexity of what is pharma marketing, begin with 5 simple steps that will help you initiate the segmentation process of your audience. And these are:

  1. Define your market
    The first step in your market segmentation journey is to define your market. And to do that, you ought to consider whether your products or services are needed, the size of the market, and your brand’s current positioning. 
  1. Then, segment it 
    To do it, you need to choose which type of segmentation fits your needs (demographic, geographic, behavioral, firmographic, and psychographic). Remember that you can use a combination of more than one so that you segment your market into the right groups of interest. 
  1. Strive to know and understand your market
    Once you segment your market, it is time to understand it. Analytics and research play a big part in this stage of the process. Some of the tools and practices that you might adopt are conducting surveys and polls to obtain user feedback, as well as focus groups. 
  1. Create customer segments
    From there, you can segment your customers into specific groups that will allow you to refine your communication strategy. So, analyze the data collected from your research, and from there identify which groups are the most relevant to your product and/ or service.

  2. Test 
    Now it is time to put your strategy to test. To understand its effectiveness of it, it is recommendable to use a conversion tracking tool that will give insight into the impact of your marketing segmentation efforts. 

It is important to know that your journey into market segmentation won’t stop here. In fact, it should become an integral part of your overall marketing strategy and a recurring process. Circumstances change, new audiences arise, and it is important to be up to date with the latest trends in the field. So your communication strategy never misses the potential of certain groups. 

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