STP Marketing Explained: What is it?

What is STP Marketing? 

STP marketing is a model that leverages Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning to craft targeted marketing messages and a tailored customer experience. It is most commonly used in digital strategy. Marketers use information such as demographics, develop the right marketing mix, and create buyer personas to guide their marketing efforts. 

Understanding STP Marketing 

Successful marketing centers around your value proposition, be it for your company, brand identity, or your products and services. The problem is that different people value things in different ways. 

Take a low-price department store, like Walmart, for example. Some people shop there because of its low price, while others visit such big box stores for convenience. If you were in charge of marketing for Walmart, your marketing should reflect these two messages – low prices and one-stop shopping – to appeal to each type of shopper.

The above is a very example of STP marketing in practice. Let’s go over each component of STP marketing and how you can use this model to take your marketing to the next level.


The first step to applying STP marketing is segmentation. This is the practice of dividing your customers based on certain identifying characteristics. It allows you to deliver tailored marketing messages that specifically appeal to these groups – an approach that tends to be more effective than a one-size-fits-all strategy.

While there are many ways to segment your market, here are some of the most common ones:

  • Age/Gender: Age and gender are very personal attributes, but they are also very defining. The needs of a 20-year-old woman are inherently different than that of a 60-year-old man, regardless of any other characteristic.
  • Income: STP marketing professionals may also look at income level because the more money people make, the more they tend to spend. They also have different values. Many companies find that their customers fall within a certain income bracket.
  • Lifestyle: You may also want to segment your customers by lifestyle. For instance, the needs of a customer with kids is often very different from those who do not.
  • Location: Look at your customers by location as well. Understanding where your customers come from will help you target your ads and place them more effectively.
  • Behavior: This refers to brand loyalty, the kind of purchases customers have made, and the frequency of purchases. For example, marketing message for someone who hasn’t bought from you in a while will be very different compared to a marketing message for someone who is a regular buyer. How different people respond to marketing messages can also be the basis for behavioral segmentation.
  • Beliefs and values: Religious and political beliefs can really define how you reach out to potential customers. For instance, as an insurance company, you might want to invoke faith and God when reaching out to religious or conservative segments. Similarly, if your target audience mostly comprises of people in the 16-35 age bracket, it is likely they hold liberal values. Positioning yourself as an environment-friendly brand might be very helpful, in such a case.


Once you have divided your customers into different groups, it is time to look at how these segments contribute to your revenues and success. Based on this information, you can then start to allocate marketing budgets and who to target, first. Here are three ways to refine your targeting:

  • Economic Potential: Depending on your business, you might find that one segment is responsible for more sales than others. Thus, it might be more prudent to increase your marketing efforts for the group that spends more. While this should not be your single determinate for which segment you target, it should factor into your decision.
  • Size: Next, look at the size of the segment. If one group contributes twice as much as another, that doesn’t mean that it is absolutely the best segment to target. You have to dig deeper. Look at the size of each segment and its potential for growth.
  • Distinction: Finally, consider what makes a segment distinctive. You might see that you have a segment with good economic potential and possibilities for growth but if going after that demographic kills business as you know it, give it some thought before you pursue that group. For instance, if you own a store and you find that teenagers love the simple canvas shoes you carry, you might be tempted to expand your offering, carrying more colors and styles or offering other products to draw teens in, like popular candy. However, if you do that, you could alienate your other customers.


The last step in STP marketing is positioning. This involves creating a marketing mix to reach your targeted segment and identifying the best way to reach your customers. While there are many ways to do this, positioning strategies fall into three basic categories:

  • Function: Functional positioning is centered on how your product or service meets the specific needs of your target demographic. This strategy relies on the value you can provide your customer and the pain points you can resolve.
  • Symbolism: You can also take the symbolism approach to positioning. Think about what it is about your products or services that could bolster your customers’ self-esteem and emphasize those features. Prestige brands often use this strategy, playing up their logos, the exclusivity of their offerings, or a certain lifestyle. Apple is a very good example of this strategy.
  • Experience: Positioning can be based on the experience as well. This strategy is designed to create an emotional connection with your target segment by focusing on how it feels to use your products or services. Marketing messages like “Relax,” “Let us take care of everything,” and “experience the difference” are examples of this approach.

Using STP Marketing 

The STP marketing model forms the basis of a tailored marketing strategy. It can serve as a framework to help you transform the way you reach your customers. The STP model, ultimately, helps you identify the best way to connect with your target audience.

The four P’s of marketing – Place, Price, Product, and Promotion – can be a useful tool to get you started in implementing the STP model. Think about where you can reach your target customers, the price point that they are willing to pay for your unique product or service, and the types of promotion they like best.

The STP model can also be used to refine your brand’s image and build customer loyalty. For instance, let’s say you are a car manufacturer. STP marketing uses positioning maps to create an overview of the existing market. Positioning maps use variables. In the case of cars, these variables could be luxury or economy, the number of seats, and the type of car (sporty, hatchback, sedan etc).

Using the positioning maps, you can get a better sense of existing competition and any available gaps in the market. For example, positioning maps might reveal that there are very few economy family cars in the market, right now. Based on this information, you can position your product to fill the gap, and thus, have a better chance of convincing your target market to buy.

While STP marketing can be useful for businesses, it is important that you are using it in a sizeable market. If you are a startup with a very niche product, it might not be a good idea to invest in the STP model. When you are segmenting a very small audience, you run the risk of missing out on key customers.


STP marketing is a three-step strategy to transform your marketing from a one-size-fits-all approach to a more tailored and targeted effort. By defining your customers through segmentation and evaluating the economic potential of these groups, you can identify which segments to target, and how to position your brand to reach that segment. 

Accurate customer data is the starting point for STP marketing, and that’s where ironFocus can help. We offer tools that can help you identify the opportunities in your sales funnel. From identifying the segments with the most potential to helping you figure out the best positioning to reach that group, we can help you utilize the full potential of STP marketing. Ready to take your business to the next level? Contact us for a results-driven marketing approach.


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