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What I realized today is that I like jewelry better than cookies. Over the past few days, I’ve been so lucky to receive such nice presents from so many people- most have been gifts of food, such as cookies, brownies, and so on. I am so appreciative of my colleagues, clients, and vendors who’ve chosen to celebrate in this way; it’s really nice to be cared for and remembered during the holidays.

Though, too, I must admit that the sheer volume of food streaming into my life through the mail was beginning to overwhelm me. Not just in terms of the process of acquiring these boxes- having to bring them in from the mailbox, open them, see what they are, determine if they needed refrigeration or special handling, then remembering to thank the person who sent them, and then recycling the boxes, and so on. And that’s even before I thought of “Do I really want to be eating this much over the next few weeks?”

If you’ve been following my updates on Facebook, you know that I’ve been working with a personal trainer since August, and have been doing so with great dedication and focus. With all the gifts of food and drink, I couldn’t help but think of it in terms of how much cardio I’d have to do to burn the calories off if I did eat something. Not that I won’t try the items, mind you, but just trying to keep in mind that I’m investing so much in my physical health right now that I don’t want to be derailed by a two week period of too much sugar.

So that’s the context for this post, which, while it sounds holiday related, it’s actually going to focus on market segmentation.

As I picked up yet another round of baked goods from my mailbox this morning, I began to reflect that I like jewelry better than cookies. Now, liking jewelry is almost a rule of being Indian, but this year, I’ve been blessed to be the recipient of some very beautiful custom made pieces of jewelry. In fact, one of these items arrived today, and I noted that while I was sort of dreading the unpacking of cookies, cakes, and brownies, I was so excited to receive the box with my custom made ring. I also got confirmation that another piece of jewelry is on its way to me. And that made me really happy too.

So what it got me thinking about is this idea of market segmentation. The concept of market segmentation in your business refers to separating out different people in your client base by certain characteristics. It’s a way of targeting your promotions and offers more closely, and, used well, can create a point of leverage and revenue inflow into your business.

There are several keys to completing a successful market segmentation process- but the one part of it I want to discuss here is that of evolving your products and services to meet the new needs of your existing market. This has been on my mind as I plan for the next year and see what packages, programs, and services I will offer.

In my business, I have two distinct client bases, but they overlap. What I see, clearly, is that there is a process of evolution, where my clients come in at one level, and then move to another. The question on my mind, lately, has been how to serve both groups of clients well, and intentionally. What I’m realizing is that my clients often come into my business needing one set of services (such as website optimization, search engine optimization, traffic generation) and this, over time, shifts to needing more services in the realm of strategic planning and broader range business coaching.

As a business owner, I’d be remiss if I wasn’t addressing both ends of my client need spectrum. In your own business, look at where your clients come in needing one service, and then where they move to. This will give you a sense of what products and services and packages to focus on more closely going forward.

Recognize that your clients will evolve, and your business is to grow your business to meet their existing needs, and the ones they are growing into.

Going back to cookies for a minute: last year, and the year before, when I wasn’t so laser-focused on my physical health- sending me cookies and brownies was probably a good way to target me. Now, though, as circumstances in my own life have changed, there are other ways to target me that will work better.

It’s the same in your business and with your clients.

As you look ahead to this next year and plan your products, programs, and services, pay attention to the clients who still want cookies, and those who are ready for something else entirely.