Unbundling B2B Customer Segments

Added on by Alexander Osterwalder.

In business-to-business (B2B) we frequently see clients mapping out the companies they serve as customer profiles. That’s wrong. When you sell to a company, you sell to people. Those people can be categorized into different customer types with different jobs, pains, and gains. Those categories are the customer profiles you should map. Let me explain.  

Unbundling_Customer_Segments_Strategyzer

Companies don’t really buy or use your products and services in B2B. People do. That’s why it’s important to understand the most important categories of people involved in buying and using your products and services. We call that unbundling your customer. Steve Blank has a really useful distinction of "customer types” to distinguish between stakeholders involved in the search, evaluation, purchase, and use of a product or service.

Unbundling customers also applies to the family context. Think of, for example, the purchase of a Nintendo Switch: each family member involved is a different customer type. There’s an influencer and recommender (usually the children’s friends and the media), there’s the buyer with the budget (usually a parent), the decision maker (the parent or child who has the ultimate say), and the user (the kids and often the father - so much to clichés). You unbundle each of them into a seperate customer segment, identify the most important ones, and sketch out a Value Proposition Canvas with the jobs, pains, and gains for each.

Our Cloud Academy online course Mastering Value Proposition Design goes into more detail. Click the link below this post to learn more.