Why Segmentation is the Key to Unlocking Growth for Your Textile Services Business

Many linen, uniform, and facility service companies have been operating for over 50 years. What is one thing that accumulates over all those years of servicing customers?


Commercial laundries know more about their customers than the average business-to-business company — who else is face-to-face with customers, often at multiple locations within their facilities, every single week? Unfortunately, we find that few of these businesses leverage this information in a meaningful way, even though it has the potential to streamline their marketing, sales, and customer renewal strategies — as well as substantially increase revenue.

If you want to increase your market share and the sales effectiveness in your uniform or facility service company, a good place to start is by tapping into the power of segmentation.

Review the numbers

A good segmentation strategy begins with a quantitative analysis of the customers who have been most profitable to your business. You have likely calculated a Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) in the past, but this average does not give you insight into the segments of your market that result in the highest return — or alert you to the ones with whom you barely break even at all.

At Cosgrove Partners, we use our proprietary data segmentation methodology to identify, down to the NAICS or SIC code, the top 20% of your customer base with the greatest opportunity for growth and revenue. We highlight the opportunities for clients to deepen relationships with the loyal, profitable customers they want most.

Review your customer and revenue data from the last 5 years, and you will likely identify some trends: Food and Beverage customers, for instance, are often more costly to your business than medical or industrial. Identify accounts with the highest CLV and profit and make note of the the commonalities between them, including:

  • Industry
  • Number of employees
  • Products or services purchased
  • Marketing or sales tactics used

These commonalities, also called “firmographic” data, will show your marketing and sales teams exactly where to focus their efforts to see the greatest return.

Understand the mindset

The numbers alone tell us a lot, but they do not paint the full picture of the potential for segmentation; marketing and sales is also about understanding consumer mindset. To develop a truly sound strategy, you must also assess the “psychographic” data. While firmographic data tells us “who” the company is, it does not tell us “why” they purchase from you (or a competitor). This analysis looks at the motivations, behaviors, and preferences of your existing customers and the prospects you hope to win.

Fortunately, textile businesses have better access to this information than other industries. Weekly routeman visits, high-touch sales and service teams, and well-established community presence affords you timely, well-rounded insights into the needs of your customers.

Collect this psychographic data using a two-pronged approach:

Internal – Develop a list of questions for each of your customer-facing departments: service, sales, and marketing, and gather their observations via a digital survey tool or through a series of interviews. Ask questions like:

  • What grievance or complaint do you most frequently hear from our Food & Beverage customers?
  • What are our competitors offering to prospective customers in the manufacturing segment that we currently are not offering?
  • Who within our customer accounts are engaging with our marketing messages most often?

External – Establish a list of customers that fall within the firmographic trends identified above, as well as those who have been doing business with you for the longest. Conduct a series of real-time customer interaction-interviews, surveys, and ride-alongs to understand their needs and level of satisfaction with your business. Review your findings to uncover the greatest opportunities for increased penetration and identify trends in their feedback.

Align the findings

Now, we will bring the data together; this is where you will see the power of segmentation at work. In order to increase revenue, your marketing and sales messages must resonate with your target customers and prospects in a way that is as personalized and relevant as possible. Armed with the numbers and the needs of your customers, you will have all the tools you need to develop a data-driven strategy to do just that.

For each industry or customer segment you wish to target, work left to right through this matrix:

By the time you reach the far right box, you will have clarity on exactly what messages each segment needs to hear and exactly what your teams need to know in order to begin targeting them. From there, you can launch segment-specific campaigns with the confidence that they will resonate with the customers proven to increase revenue the most.

As a textile business, you have some unique advantages when it comes to marketing and sales. Your teams know your market inside and out. They hear first-hand what your customers struggle with, which exposes what they value. This is powerful information, and when combined with an analysis of where your greatest profitability lies, you can confidently invest your resources in a way that’s data-driven, scalable, and effective.

In the capable hands of your team, your uniform or facility services business can leverage the power of segmentation for repeatable, consistent results with greater return than ever before.

Learn more about how we support linen, uniform, and facility service companies by clicking here.