Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Marketing 101: Market Segmentation

In my overview of Customer Driven Targeted Marketing, I stated that no human being is like another. Two people may be very similar, but they will always be different consumers, influenced by different attitudes and beliefs. As marketers we have to accept the fact that we can't appeal to all types of buyers in the marketplace, and there is just no way to appeal to any two buyers in the exact same way.  I also stated that in order to achieve maximum value from consumers according to our working definition of marketing, we need to focus on the right target customers that will give us the right relationships that achieve maximum customer value and equity.  To do this we use Customer Drive Targeted Marketing.

Recall that a customer driven marketing strategy consists of four distinct "steps".  Let's focus on the first step: Segmentation.  Market Segmentation is defined as dividing a market into smaller groups that contain distinct needs, characteristics, or behaviors that may require distinct products, services and marketing mixes.  Because buyers have different wants, desires, needs, geographic locations, economic resources, buying attitudes, and buying practices, we use segmentation to divide markets into "pieces" that can be reached more effectively.  However, there is no one standard way to segment a market.  Marketers have to segment using multiple combinations of variables in order to find the best way to view the target market.

Marketers use many variables to segment a market.  The major variables we use can be divided into standard categories such as:

1) Geographic - includes world region or country, city or metro size, density, climate
2) Demographic - includes age, gender, family size, famliy life cycle, income level, occupation, education, religion, race, generation, nationality
3) Psychographic - includes social class, lifestyle, personality
4) Behavioral - includes special occassions, benefits, user status, user rates, lotalty status, purchase readiness stage, attitude towards products and brands

With so many variables available to marketers for the purposes of segmentation, it would be so easy just to pick on or two variables and "call it a day".  However, what experienced marketers know is that we rarely limit our segmentation analysis to one, two, or even a few variables.  Marketers are using more segmentation bases today than in the past in an effort to identify more focused groups of consumers.

However, using more variables does NOT guarantee that our segmentation base is effective.  In order for a segmentation to be effective, it must meet the following criteria:

Be Measurable
Be Accessible - The targeted customers can be actively reached and served.
Be Substantial - The targeted group is large enough and profitable enough size-wise to serve.
Be Differentiable - The targeted group is conceptually distinguishable and responds differently to different markeing mix elements and programs.
Be Actionable - The targeted group can be designed for attracting and servicing the segments.

Once we have defined and chosen our market segment, we can work on targeting the segment.  My next post will discuss targeting.


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