Apr 18, 2017
There’s a common joke about marketing being a mixture of guessing and smooth talking, but creating a marketing plan is in fact more of a science than an art (or a guess). In developing your marketing strategy, you can follow clear steps to achieve your finished product.
In the process of designing your marketing strategy, you may use the STP strategic approach: Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning. Segmentation is the segmenting or dividing of the audience into specific groups defined by differing characteristics, habits, behaviors, or other factors.Targeting involves the evaluation of each segment for its potential business growth and success, followed by the selection of a segment that appears to be most promising. Finally, positioning is made up of the marketing mix tailored for your product or service to that target segment along with product positioning.
While the entire strategy is useful and can produce significant results, in this particular blog, we will be focusing on the first: segmentation.
What is segmentation?
As stated above, segmentation is the process of dividing the audience into specific segments based on differing characteristics, habits, behaviors, etc. At this stage, business can follow a few different patterns. When using an undifferentiated approach, a brand may treat all people as the same because there is little difference between their brand and what other brands can offer. This usually occurs with items that we all use and need. When following a concentrated approach, a brand may focus completely on one segment while ignoring others (effectively leaving them to competitors). Finally, those using a differentiated approach will offer products or services specifically tailored to different segments based on their preferences. To give an example, a phone company may provide the latest iPhone for the segment driven by top quality, brand-name items, while also carrying cheaper, pre-owned and refurbished phones for their segment who is cost-sensitive.
Deciding How to Segment
When choosing how to segment your audience, you must be careful to base your segmentation on relevant, purchase-driving characteristics. For example, if you are a plumbing company, it would not be very relevant to segment your audience based on who prefers sweet foods to salty foods. While you may find that there are many different characteristics by which you could segment, you want to use the factors that will produce the most useful segments to which you can market. These segments can be formed based on demographics (location, age, gender, ethnicity, etc.), psychographics (personality and attitudes), purchasing behaviors, values, and more. Remember that the goal is to find more specific and accurate ways to market to your audience, so you want to divide your market up based on characteristics that will impact how they interact with your product or marketing.
Within the human population, we vary greatly with one another. To market the same to everyone outside of common commodities is to lack vision in marketing. By individualizing your marketing strategies, your marketing plan becomes more engaging for more customers. Plus, as your begin the segmentation process, new insights are discovered concerning commonalities or differences of which you were not previously aware. By acting according to your segmentation strategy, you can market more accurately on correct media platforms for your segments, with individualized messages, using more persuasive product positioning and promotions. To be able to do any of the marketing process correctly, segmentation must first be correctly executed.
With the crucial first step into the marketing process, you can set your business to continue with confidence and success. Watch for our next blog post about the next step: targeting.