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Recently a report on global B2C marketing automation company details the company’s burgeoning impact on the digital marketing industry. The report leverages on cloud services for all its marketing, focuses on the company’s core artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities, and firmly plants the company as a promising mid-market suite that reduces silos across the enterprise.
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A company’s strategy is the game plan business owners and management use to position their organization in its chosen market area, to compete successfully, satisfy customers, and achieve good business performance.
Business leaders at Top5Optimizers New Innovations pay attention to the developments in the world because they are intertwined with market forces that affect consumers and demand. They have to adapt their business strategy to a constantly shifting environment. Thus, learning from Peer To Peer Group makes it easy to learn and benefit in many ways.
Even the best marketing strategies need to be revisited, if not revised. Changes in the market environment can dramatically change the marketing mix and your product plans. Marketing strategy should be viewed as a process, which means that the best laid marketing plans will change sooner or later.
Strategic change can be caused by many forces; sometimes change is a threat while other times it can be an opportunity. It all depends on how your product or business is defined; additionally, how you react may be the biggest factor in your future success.
Sometimes the market evolves and the demand for an offering changes. For example, obesity is on a dramatic rise in North America; because of this people are becoming more "food label savvy" about calories, fat grams, sugar, carbohydrates, and protein. Fast food restaurants have had to respond with salad bars, better disclosure of nutritional information, and leaner products.
Another source of strategic change is technological innovation. As microprocessors increase in speed and processing ability, older personal computers quickly become obsolete. A more disruptive technological change might be the creation of the MP3 format and downloadable music. Music is now purchased one song at a time instead as albums of songs.
Occasionally, a market is redefined. This is often driven by competition or customer demand. Today, our fast paced culture demands a more personalized relationship with information, which has created wikis, blogs like this one, and the birth of IPTV (Internet Protocol Television). This new information content business allows the reader or viewer to get "personalized content" when they want it and where they want it.
Also, marketing channels change. Today the internet has changed the relationship of customers with providers. No longer dependent on the provider for education on products and services, the new consumer is more informed and sophisticated than ever. In fact, the consumer is more powerful and will get what they want or they will find another provider.
For the marketing strategist, the challenge is to anticipate the changes and take control of their destiny. The alternatives of delaying action or getting surprised can mean business failure.
As former GE CEO Jack Welch said, "Change before you have to".
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Market segmentation is widely defined as being a complex process consisting in two main phases:
- identification of broad, large markets
- segmentation of these markets in order to select the most appropriate target markets and develop Marketing mixes accordingly.
Everyone within the Marketing world knows and speaks of segmentation yet not many truly understand its underlying mechanics, thus failure is just around the corner. What causes this? It has been documented that most marketers fail the segmentation exam and start with a narrow mind and a bunch of misconceptions such as "all teenagers are rebels", "all elderly women buy the same cosmetics brands" and so on. There are many dimensions to be considered, and uncovering them is certainly an exercise of creativity.
The most widely employed model of market segmentation comprises 7 steps, each of them designed to encourage the marketer to come with a creative approach.
STEP 1: Identify and name the broad market
You have to have figured out by this moment what broad market your business aims at. If your company is already on a market, this can be a starting point; more options are available for a new business but resources would normally be a little limited.
The biggest challenge is to find the right balance for your business: use your experience, knowledge and common sense to estimate if the market you have just identified earlier is not too narrow or too broad for you.
STEP 2: Identify and make an inventory of potential customers' needs
This step pushes the creativity challenge even farther, since it can be compared to a brainstorming session.
What you have to figure out is what needs the consumers from the broad market identified earlier might have. The more possible needs you can come up with, the better.
Got yourself stuck in this stage of segmentation? Try to put yourself into the shoes of your potential customers: why would they buy your product, what could possibly trigger a buying decision? Answering these questions can help you list most needs of potential customers on a given product market.
STEP 3: Formulate narrower markets
McCarthy and Perreault suggest forming sub-markets around what you would call your "typical customer", then aggregate similar people into this segment, on the condition to be able to satisfy their needs using the same Marketing mix.
Start building a column with dimensions of the major need you try to cover: this will make it easier for you to decide if a given person should be included in the first segment or you should form a new segment. Also create a list of people-related features, demographics included, for each narrow market you form - a further step will ask you to name them.
There is no exact formula on how to form narrow markets: use your best judgement and experience. Do not avoid asking opinions even from non-Marketing professionals, as different people can have different opinions and you can usually count on at least those items most people agree on.
STEP 4: Identify the determining dimensions
Carefully review the list resulted form the previous step. You should have by now a list of need dimensions for each market segment: try to identify those that carry a determining power.
Reviewing the needs and attitudes of those you included within each market segment can help you figure out the determining dimensions.
STEP 5: Name possible segment markets
You have identified the determining dimensions of your market segments, now review them one by one and give them an appropriate name.
A good way of naming these markets is to rely on the most important determining dimension.
STEP 6: Evaluate the behavior of market segments
Once you are done naming each market segment, allow time to consider what other aspects you know about them. It is important for a marketer to understand market behavior and what triggers it. You might notice that, while most segments have similar needs, they're still different needs: understanding the difference and acting upon it is the key to achieve success using competitive offerings.
STEP 7: Estimate the size of each market segment
Each segment identified, named and studied during the previous stages should finally be given an estimate size, even if, for lack of data, it is only a rough estimate.
Estimates of market segments will come in handy later, by offering a support for sales forecasts and help plan the Marketing mix: the more data we can gather at this moment, the easier further planning and strategy will be.
These were the steps to segment a market, briefly presented. If performed correctly and thoroughly, you should now be able to have a glimpse of how to build Marketing mixes for each market segment.
This 7 steps approach to market segmentation is very simple and practical and works for most marketers. However, if you are curious about other methods and want to experiment, you should take a look at computer-aided techniques, such as clustering and positioning.
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