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Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning: Introduction

SEGMENTATION

Segmentation means to divide the marketplace into parts, or segments, which are definable, accessible, actionable, and profitable and have a growth potential. In other words, a company would find it impossible to target the entire market, because of time, cost and effort restrictions. It needs to have a ‘definable’ segment – a mass of people who can be identified and targeted with reasonable effort, cost and time.

Once such a mass is identified, it has to be checked that this mass can actually be targeted with the resources at hand, or the segment should be accessible to the company. Beyond this, will the segment respond to marketing actions by the company (ads, prices, schemes, promos) or, is it actionable by the company? After this check, even though the product and the target are clear, is it profitable to sell to them? Is the number and value of the segment going to grow, such that the product also grows in sales and profits?

Segmentation takes on great significance in today’s cluttered marketplace, with thousands of products, media proliferation, ad-fatigue and general economic problems around the world markets. Rightly segmenting the market place can make the difference between successes and shut down for a company.

Segmentation allows a seller to closely tailor his product to the needs, desires, uses and paying ability of customers. It allows sellers to concentrate on their resources, money, time and effort on a profitable market, which will grow in numbers, usage and value.

TARGETING

Targeting in marketing is a strategy that breaks a large market into smaller segments to concentrate on a specific group of customers within that audience. It defines a segment of customers based on their unique characteristics and focuses solely on serving them.

Instead of trying to reach an entire market, a brand uses target marketing to put their energy into connecting with a specific, defined group within that market.

The types of target markets are often segmented by characteristics such as:

  • Demographics: age, gender, education, marital status, race, religion, etc.
  • Psychographics: values, beliefs, interests, personality, lifestyle, etc.
  • Business Industry: Business industry or vertical
  • Geographic Areas: neighborhood, area code, city, region, country, etc

Why Is Targeting in Marketing So Important?

Targeting in marketing is important because it’s a part of a holistic marketing strategy. It impacts advertising, as well as customer experience, branding, and business operations. When your company focuses on target market segmentation, you can do the following:

Speak directly to a defined audience. Marketing messages resonate more deeply with audiences when readers can relate directly to the information. Brands that have a large, varied market of customers often struggle with creating marketing campaigns that speak directly to their audience. Because their viewers are very different, few slogans or stories can resonate with each person on a personal level. Through target marketing, you can alleviate this problem and focus on crafting messages for one specific audience.

Attract and convert high-quality leads. When you speak directly to the people you want to target, you are more likely to attract the right people. Your marketing will more effectively reach the people most likely to want to do business with you. When you connect with the right people, you are then more likely to get high-quality, qualified leads that will turn into paying customers.

Differentiate your brand from competitors. When you stop trying to speak to every customer in your market and start focusing on a smaller segment of that audience, you also start to stand out from competitors in your industry. When customers can clearly identify with your brand and your unique selling propositions, they will choose you over a competitor that isn’t specifically speaking to or targeting them. You can use your positioning in marketing to make your brand more well-known and unique.

Build deeper customer loyalty. The ability to stand out from competitors by reaching your customers on a more personal, human level also creates longer-lasting relationships. When customers identify with your brand and feel like you are an advocate for their specific perspectives and needs, they will likely be more loyal to your brand and continue to do business with you over a longer period of time.

Improve products and services. Knowing your customers more intimately also helps you look at your products and services in a new way. When you have a deep understanding of your target audience, you can put yourself in their shoes and see how you can improve your offerings. You can see what features you can add to better serve your customers.

Stay focused. Finally, the benefit of using targeting in marketing is that it also serves to help your brand and team. Target marketing allows you to get more specific about your marketing strategies, initiatives, and direction of your brand. It helps you clarify your vision and get everyone in the organization on the same page. You have more direction when it comes to shaping upcoming plans for both marketing and the business as a whole. A focused approach helps you fully optimize your resources, time, and budget.

POSITIONING

A marketing strategy that aims to make a brand occupy a distinct position, relative to competing brands, in the mind of the customer. Companies apply this strategy either by emphasizing the distinguishing features of their brand (what it is, what it does and how, etc.) or they may try to create a suitable image (inexpensive or premium, utilitarian or luxurious, entry-level or high-end, etc.) through advertising. Once a brand is positioned, it is very difficult to reposition it without destroying its credibility. Also called product positioning.

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