Chapter 7: Market Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning | |
|[pic] |What's Ahead |
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| |Market Segmentation |
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| |Levels of Market Segmentation |
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| |Segmenting Consumer Markets |
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| |Segmenting Business Markets |
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| |Segmenting International Markets |
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| |Requirements for Effective Segmentation |
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| |Market Targeting |
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| |Evaluating Market Segments |
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| |Selecting Market Segments |
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| |Socially Responsible Target Marketing |
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| |Positioning for Competitive Advantage |
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| |Choosing a Positioning Strategy |
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| |Communicating and Delivering the Chosen Position |
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| |Chapter Wrap-Up |
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|What's Ahead |[pic] |
Procter & Gamble (P&G) sells eight brands of laundry detergent in the United States (Tide, Cheer, Bold, Gain, Era, Oxydol, Dreft, and Ivory Snow). It also sells six brands each of hand soap (Ivory, Safeguard, Camay, Oil of Olay, Zest, Coast) and shampoo (Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Ivory, Pert Plus, Vidal Sassoon, and Prell); four brands each of liquid dishwashing detergent (Dawn, Ivory, Joy, and Cascade), toothpaste (Crest, Gleam, Complete, and Denquel), and tissues and towels (Charmin, Bounty, Puffs, Royale); three brands each of floor cleaner (Spic & Span, Top Job, and Mr. Clean), deodorant (Secret, Sure, and Old Spice), and skin care potions (Oil of Olay, Noxema, and Clearasil); and two brands each of fabric softener (Downy and Bounce), disposable diapers (Pampers and Luvs), and cosmetics (Cover Girl and Max Factor). Moreover, P&G has many additional brands in each category for different international markets. For example, it sells 16 different laundry product brands in Latin America and 19 in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. (See Procter & Gamble's Web site at pg.com for a full glimpse of the company's impressive lineup of familiar brands.)
These P&G brands compete with one another on the same supermarket shelves. But why would P&G introduce several brands in one category instead of concentrating its resources on a single leading brand? The answer lies in the fact that different people want different mixes of benefits from the products they buy. Take laundry detergents as an example. People use laundry detergents to get their clothes clean. But they also want other things from their detergents—such as economy, bleaching power, fabric softening, fresh smell, strength or mildness, and lots of suds or only a few. We all want some of every one of these benefits from our detergent, but we may have different priorities for each benefit. To some people, cleaning and bleaching power are most important; to others, fabric softening matters most; still others want a mild, fresh-scented detergent. Thus, there are groups—or segments—of laundry detergent buyers, and each segment seeks a special combination of benefits.
Procter & Gamble has identified at least eight important laundry detergent segments, along with numerous subsegments, and has developed a different brand designed to meet the special needs of each. The eight P&G brands are positioned for different segments as follows:
• Tide "helps keep clothes looking like new." It's the all-purpose family detergent that is "tough on greasy stains." Tide with Bleach is "so powerful, it whitens down to the fiber."
• Cheer with Triple Color Guard is the "color expert." It guards against fading, color transfer, and fuzzy buildup. Cheer Free is "dermatologist tested . . . contains no irritating perfume or dye."
• Bold is the detergent with built-in fabric softener. It's "for clean, soft, fresh-smelling clothes." Bold liquid adds "the fresh fabric softener scent."
• Gain, originally P&G's "enzyme" detergent, was repositioned as the detergent that gives you clean, fresh-smelling clothes. It "cleans and freshens like sunshine. It's not just plain clean, it's Gain clean."
• Era has "built-in stain removers." It's "the power tool for stains."
• Oxydol contains "stain-seeking bleach." It "combines the cleaning power of detergents with the whitening power of nonchlorine bleach, so your whites sparkle and your clothes look bright." So "don't reach for the bleach—grab a box of Ox!"
• Dreft also "helps remove tough baby stains . . . for a clean you can trust." It's "pediatrician recommended and the first choice of mothers." It "doesn't remove the flame resistance of children's sleepwear."
• Ivory Snow is "ninety-nine and forty-four one hundredths percent pure." It "gently cleans fine washables and baby clothes . . . leaving them feeling soft." It provides "safe and gentle care in the gentle cycle."
Within each segment, Procter & Gamble has identified even narrower niches. For example, you can buy regular Tide (in powder or liquid form) or any of several formulations:
• Tide with Bleach helps to "keep your whites white and your colors bright," "kills 99.9 percent of bacteria."
• Tide Clean Rinse "goes beyond stain removal to prevent dingy buildup on clothes."
• Tide Mountain Spring lets you "bring the fresh clean scent of the great outdoors inside—the scent of crisp mountain air and fresh wildflowers."
• Tide High Efficiency is "formulated for high efficiency top-loading machines"—it prevents oversudsing.
• Tide Free "provides all the stain removal benefits without any dyes or perfumes."
By segmenting the market and having several detergent brands, Procter & Gamble has an attractive offering for consumers in all important preference groups. As a result, P&G is really cleaning up in the $4.3 billion U.S. laundry detergent market. Tide, by itself, captures a whopping 38 percent market share. All P&G brands combined take a 57 percent share of the market—two and one-half times that of nearest rival Unilever and much more than any single brand could obtain by itself.1
Companies today recognize that they cannot appeal to all buyers in the marketplace, or at least not to all buyers in the same way. Buyers are too numerous, too widely scattered, and too varied in their needs and buying practices. Moreover, the companies themselves vary widely in their abilities to serve different segments of the market. Rather than trying to compete in an entire market, sometimes against superior competitors, each company must identify the parts of the market that it can serve best and most profitably.
Thus, most companies are being more choosy about the customers with whom they wish to connect. Most have moved away from mass marketing and toward market segmentation and targeting—identifying market segments, selecting one or more of them, and developing products and marketing programs tailored to each. Instead of scattering their marketing efforts (the "shotgun" approach), firms are focusing on the buyers who have greater interest in the values they create best (the "rifle" approach).
Figure 7.1 shows the three major steps in target marketing. The first is market segmentation—dividing a market into smaller groups of buyers with distinct needs, characteristics, or behaviors who might require separate products or marketing mixes. The company identifies different ways to segment the market and develops profiles of the resulting market segments. The second step is market targeting—evaluating each market segment's attractiveness and selecting one or more of the market segments to enter. The third step is market positioning—setting the competitive positioning for the product and creating a detailed marketing mix. We discuss each of these steps in turn.
|[p|Figure 7.1 |Steps in market segmentation, targeting, and positioning |
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|[pic|[|Market Segmentation |[|
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Markets consist of buyers, and buyers differ in one or more ways. They may differ in their wants, resources, locations, buying attitudes, and buying practices. Through market segmentation, companies divide large, heterogeneous markets into smaller segments that can be reached more efficiently and effectively with products and services that match their unique needs. In this section, we discuss five important segmentation topics: levels of market segmentation, segmenting consumer markets, segmenting business markets, segmenting international markets, and requirements for effective segmentation.
Levels of Market Segmentation
BECAUSE BUYERS HAVE UNIQUE NEEDS AND WANTS, EACH BUYER IS POTENTIALLY A SEPARATE MARKET. IDEALLY, THEN, A SELLER MIGHT DESIGN A SEPARATE MARKETING PROGRAM FOR EACH BUYER. HOWEVER, ALTHOUGH SOME COMPANIES ATTEMPT TO SERVE BUYERS INDIVIDUALLY, MANY OTHERS FACE LARGER NUMBERS OF SMALLER BUYERS AND DO NOT FIND COMPLETE SEGMENTATION WORTHWHILE. INSTEAD, THEY LOOK FOR BROADER CLASSES OF BUYERS WHO DIFFER IN THEIR PRODUCT NEEDS OR BUYING RESPONSES. THUS, MARKET SEGMENTATION CAN BE CARRIED OUT AT SEVERAL DIFFERENT LEVELS. FIGURE 7.2 SHOWS THAT COMPANIES CAN PRACTICE NO SEGMENTATION (MASS MARKETING), COMPLETE SEGMENTATION (MICROMARKETING), OR SOMETHING IN BETWEEN (SEGMENT MARKETING OR NICHE MARKETING).
|[p|Figure 7.2 |Levels of marketing segmentation |
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Companies have not always practiced target marketing. In fact, for most of the 1900s, major consumer products companies held fast to mass marketing—mass producing, mass distributing, and mass promoting about the same product in about the same way to all consumers. Henry Ford epitomized this marketing strategy when he offered the Model T Ford to all buyers; they could have the car "in any color as long as it is black." Similarly, Coca-Cola at one time produced only one drink for the whole market, hoping it would appeal to everyone.
The traditional argument for mass marketing is that it creates the largest potential market, which leads to the lowest costs, which in turn can translate into either lower prices or higher margins. However, many factors now make mass marketing more difficult. For example, the world's mass markets have slowly splintered into a profusion of smaller segments—the baby boomers here, the GenXers there; here the Hispanic segment, there the African American segment; here working women, there single parents; here the Sun Belt, there the Rust Belt. Today, marketers find it very hard to create a single product or program that appeals to all of these diverse groups.
The proliferation of distribution channels and advertising media has also made it difficult to practice "one-size-fits-all" marketing. Today's consumers can shop at megamalls, superstores, or specialty shops; through mail catalogs or virtual stores on the Internet. They are bombarded with messages delivered via media ranging from old standards such as television, radio, magazines, newspapers, and telephone to newcomers like the Internet, fax, and e-mail. No wonder some have claimed that mass marketing is dying. Not surprisingly, many companies are retreating from mass marketing and turning to segmented marketing.
A company that practices segment marketing isolates broad segments that make up a market and adapts its offers to more closely match the needs of one or more segments. Thus, Marriott markets to a variety of segments—business travelers, families, and others—with packages adapted to their varying needs. GM has designed specific models for different income and age groups. In fact, it sells models for segments with varied combinations of age and income. For instance, GM designed its Buick Park Avenue for older, higher-income consumers.
Segment marketing offers several benefits over mass marketing. The company can market more efficiently, targeting its products or services, channels, and communications programs toward only consumers that it can serve best and most profitably. The company can also market more effectively by fine-tuning its products, prices, and programs to the needs of carefully defined segments. The company may face fewer competitors if fewer competitors are focusing on this market segment.
|[pic] |[pic] |
|Segment marketing: Marriott markets to a variety of segments with packages adapted to their varying needs. Here it offers |
|the business traveler a "king-sized desk, an ergonomic chair, and outlets and dataports at eye level." For the family |
|traveler, it offers "Together time from Marriott: Kids eat and stay free." |
Market segments are normally large, identifiable groups within a market—for example, luxury car buyers, performance car buyers, utility car buyers, and economy car buyers. Niche marketing focuses on subgroups within these segments. A niche is a more narrowly defined group, usually identified by dividing a segment into subsegments or by defining a group with a distinctive set of traits who may seek a special combination of benefits. For example, the utility vehicles segment might include light-duty pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs). The sport utility vehicles subsegment might be further divided into standard SUV (as served by Ford and Chevrolet) and luxury SUV (as served by Lincoln and Lexus) niches.
Whereas segments are fairly large and normally attract several competitors, niches are smaller and normally attract only one or a few competitors. Niche marketers presumably understand their niches' needs so well that their customers willingly pay a price premium. For example, the luxurious Bentley gets a high price for its cars because its loyal buyers feel that no other automobile comes close to offering the product–service–membership benefits that Bentley does.
Niching offers smaller companies an opportunity to compete by focusing their limited resources on serving niches that may be unimportant to or overlooked by larger competitors. However, large companies also serve niche markets. For example, American Express offers not only its traditional green cards but also gold cards, corporate cards, and even platinum cards aimed at a niche consisting of the top-spending 1 percent of its 28 million cardholders.2 Nike makes athletic gear for basketball, running, and soccer but also for smaller niches such as biking and street hockey.
In many markets today, niches are the norm. As an advertising agency executive observed, "There will be no market for products that everybody likes a little, only for products that somebody likes a lot." Other experts assert that companies will have to "niche or be niched."3
Segment and niche marketers tailor their offers and marketing programs to meet the needs of various market segments. At the same time, however, they do not customize their offers to each individual customer. Thus, segment marketing and niche marketing fall between the extremes of mass marketing and micromarketing. Micromarketing is the practice of tailoring products and marketing programs to suit the tastes of specific individuals and locations. Micromarketing includes local marketing and individual marketing.
Local marketing involves tailoring brands and promotions to the needs and wants of local customer groups—cities, neighborhoods, and even specific stores. Thus, retailers such as Sears and Wal-Mart routinely customize each store's merchandise and promotions to match its specific clientele. Citibank provides different mixes of banking services in its branches depending on neighborhood demographics. Kraft helps supermarket chains identify the specific cheese assortments and shelf positioning that will optimize cheese sales in low-income, middle-income, and high-income stores and in different ethnic communities.
Local marketing has some drawbacks. It can drive up manufacturing and marketing costs by reducing economies of scale. It can also create logistics problems as companies try to meet the varied requirements of different regional and local markets. Further, a brand's overall image might be diluted if the product and message vary too much in different localities. Still, as companies face increasingly fragmented markets, and as new supporting technologies develop, the advantages of local marketing often outweigh the drawbacks. Local marketing helps a company to market more effectively in the face of pronounced regional and local differences in community demographics and lifestyles. It also meets the needs of the company's first-line customers—retailers—who prefer more fine-tuned product assortments for their neighborhoods.
In the extreme, micromarketing becomes individual marketing—tailoring products and marketing programs to the needs and preferences of individual customers. Individual marketing has also been labeled one-to-one marketing, customized marketing, and markets-of-one marketing.4
The widespread use of mass marketing has obscured the fact that for centuries consumers were served as individuals: The tailor custom-made the suit, the cobbler designed shoes for the individual, the cabinetmaker made furniture to order. Today, however, new technologies are permitting many companies to return to customized marketing. More powerful computers, detailed databases, robotic production and flexible manufacturing, and immediate and interactive communication media such as e-mail, fax, and the Internet—all have combined to foster "mass customization." Mass customization is the process through which firms interact one-to-one with masses of customers to design products and services tailor-made to individual needs.
Thus, Dell Computer can deliver computers to individual customers loaded with customer-specified hardware and software. Peapod, the online grocery shopping and delivery service, lets customers create the virtual supermarket that best fits their individual needs. Ritz-Carlton Hotels creates custom-designed experiences for its delighted guests:
Check into any Ritz-Carlton hotel around the world, and you'll be amazed at how well the hotel's employees anticipate your slightest need. Without ever asking, they seem to know that you want a nonsmoking room with a king-size bed, a nonallergenic pillow, and breakfast with decaffeinated coffee in your room. How does Ritz-Carlton work this magic? The hotel employs a system that combines information technology and flexible operations to customize the hotel experience. At the heart of the system is a huge customer database, which contains information about guests gathered through the observations of hotel employees. Each day, hotel staffers—from those at the front desk to those in maintenance and housekeeping—discreetly record the unique habits, likes, and dislikes of each guest on small "guest preference pads." These observations are then transferred to a corporatewide "guest history database." Every morning, a "guest historian" at each hotel reviews the files of all new arrivals who have previously stayed at a Ritz-Carlton and prepares a list of suggested extra touches that might delight each guest. Guests have responded strongly to such markets-of-one service. Since inaugurating the guest-history system in 1992, Ritz-Carlton has boosted guest retention by 23 percent. An amazing 95 percent of departing guests report that their stay has been a truly memorable experience.
Business-to-business marketers are also finding new ways to customize their offerings. For example, Becton-Dickinson, a major medical supplier, offers to customize almost anything for its hospital customers. It offers custom-designed labeling, individual packaging, customized quality control, customized computer software, and customized billing. Motorola salespeople use a handheld computer to custom-design pagers following individual business customer wishes. The design data are transmitted to the Motorola factory and production starts within 17 minutes. The customized pagers are ready for shipment within two hours. John Deere manufactures seeding equipment that can be configured in more than 2 million versions to individual customer specifications. The seeders are produced one at a time, in any sequence, on a single production line.5
The move toward individual marketing mirrors the trend in consumer self-marketing. Increasingly, individual customers are taking more responsibility for determining which products and brands to buy. Consider two business buyers with two different purchasing styles. The first sees several salespeople, each trying to persuade him to buy his or her product. The second sees no salespeople but rather logs onto the Internet; searches for information on available products; interacts electronically with various suppliers, users, and product analysts; and then makes up her own mind about the best offer. The second purchasing agent has taken more responsibility for the buying process, and the marketer has had less influence over her buying decision.
As the trend toward more interactive dialogue and less advertising monologue continues, self-marketing will grow in importance. As more buyers look up consumer reports, join Internet product discussion forums, and place orders via phone or online, marketers will have to influence the buying process in new ways. They will need to involve customers more in all phases of the product development and buying processes, increasing opportunities for buyers to practice self-marketing. We will examine the trends toward one-to-one marketing and self-marketing further in chapter 17.
|[pic] |Consider another example of how consumer product companies can practice individual marketing. |
[pic]Segmenting Consumer Markets
THERE IS NO SINGLE WAY TO SEGMENT A MARKET. A MARKETER HAS TO TRY DIFFERENT SEGMENTATION VARIABLES, ALONE AND IN COMBINATION, TO FIND THE BEST WAY TO VIEW THE MARKET STRUCTURE. TABLE 7.1 OUTLINES THE MAJOR VARIABLES THAT MIGHT BE USED IN SEGMENTING CONSUMER MARKETS. HERE WE LOOK AT THE MAJOR GEOGRAPHIC, DEMOGRAPHIC, PSYCHOGRAPHIC, AND BEHAVIORAL VARIABLES.
|[pi|Table 7.1 |Major Segmentation Variables for Consumer Markets |
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|World region or country |
|North America, Western Europe, Middle East, Pacific Rim, China, India, Canada, Mexico |
|Country region |
|Pacific, Mountain, West North Central, West South Central, East North Central, East South Central, South Atlantic, Middle |
|Atlantic, New England |
|City or metro size |
|Under 5,000; 5,000–20,000; 20,000–50,000; 50,000–100,000; 100,000–250,000; 250,000–500,000; 500,000–1,000,000; |
|1,000,000–4,000,000; 4,000,000 or over |
|Urban, suburban, rural |
|Northern, southern |
|Under 6, 6–11, 12–19, 20–34, 35–49, 50–64, 651 |
|Male, female |
|Family size |
|1–2, 3–4, 51 |
|Family life cycle |
|Young, single; young, married, no children; young, married with children; older, married with children; older, married, no|
|children under 18; older, single; other |
|Under $10,000; $10,000–$20,000; $20,000–$30,000; $30,000–$50,000; $50,000–$100,000; $100,000 and over |
|Professional and technical; managers, officials, and proprietors; clerical, sales; craftspeople; supervisors; operatives; |
|farmers; retired; students; homemakers; unemployed |
|Grade school or less; some high school; high school graduate; some college; college graduate |
|Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, other |
|Asian, Hispanic, Black, White |
|Baby boomer, Generation X, echo boomer |
|North American, South American, British, French, German, Italian, Japanese |
|Social class |
|Lower lowers, upper lowers, working class, middle class, upper middles, lower uppers, upper uppers |
|Achievers, strivers, strugglers |
|Compulsive, gregarious, authoritarian, ambitious |
|Regular occasion, special occasion |
|Quality, service, economy, convenience, speed |
|User status |
|Nonuser, ex-user, potential user, first-time user, regular user |
|Usage rate |
|Light user, medium user, heavy user |
|Loyalty status |
|None, medium, strong, absolute |
|Readiness stage |
|Unaware, aware, informed, interested, desirous, intending to buy |
|Attitude toward product |
|Enthusiastic, positive, indifferent, negative, hostile |
Geographic segmentation calls for dividing the market into different geographical units such as nations, regions, states, counties, cities, or neighborhoods. A company may decide to operate in one or a few geographical areas, or to operate in all areas but pay attention to geographical differences in needs and wants.
Many companies today are localizing their products, advertising, promotion, and sales efforts to fit the needs of individual regions, cities, and even neighborhoods. For example, Campbell sells Cajun gumbo soup in Louisiana and Mississippi and makes its nacho cheese soup spicier in Texas and California. P&G sells Ariel laundry detergent primarily in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Miami, and south Texas—areas with larger concentrations of Hispanic consumers. In the South, where customers tend to arrive later in the day and stay longer, Starbucks offers more desserts and larger, more comfortable coffee shops.6
Other companies are seeking to cultivate as-yet untapped territory. For example, many large companies are fleeing the fiercely competitive major cities and suburbs to set up shop in small-town America. Hampton Inns has opened a chain of smaller-format motels in towns too small for its standard-size units. For example, Townsend, Tennessee, with a population of only 329, is small even by small-town standards. But looks can be deceiving. Situated on a heavily traveled and picturesque route between Knoxville and the Smoky Mountains, the village serves both business and vacation travelers. Hampton Inns opened a unit in Townsend and plans to open 100 more in small towns. It costs less to operate in these towns, and the company builds smaller units to match lower volume. The Townsend Hampton Inn, for example, has 54 rooms instead of the usual 135. Retailers from Home Depot to Saks Fifth Avenue are following suit. For example, Home Depot is testing four pint-size Villager's Hardware stores in New Jersey. Saks is implementing a new "Main Street" strategy, opening smaller stores in affluent suburbs and small towns that cannot support full-line Saks stores. Its new store in Greenwich, Connecticut, is less than one-third the size of regular stores found in malls and big cities.7
|[pic] |[pic] |
|Geographic segmentation: Home Depot is opening pint-size Villager's Hardware shops in smaller towns. |
Demographic segmentation divides the market into groups based on variables such as age, gender, family size, family life cycle, income, occupation, education, religion, race, and nationality. Demographic factors are the most popular bases for segmenting customer groups. One reason is that consumer needs, wants, and usage rates often vary closely with demographic variables. Another is that demographic variables are easier to measure than most other types of variables. Even when market segments are first defined using other bases, such as benefits sought or behavior, their demographic characteristics must be known in order to assess the size of the target market and to reach it efficiently.
Age and Life-Cycle Stage
Consumer needs and wants change with age. Some companies use age and life-cycle segmentation, offering different products or using different marketing approaches for different age and life-cycle groups. For example, McDonald's targets children, teens, adults, and seniors with different ads and media. Its ads to teens feature dance-beat music, adventure, and fast-paced cutting from scene to scene; ads to seniors are softer and more sentimental. Procter & Gamble boldly targets its Oil of Olay ProVital Series subbrand at women over 50 years of age. It's "specially designed to meet the increased moisturization needs of more mature skin."8
Sega, the computer games giant, which has typically focused on the teen market, is now targeting older customers. According to a Sega licensing executive, Sega's core market of 10- to 18-year-olds "sit in their bedrooms playing games for hours." Then, however, "they turn 18 and discover girls . . . and the computer gets locked away." To retain these young customers as they move into new life-cycle stages, Sega is launching a range of products for adults under its Sega Sports brand, including clothing, shoes, watches, and sports equipment such as Sega Sports–;branded footballs and basketballs.9
Marketers must be careful to guard against stereotypes when using age and life-cycle segmentation. For example, although some 70-year-olds require wheelchairs, others play tennis. Similarly, whereas some 40-year-old couples are sending their children off to college, others are just beginning new families. Thus, age is often a poor predictor of a person's life cycle, health, work or family status, needs, and buying power. Companies marketing to mature consumers usually employ positive images and appeals. For example, ads for Oil of Olay ProVital feature attractive older spokeswomen and uplifting messages. "Many women 50 and older have told us that as they age, they feel more confident, wiser, and freer than ever before," observes Olay's marketing director. "These women are redefining beauty."10
Gender segmentation has long been used in clothing, cosmetics, toiletries, and magazines. For example, Procter & Gamble was among the first with Secret, a brand specially formulated for a woman's chemistry, packaged and advertised to reinforce the female image. Recently, other marketers have noticed opportunities for gender segmentation. For example, Merrill Lynch offers a Financial Handbook for Women Investors who want to "shape up their finances." Owens-Corning consciously aimed a major advertising campaign for home insulation at women after its study on women's role in home improvement showed that two-thirds were involved in materials installation, with 13 percent doing it themselves. Half the women surveyed compared themselves to Bob Vila, whereas less than half compared themselves to Martha Stewart.11
The automobile industry also uses gender segmentation extensively. Women buy half of all new cars sold in the United States and influence 80 percent of all new car purchasing decisions. "Selling to women should be no different than selling to men," notes one analyst. "But there are subtleties that make a difference." Women have different frames, less upper-body strength, and greater safety concerns. To address these issues, automakers are designing cars with hoods and trunks that are easier to open, seat belts that fit women better, and an increased emphasis on safety features. Male car designers at Cadillac now go about their work with paper clips on their fingers to simulate what it feels like to operate buttons, knobs, and other interior features with longer fingernails. The Cadillac Catera features an air-conditioned glove box to preserve such items as lipstick and film. Under the hood, yellow markings highlight where fluid fills go.12
A growing number of Web sites also target women. For example, the Girls On Network appeals to 18- to 34-year-old women with hip, twenty somethings-style film, television, and book reviews and features. After only two years, this site has 100,000 members and averages 5 million page views per month. The leading women's online community, iVillage, offers "real solutions for real women" and entreats visitors to "Join our community of smart, compassionate, real women." Various iVillage channels cover topics ranging from babies, food, fitness, pets, and relationships to careers, finance, and travel. The site now claims a membership of more than 1 million women across a broad demographic spectrum.13
Income segmentation has long been used by the marketers of products and services such as automobiles, boats, clothing, cosmetics, financial services, and travel. Many companies target affluent consumers with luxury goods and convenience services. Stores such as Neiman Marcus pitch everything from expensive jewelry and fine fashions to glazed Australian apricots priced at $20 a pound. Prada's hot-selling black vinyl backpack sells for $450, and a front-row seat at a New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden goes for $1,000.14
However, not all companies that use income segmentation target the affluent. Despite their lower spending power, the 25 percent of the nation's households that earn less that $25,000 per year offer an attractive market. For example, Greyhound Lines, with its inexpensive nationwide bus network, targets lower-income consumers. Almost half of its revenues come from people with annual incomes under $15,000. Many retailers also target this group, including chains such as Family Dollar, Dollar General, and Dollar Tree stores. When Family Dollar real estate experts scout locations for new stores, they look for lower-middle-class neighborhoods where people wear less expensive shoes and drive old cars that drip a lot of oil. The typical Family Dollar customer's household earns about $25,000 a year, and the average customer spends only about $8 per trip to the store. Yet the store's low-income strategy has made it one of the most profitable discount chains in the country.15
|[pic] |Take a moment to watch a group of managers discuss segmentation and targeting strategies. |
Psychographic segmentation divides buyers into different groups based on social class, lifestyle, or personality characteristics. People in the same demographic group can have very different psychographic makeups.
In chapter 5, we discussed how the products people buy reflect their lifestyles. As a result, marketers often segment their markets by consumer lifestyles. For example, Duck Head apparel targets a casual student lifestyle claiming, "You can't get them old until you get them new." One forward-looking grocery store found that segmenting its self-service meat products by lifestyle had a big payoff:
Walk by the refrigerated self-service meat cases of most grocery stores and you'll usually find the offering grouped by type of meat. Pork is here, lamb is there, and chicken is over there. However, a Nashville, Tennessee, Kroger supermarket decided to experiment and offer groupings of different meats by lifestyle. For instance, the store had a section called "Meals in Minutes," one called "Cookin' Lite," another, filled with prepared products like hot dogs and ready-made hamburger patties, called "Kids Love This Stuff," and one called "I Like to Cook." By focusing on lifestyle needs and not on protein categories, Kroger's test store encouraged habitual beef and pork buyers to consider lamb and veal as well. As a result, the 16-foot service case has seen a substantial improvement in both sales and profits.16
Marketers also have used personality variables to segment markets. For example, the marketing campaign for Honda's Helix and Elite motor scooters appears to target hip and trendy 22-year-olds. But it is actually aimed at a much broader personality group. One ad, for example, shows a delighted child bouncing up and down on his bed while the announcer says, "You've been trying to get there all your life." The ad reminds viewers of the euphoric feelings they got when they broke away from authority and did things their parents told them not to do. It suggests that they can feel that way again by riding a Honda scooter. Thus, Honda is appealing to the rebellious, independent kid in all of us. As Honda notes on its Web page, "Fresh air, freedom, and flair—on a Honda scooter, every day is independence day!" In fact, more than half of Honda's scooter sales are to young professionals and older buyers—15 percent are purchased by the over-50 group.17
|Lifestyle segmentation: Duck Head targets a casual student lifestyle, claiming, "You can't get them old until you get them|
Behavioral segmentation divides buyers into groups based on their knowledge, attitudes, uses, or responses to a product. Many marketers believe that behavior variables are the best starting point for building market segments.
Buyers can be grouped according to occasions when they get the idea to buy, actually make their purchase, or use the purchased item. Occasion segmentation can help firms build up product usage. For example, orange juice is most often consumed at breakfast, but orange growers have promoted drinking orange juice as a cool and refreshing drink at other times of the day. In contrast, Coca-Cola's "Coke in the Morning" advertising campaign attempts to increase Coke consumption by promoting the beverage as an early morning pick-me-up. Some holidays, such as Mother's Day and Father's Day, were originally promoted partly to increase the sale of candy, flowers, cards, and other gifts. Many food marketers prepare special offers and ads for holiday occasions. For example, Beatrice Foods runs special Thanksgiving and Christmas ads for Reddi-wip during November and December, months that account for 30 percent of all whipped cream sales.
Kodak, Konica, Fuji, and other camera makers use occasion segmentation in designing and marketing their single-use cameras. By mixing lenses, film speeds, and accessories, they have developed special disposable cameras for about any picture-taking occasion, from underwater photography to taking baby pictures.
Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon? Try Konica's Panoramic, which features a 17mm lens that takes in nearly 100 degrees horizontally. Going rafting, skiing, or snorkeling? You need Kodak's Max Sport, a rugged camera that can be used underwater to 14 feet. It has big knobs and buttons that let you use it with gloves. Want some pictures of the baby? Kodak offers a model equipped with a short focal-length lens and fast film requiring less light for parents who would like to take snapshots of their darlings without the disturbing flash. Need to check out your golf swing? Just point and shoot the QuickSnap Golf disposable camera, which snaps off eight frames per click showing how your body and club do during the swing. In one Japanese catalog aimed at young women, Kodak sells a package of five pastel-colored cameras, including a version with a fish-eye lens to create a rosy, romantic glow.18
|Occasion segmentation: Beatrice Foods runs special Thanksgiving and Christmas ads for Reddi-wip during November and |
|December, months that account for 30 percent of all whipped cream sales. |
A powerful form of segmentation is to group buyers according to the different benefits that they seek from the product. Benefit segmentation requires finding the major benefits people look for in the product class, the kinds of people who look for each benefit, and the major brands that deliver each benefit. For example, one study of the benefits derived from travel uncovered three major market segments: those who travel to get away and be with family, those who travel for adventure or educational purposes, and people who enjoy the "gambling" and "fun" aspects of travel.19
One of the best examples of benefit segmentation was conducted in the toothpaste market (see Table 7.2). Research found four benefit segments: economic, medicinal, cosmetic, and taste. Each benefit group had special demographic, behavioral, and psychographic characteristics. For example, the people seeking to prevent decay tended to have large families, were heavy toothpaste users, and were conservative. Each segment also favored certain brands. Most current brands appeal to one of these segments. For example, Crest toothpaste stresses protection and appeals to the family segment, whereas Aim looks and tastes good and appeals to children.
|[pic|Table 7.2 |Benefit Segmentation of the Toothpaste Market |
|] | | |
|Benefit Segments |
|Brands Favored |
|(low price) |
|Heavy users |
|High autonomy, |
|value oriented |
|Brands on sale |
|(decay prevention) |
|Large families |
|Heavy users |
|Hypochondriacal, conservative |
|(bright teeth) |
|Teens, young adults |
|High sociability, active |
|Aqua-Fresh, Ultra Brite |
|(good tasting) |
|Spearmint lovers |
|High self-involvement hedonistic |
|Colgate, Aim |
|Source: Adapted from Russell J. Haley, "Benefit Segmentation: A Decision-Oriented Research Tool," Journal of Marketing, |
|July 1968, pp. 30–;35. Also see Haley, "Benefit Segmentation: Backwards and Forwards," Journal of Advertising Research, |
|February–;March 1984, pp. 19–;25; and Haley, "Benefit Segmentation—20 Years Later," Journal of Consumer Marketing Vol. 1, |
|1984, pp. 5–;14. |
Markets can be segmented into groups of nonusers, ex-users, potential users, first-time users, and regular users of a product. For example, one study found that blood donors are low in self-esteem, low risk takers, and more highly concerned about their health; nondonors tend to be the opposite on all three dimensions. This suggests that social agencies should use different marketing approaches for keeping current donors and attracting new ones. A company's market position also influences its focus. Market share leaders focus on attracting potential users, whereas smaller firms focus on attracting current users away from the market leader.
Markets can also be segmented into light, medium, and heavy product users. Heavy users are often a small percentage of the market but account for a high percentage of total consumption. Marketers usually prefer to attract one heavy user to their product or service rather than several light users. For example, a recent study of U.S.-branded ice cream buyers showed that heavy users make up only 18 percent of all buyers but consume 55 percent of all the ice cream sold. On average, these heavy users pack away 13 gallons of ice cream per year versus only 2.4 gallons for light users. Similarly, a travel industry study showed that frequent users of travel agents for vacation travel are more involved, more innovative, more knowledgeable, and more likely to be opinion leaders than less frequent users. Heavy users take more trips and gather more information about vacation travel from newspapers, magazines, books, and travel shows. Clearly, a travel agency would benefit by directing its marketing efforts toward heavy users, perhaps using telemarketing and special promotions.20
A market can also be segmented by consumer loyalty. Consumers can be loyal to brands (Tide), stores (Wal-Mart), and companies (Ford). Buyers can be divided into groups according to their degree of loyalty. Some consumers are completely loyal—they buy one brand all the time. Others are somewhat loyal—they are loyal to two or three brands of a given product or favor one brand while sometimes buying others. Still other buyers show no loyalty to any brand. They either want something different each time they buy or they buy whatever's on sale.
A company can learn a lot by analyzing loyalty patterns in its market. It should start by studying its own loyal customers. Suppose Colgate finds that its loyal toothpaste buyers are more middle class, have larger families, and are more health conscious. These characteristics pinpoint the target market for Colgate. By studying its less loyal buyers, the company can detect which brands are most competitive with its own. If many Colgate buyers also buy Crest, Colgate can attempt to improve its positioning against Crest, possibly by using direct-comparison advertising. By looking at customers who are shifting away from its brand, the company can learn about its marketing weaknesses. As for nonloyals, the company may attract them by putting its brand on sale.
Using Multiple Segmentation Bases
Marketers rarely limit their segmentation analysis to only one or a few variables. Rather, they are increasingly using multiple segmentation bases in an effort to identify smaller, better-defined target groups. Thus, a bank may not only identify a group of wealthy retired adults but also, within that group, distinguish several segments depending on their current income, assets, savings and risk preferences, and lifestyles.
Companies often begin by segmenting their markets using a single base, then expand using other bases. Consider PageNet, the paging services provider, which found itself competing against communications giants such as Southwestern Bell and Pacific Telesis in the pager market:
PageNet couldn't boast unique technology. Moreover, it was already competing on price, charging about 20 percent less than competitors. Instead, PageNet used smart segmentation to boost its competitive advantage. At first, it used geographic segmentation, targeting markets in Ohio and its home state of Texas where local competitors were vulnerable to PageNet's aggressive pricing. Once these markets were secure, the company targeted new geographical segments that promised the best growth potential. But PageNet's segmenting strategy didn't end with geography. The company next profiled major paging service user groups and targeted the most promising ones, such as salespeople, messengers, and service people. Flush with success, PageNet next used lifestyle segmentation to target additional consumer groups, such as parents who leave their babies with sitters, commuters who are out of reach while traveling to and from work, and elderly people living alone whose families want to keep an eye on them. The results of this multiple segmentation strategy: PageNet's subscriber base has expanded at a rate of 50 percent annually over the past 10 years. Now, with 10 million subscribers and sales approaching $1 billion, PageNet is the nation's largest wireless messaging and information services company.21
One of the most promising developments in multivariable segmentation is "geodemographic" segmentation. Several business information services have arisen to help marketing planners link U.S. Census data with lifestyle patterns to better segment their markets down to zip codes, neighborhoods, and even city blocks.
|[pic] |Consider one company's innovative approach to using multiple segmentation bases. |
[pic]Segmenting Business Markets
CONSUMER AND BUSINESS MARKETERS USE MANY OF THE SAME VARIABLES TO SEGMENT THEIR MARKETS. BUSINESS BUYERS CAN BE SEGMENTED GEOGRAPHICALLY, DEMOGRAPHICALLY (INDUSTRY, COMPANY SIZE), OR BY BENEFITS SOUGHT, USER STATUS, USAGE RATE, AND LOYALTY STATUS. YET, AS TABLE 7.3 SHOWS, BUSINESS MARKETERS ALSO USE SOME ADDITIONAL VARIABLES, SUCH AS CUSTOMER OPERATING CHARACTERISTICS, PURCHASING APPROACHES, SITUATIONAL FACTORS, AND PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS. THE TABLE LISTS MAJOR QUESTIONS THAT BUSINESS MARKETERS SHOULD ASK IN DETERMINING WHICH CUSTOMERS THEY WANT TO SERVE.
|[pi|Table 7.3 |Major Segmentation Variables for Business Markets |
|c] | | |
|Industry: Which industries that buy this product should we focus on? |
|Company size: What size companies should we focus on? |
|Location: What geographical areas should we focus on? |
|Operating Variables |
|Technology: What customer technologies should we focus on? |
|User–nonuser status: Should we focus on heavy, medium, or light users or nonusers? |
|Customer capabilities: Should we focus on customers needing many services or few services? |
|Purchasing Approaches |
|Purchasing function organization: Should we focus on companies with highly centralized or decentralized purchasing? |
|Power structure: Should we focus on companies that are engineering dominated, financially dominated, or marketing |
|Nature of existing relationships: Should we focus on companies with which we already have strong relationships or simply |
|go after the most desirable companies? |
|General purchase policies: Should we focus on companies that prefer leasing? Service contracts? Systems purchases? Sealed |
|Purchasing criteria: Should we focus on companies that are seeking quality? Service? Price? |
|Situational Factors |
|Urgency: Should we focus on companies that need quick delivery or service? |
|Specific application: Should we focus on certain applications of our product rather than all applications? |
|Size of order: Should we focus on large or small orders? |
|Personal Characteristics |
|Buyer–seller similarity: Should we focus on companies whose people and values are similar to ours? |
|Attitudes toward risk: Should we focus on risk-taking or risk-avoiding customers? |
|Loyalty: Should we focus on companies that show high loyalty to their suppliers? |
|Source: Adapted from Thomas V. Bonoma and Benson P. Shapiro, Segmenting the Industrial Market (Lexington, MA: Lexington |
|Books, 1983). Also see John Berrigan and Carl Finkbeiner, Segmentation Marketing: New Methods for Capturing Business (New |
|York: HarperBusiness, 1992). |
By going after segments instead of the whole market, companies have a much better chance to deliver value to consumers and to receive maximum rewards for close attention to consumer needs. Thus, Hewlett-Packard's Computer Systems Division targets specific industries that promise the best growth prospects, such as telecommunications and financial services. Its "red team" sales force specializes in developing and serving major customers in these targeted industries.22 Within the chosen industry, a company can further segment by customer size or geographic location. For example, Hewlett-Packard's "blue team" telemarkets to smaller accounts and to those that don't fit neatly into the strategically targeted industries on which HP focuses.
A company might also set up separate systems for dealing with larger or multiple-location customers. For example, Steelcase, a major producer of office furniture, first segments customers into 10 industries, including banking, insurance, and electronics. Next, company salespeople work with independent Steelcase dealers to handle smaller, local, or regional Steelcase customers in each segment. But many national, multiple-location customers, such as Exxon or IBM, have special needs that may reach beyond the scope of individual dealers. So Steelcase uses national accounts managers to help its dealer networks handle its national accounts.
Within a given target industry and customer size, the company can segment by purchase approaches and criteria. As in consumer segmentation, many marketers believe that buying behavior and benefits provide the best basis for segmenting business markets.23
Segmenting International Markets
FEW COMPANIES HAVE EITHER THE RESOURCES OR THE WILL TO OPERATE IN ALL, OR EVEN MOST, OF THE COUNTRIES THAT DOT THE GLOBE. ALTHOUGH SOME LARGE COMPANIES, SUCH AS COCA-COLA OR SONY, SELL PRODUCTS IN AS MANY AS 200 COUNTRIES, MOST INTERNATIONAL FIRMS FOCUS ON A SMALLER SET. OPERATING IN MANY COUNTRIES PRESENTS NEW CHALLENGES. DIFFERENT COUNTRIES, EVEN THOSE THAT ARE CLOSE TOGETHER, CAN VARY DRAMATICALLY IN THEIR ECONOMIC, CULTURAL, AND POLITICAL MAKEUP. THUS, JUST AS THEY DO WITHIN THEIR DOMESTIC MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL FIRMS NEED TO GROUP THEIR WORLD MARKETS INTO SEGMENTS WITH DISTINCT BUYING NEEDS AND BEHAVIORS.
Companies can segment international markets using one or a combination of several variables. They can segment by geographic location, grouping countries by regions such as Western Europe, the Pacific Rim, the Middle East, or Africa. Geographic segmentation assumes that nations close to one another will have many common traits and behaviors. Although this is often the case, there are many exceptions. For example, although the United States and Canada have much in common, both differ culturally and economically from neighboring Mexico. Even within a region, consumers can differ widely. For example, many U.S. marketers think that all Central and South American countries are the same, including their 400 million inhabitants. However, the Dominican Republic is no more like Brazil than Italy is like Sweden. Many Latin Americans don't speak Spanish, including 140 million Portuguese-speaking Brazilians and the millions in other countries who speak a variety of Indian dialects.
World markets can also be segmented on the basis of economic factors. For example, countries might be grouped by population income levels or by their overall level of economic development.24 Some countries, such as the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Canada, Italy, and Russia, have established, highly industrialized economies. Other countries have newly industrialized or developing economies (Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, Brazil, Mexico). Still others are less developed (China, India). A company's economic structure shapes its population's product and service needs and, therefore, the marketing opportunities it offers.
Countries can be segmented by political and legal factors such as the type and stability of government, receptivity to foreign firms, monetary regulations, and the amount of bureaucracy. Such factors can play a crucial role in a company's choice of which countries to enter and how. Cultural factors can also be used, grouping markets according to common languages, religions, values and attitudes, customs, and behavioral patterns.
Segmenting international markets on the basis of geographic, economic, political, cultural, and other factors assumes that segments should consist of clusters of countries. However, many companies use a different approach called intermarket segmentation. Using this approach, they form segments of consumers who have similar needs and buying behavior even though they are located in different countries. For example, Mercedes-Benz targets the world's well-to-do, regardless of their country. MTV targets the world's teenagers. One study of more than 6,500 teenagers from 26 countries showed that teens around the world live surprisingly parallel lives. As one expert notes, "From Rio to Rochester, teens can be found enmeshed in much the same regimen: . . . drinking Coke, . . . dining on Big Macs, and surfin' the Net on their computers."25 The world's teens have a lot in common: They study, shop, and sleep. They are exposed to many of the same major issues: love, crime, homelessness, ecology, and working parents. In many ways, they have more in common with each other than with their parents. MTV bridges the gap between cultures, appealing to what teens around the world have in common.26
Requirements for Effective Segmentation
CLEARLY, THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO SEGMENT A MARKET, BUT NOT ALL SEGMENTATIONS ARE EFFECTIVE. FOR EXAMPLE, BUYERS OF TABLE SALT COULD BE DIVIDED INTO BLOND AND BRUNETTE CUSTOMERS. BUT HAIR COLOR OBVIOUSLY DOES NOT AFFECT THE PURCHASE OF SALT. FURTHERMORE, IF ALL SALT BUYERS BOUGHT THE SAME AMOUNT OF SALT EACH MONTH, BELIEVED THAT ALL SALT IS THE SAME, AND WANTED TO PAY THE SAME PRICE, THE COMPANY WOULD NOT BENEFIT FROM SEGMENTING THIS MARKET.
To be useful, market segments must be:
• Measurable: The size, purchasing power, and profiles of the segments can be measured. Certain segmentation variables are difficult to measure. For example, there are 32.5 million left-handed people in the United States—almost equaling the entire population of Canada. Yet few products are targeted toward this left-handed segment. The major problem may be that the segment is hard to identify and measure. There are no data on the demographics of lefties, and the U.S. Census Bureau does not keep track of left-handedness in its surveys. Private data companies keep reams of statistics on other demographic segments but not on left-handers.
• Accessible: The market segments can be effectively reached and served. Suppose a fragrance company finds that heavy users of its brand are single men and women who stay out late and socialize a lot. Unless this group lives or shops at certain places and is exposed to certain media, its members will be difficult to reach.
• Substantial: The market segments are large or profitable enough to serve. A segment should be the largest possible homogenous group worth pursuing with a tailored marketing program. It would not pay, for example, for an automobile manufacturer to develop cars for persons whose height is under four feet.
• Differentiable: The segments are conceptually distinguishable and respond differently to different marketing mix elements and programs. If married and unmarried women respond similarly to a sale on perfume, they do not constitute separate segments.
• Actionable: Effective programs can be designed for attracting and serving the segments. For example, although one small airline identified seven market segments, its staff was too small to develop separate marketing programs for each segment.
|Market Targeting |[|
Market segmentation reveals the firm's market segment opportunities. The firm now has to evaluate the various segments and decide how many and which ones to target. We now look at how companies evaluate and select target segments.
Evaluating Market Segments
IN EVALUATING DIFFERENT MARKET SEGMENTS, A FIRM MUST LOOK AT THREE FACTORS: SEGMENT SIZE AND GROWTH, SEGMENT STRUCTURAL ATTRACTIVENESS, AND COMPANY OBJECTIVES AND RESOURCES. THE COMPANY MUST FIRST COLLECT AND ANALYZE DATA ON CURRENT SEGMENT SALES, GROWTH RATES, AND EXPECTED PROFITABILITY FOR VARIOUS SEGMENTS. IT WILL BE INTERESTED IN SEGMENTS THAT HAVE THE RIGHT SIZE AND GROWTH CHARACTERISTICS. (APPENDIX 1 DISCUSSES APPROACHES FOR MEASURING AND FORECASTING MARKET DEMAND.) BUT "RIGHT SIZE AND GROWTH" IS A RELATIVE MATTER. THE LARGEST, FASTEST-GROWING SEGMENTS ARE NOT ALWAYS THE MOST ATTRACTIVE ONES FOR EVERY COMPANY. SMALLER COMPANIES MAY LACK THE SKILLS AND RESOURCES NEEDED TO SERVE THE LARGER SEGMENTS OR MAY FIND THESE SEGMENTS TOO COMPETITIVE. SUCH COMPANIES MAY SELECT SEGMENTS THAT ARE SMALLER AND LESS ATTRACTIVE, IN AN ABSOLUTE SENSE, BUT THAT ARE POTENTIALLY MORE PROFITABLE FOR THEM.
The company also needs to examine major structural factors that affect long-run segment attractiveness.27 For example, a segment is less attractive if it already contains many strong and aggressive competitors. The existence of many actual or potential substitute products may limit prices and the profits that can be earned in a segment. The relative power of buyers also affects segment attractiveness. Buyers with strong bargaining power relative to sellers will try to force prices down, demand more services, and set competitors against one another—all at the expense of seller profitability. Finally, a segment may be less attractive if it contains powerful suppliers who can control prices or reduce the quality or quantity of ordered goods and services.
Even if a segment has the right size and growth and is structurally attractive, the company must consider its own objectives and resources in relation to that segment. Some attractive segments could be dismissed quickly because they do not mesh with the company's long-run objectives. Even if a segment fits the company's objectives, the company must consider whether it possesses the skills and resources it needs to succeed in that segment. If the company lacks the strengths needed to compete successfully in a segment and cannot readily obtain them, it should not enter the segment. Even if the company possesses the required strengths, it needs to employ skills and resources superior to those of the competition in order to really win in a market segment. The company should enter only segments in which it can offer superior value and gain advantages over competitors.
Selecting Market Segments
AFTER EVALUATING DIFFERENT SEGMENTS, THE COMPANY MUST NOW DECIDE WHICH AND HOW MANY SEGMENTS TO SERVE. THIS IS THE PROBLEM OF TARGET MARKET SELECTION. A TARGET MARKET CONSISTS OF A SET OF BUYERS WHO SHARE COMMON NEEDS OR CHARACTERISTICS THAT THE COMPANY DECIDES TO SERVE. FIGURE 7.3 SHOWS THAT THE FIRM CAN ADOPT ONE OF THREE MARKET-COVERAGE STRATEGIES: UNDIFFERENTIATED MARKETING, DIFFERENTIATED MARKETING, AND CONCENTRATED MARKETING.
|[p|Figure 7.3 |Three alternative market-coverage strategies |
|ic| | |
|] | | |
Using an undifferentiated marketing (or mass-marketing) strategy, a firm might decide to ignore market segment differences and go after the whole market with one offer. This mass-marketing strategy focuses on what is common in the needs of consumers rather than on what is different. The company designs a product and a marketing program that will appeal to the largest number of buyers. It relies on mass distribution and mass advertising, and it aims to give the product a superior image in people's minds. As noted earlier in the chapter, most modern marketers have strong doubts about this strategy. Difficulties arise in developing a product or brand that will satisfy all consumers. Moreover, mass marketers often have trouble competing with more focused firms that do a better job of satisfying the need of specific segments and niches.
Using a differentiated marketing strategy, a firm decides to target several market segments or niches and designs separate offers for each. General Motors tries to produce a car for every "purse, purpose, and personality." Nike offers athletic shoes for a dozen or more different sports, from running, fencing, and aerobics to bicycling and baseball. Estée Lauder offers dozens of different products aimed at carefully defined niches:
The four best-selling prestige perfumes in the United States belong to Estée Lauder. So do seven of the top ten prestige makeup products and eight of the ten best-selling prestige skin care products. Estée Lauder is an expert in creating differentiated brands that serve the tastes of different market segments. There's the original Estée Lauder brand, which appeals to older, junior league types. Then there's Clinique, perfect for the middle-aged mom with a GMC Suburban and no time to waste. Then there's the hip M.A.C. line, which boasts as its spokesmodel RuPaul, a 6-foot, 7-inch drag queen. For the New Age type, there's upscale Aveda, with its aromatherapy line and earthy Origins, which the company expects will become a $1 billion brand. The company even offers downscale brands, such as Jane by Sassaby, for teens at Wal-Mart and Rite Aid.28
By offering product and marketing variations, these companies hope for higher sales and a stronger position within each market segment. Developing a stronger position within several segments creates more total sales than undifferentiated marketing across all segments. Procter & Gamble gets more total market share with eight brands of laundry detergent than it could with only one. But differentiated marketing also increases the costs of doing business. A firm usually finds it more expensive to develop and produce, say, 10 units of 10 different products than 100 units of one product. Developing separate marketing plans for the separate segments requires extra marketing research, forecasting, sales analysis, promotion planning, and channel management. Trying to reach different market segments with different advertising increases promotion costs. Thus, the company must weigh increased sales against increased costs when deciding on a differentiated marketing strategy.
A third market-coverage strategy, concentrated marketing, is especially appealing when company resources are limited. Instead of going after a small share of a large market, the firm goes after a large share of one or a few segments or niches. For example, Oshkosh Truck is the world's largest producer of airport rescue trucks and front-loading concrete mixers. Tetra sells 80 percent of the world's tropical fish food, and Steiner Optical captures 80 percent of the world's military binoculars market.
Today, the low cost of setting up shop on the Internet makes it even more profitable to serve seemingly minuscule niches. Small businesses, in particular, are realizing riches from serving small niches on the Web. Here are two "Webpreneurs" who achieved astonishing results:29
• Ostrichesonline.com. Whereas Internet giants like music retailer CDnow and bookseller Amazon.com have yet to even realize a profit, Steve Warrington is earning a six-figure income online selling ostriches and every product derived from them. Launched for next to nothing on the Web, Warrington's business generated $4 million in sales last year. The site tells visitors everything they ever wanted to know about ostriches and much, much more—it supplies ostrich facts, ostrich pictures, an ostrich farm index, and a huge ostrich database and reference index. Visitors to the site can buy ostrich meat, feathers, leather jackets, videos, eggshells, and skin care products derived from ostrich body oil.
• Mesomorphosis.com. At the age of 26, Millard Baker, a clinical psychology graduate student at the University of South Florida, launched a Web-based business selling body building supplements and oils. Although other Web sites peddled similar products, few offered articles and content, so Millard Baker added these elements to his site. Mesomorphosis.com has now grown into a full-fledged Internet publication as well as an online store. It provides subscribers with "scientifically-based articles about body building so that [they] can make informed decisions about training, nutrition, and supplementation." How successful is this Web nicher? Baker now pulls in more than $25,000 a month.
Concentrated marketing provides an excellent way for small new businesses to get a foothold against larger, more resourceful competitors. For example, Southwest Airlines began by concentrating on serving intrastate, no-frills commuters. PageNet got off to a successful start by concentrating on limited geographic areas. Wal-Mart got its start by bringing everyday low prices to small town and rural areas.
Through concentrated marketing, firms achieve strong market positions in the segments or niches they serve because of their greater knowledge of the segments' needs and the special reputations they acquire. They also enjoy many operating economies because of specialization in production, distribution, and promotion. If the segment is well chosen, firms can earn a high rate of return on their investments.
At the same time, concentrated marketing involves higher-than-normal risks. The particular market segment can turn sour. Or larger competitors may decide to enter the same segment. For example, California Cooler's success in the wine cooler segment attracted many large competitors, causing the original owners to sell to a larger company that had more marketing resources. For these reasons, many companies prefer to diversify in several market segments.
|[pic] |[pic] |
|Concentrated marketing: Oshkosh Truck has found its niche as the world's largest producer of airport rescue trucks and |
|front-loading concrete mixers. |
Choosing a Market-Coverage Strategy
Many factors need to be considered when choosing a market-coverage strategy. Which strategy is best depends on company resources. When the firm's resources are limited, concentrated marketing makes the most sense. The best strategy also depends on the degree of product variability. Undifferentiated marketing is more suited for uniform products such as grapefruit or steel. Products that can vary in design, such as cameras and automobiles, are more suited to differentiation or concentration. The product's life-cycle stage also must be considered.
When a firm introduces a new product, it is practical to launch only one version, and undifferentiated marketing or concentrated marketing makes the most sense. In the mature stage of the product life cycle, however, differentiated marketing begins to make more sense. Another factor is market variability. If most buyers have the same tastes, buy the same amounts, and react the same way to marketing efforts, undifferentiated marketing is appropriate. Finally, competitors' marketing strategies are important. When competitors use differentiated or concentrated marketing, undifferentiated marketing can be suicidal. Conversely, when competitors use undifferentiated marketing, a firm can gain an advantage by using differentiated or concentrated marketing.
|[pic] |Consider some issues raised by the practice of ethnic segmentation. |
[pic]Socially Responsible Target Marketing
SMART TARGETING HELPS COMPANIES TO BE MORE EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE BY FOCUSING ON THE SEGMENTS THAT THEY CAN SATISFY BEST AND MOST PROFITABLY. TARGETING ALSO BENEFITS CONSUMERS—COMPANIES REACH SPECIFIC GROUPS OF CONSUMERS WITH OFFERS CAREFULLY TAILORED TO SATISFY THEIR NEEDS. HOWEVER, TARGET MARKETING SOMETIMES GENERATES CONTROVERSY AND CONCERN. ISSUES USUALLY INVOLVE THE TARGETING OF VULNERABLE OR DISADVANTAGED CONSUMERS WITH CONTROVERSIAL OR POTENTIALLY HARMFUL PRODUCTS.
For example, over the years, the cereal industry has been heavily criticized for its marketing efforts directed toward children. Critics worry that premium offers and high-powered advertising appeals presented through the mouths of lovable animated characters will overwhelm children's defenses. The marketers of toys and other children's products have been similarly battered, often with good justification. Some critics have even called for a complete ban on advertising to children. To encourage responsible advertising to children, the Children's Advertising Review Unit, the advertising industry's self-regulatory agency, has published extensive children's advertising guidelines that recognize the special needs of child audiences.
Cigarette, beer, and fast-food marketers have also generated much controversy in recent years by their attempts to target inner-city minority consumers. For example, McDonald's and other chains have drawn criticism for pitching their high-fat, salt-laden fare to low-income, inner-city residents who are much more likely than suburbanites to be heavy consumers. R.J. Reynolds took heavy flak in the early 1990s when it announced plans to market Uptown, a menthol cigarette targeted toward low-income blacks. It quickly dropped the brand in the face of a loud public outcry and heavy pressure from black leaders. G. Heileman Brewing made a similar mistake with PowerMaster, a potent malt liquor. Because malt liquor had become the drink of choice among many in the inner city, Heileman focused its marketing efforts for PowerMaster on inner-city blacks. However, this group suffers disproportionately from liver diseases brought on by alcohol, and the inner city is already plagued by alcohol-related problems such as crime and violence. Thus, Heileman's targeting decision drew substantial criticism.30
The meteoric growth of the Internet and other carefully targeted direct media has raised fresh concerns about potential targeting abuses. The Internet allows increasing refinement of audiences and, in turn, more precise targeting. This might help makers of questionable products or deceptive advertisers to more readily victimize the most vulnerable audiences. As one expert observes, "In theory, an audience member could have tailor-made deceptive messages sent directly to his or her computer screen."31
Not all attempts to target children, minorities, or other special segments draw such criticism. In fact, most provide benefits to targeted consumers. For example, Colgate-Palmolive's Colgate Junior toothpaste has special features designed to get children to brush longer and more often—it's less foamy, has a milder taste, contains sparkles, and exits the tube in a star-shaped column.
Golden Ribbon Playthings has developed a highly acclaimed and very successful black character doll named "Huggy Bean" targeted toward minority consumers. Huggy comes with books and toys that connect her with her African heritage. Many cosmetics companies have responded to the special needs of minority segments by adding products specifically designed for African American, Hispanic, or Asian women. Black-owned ICE theaters noticed that although moviegoing by blacks has surged, there are few inner-city theaters. The chain has opened a theater in Chicago's South Side as well as two other Chicago theaters, and it plans to open in four more cities this year. ICE partners with the black communities in which it operates theaters, using local radio stations to promote films and featuring favorite food items at concession stands.32
Thus, in market targeting, the issue is not really who is targeted but rather how and for what. Controversies arise when marketers attempt to profit at the expense of targeted segments—when they unfairly target vulnerable segments or target them with questionable products or tactics. Socially responsible marketing calls for segmentation and targeting that serve not just the interests of the company but also the interests of those targeted.
|Positioning for Competitive Advantage |[|
Once a company has decided which segments of the market it will enter, it must decide what positions it wants to occupy in those segments. A product's position is the way the product is defined by consumers on important attributes—the place the product occupies in consumers' minds relative to competing products. Positioning involves implanting the brand's unique benefits and differentiation in customers' minds. Thus, Tide is positioned as a powerful, all-purpose family detergent; Ivory Snow is positioned as the gentle detergent for fine washables and baby clothes. In the automobile market, Toyota Tercel and Subaru are positioned on economy, Mercedes and Cadillac on luxury, and Porsche and BMW on performance. Volvo positions powerfully on safety.
Consumers are overloaded with information about products and services. They cannot reevaluate products every time they make a buying decision. To simplify the buying process, consumers organize products into categories—they "position" products, services, and companies in their minds. A product's position is the complex set of perceptions, impressions, and feelings that consumers have for the product compared with competing products. Consumers position products with or without the help of marketers. But marketers do not want to leave their products' positions to chance. They must plan positions that will give their products the greatest advantage in selected target markets, and they must design marketing mixes to create these planned positions.
Choosing a Positioning Strategy
SOME FIRMS FIND IT EASY TO CHOOSE THEIR POSITIONING STRATEGY. FOR EXAMPLE, A FIRM WELL KNOWN FOR QUALITY IN CERTAIN SEGMENTS WILL GO FOR THIS POSITION IN A NEW SEGMENT IF THERE ARE ENOUGH BUYERS SEEKING QUALITY. BUT IN MANY CASES, TWO OR MORE FIRMS WILL GO AFTER THE SAME POSITION. THEN, EACH WILL HAVE TO FIND OTHER WAYS TO SET ITSELF APART. EACH FIRM MUST DIFFERENTIATE ITS OFFER BY BUILDING A UNIQUE BUNDLE OF BENEFITS THAT APPEALS TO A SUBSTANTIAL GROUP WITHIN THE SEGMENT.
The positioning task consists of three steps: identifying a set of possible competitive advantages upon which to build a position, choosing the right competitive advantages, and selecting an overall positioning strategy. The company must then effectively communicate and deliver the chosen position to the market.
Identifying Possible Competitive Advantages
The key to winning and keeping customers is to understand their needs and buying processes better than competitors do and to deliver more value. To the extent that a company can position itself as providing superior value to selected target markets it gains competitive advantage. But solid positions cannot be built on empty promises. If a company positions its product as offering the best quality and service, it must then deliver the promised quality and service. Thus, positioning begins with actually differentiating the company's marketing offer so that it will give consumers more value than competitors' offers do.
To find points of differentiation, marketers must think through the customer's entire experience with the company's product or service. An alert company can find ways to differentiate itself at every point where it comes in contact with customers.33 In what specific ways can a company differentiate its offer from those of competitors? A company or market offer can be differentiated along the lines of product, services, channels, people, or image.
|Competitive advantages: Volvo positions powerfully on safety: All most people want from a car seat is "a nice, comfy place|
|to put your gluteus maximus." However, when a Volvo is struck from behind, a sophisticated system "guides the front seats |
|through an intricate choreography that supports the neck and spine, while helping to reduce dangerous collision impact |
Product differentiation takes place along a continuum. At one extreme we find physical products that allow little variation: chicken, steel, aspirin. Yet even here some meaningful differentiation is possible. For example, Perdue claims that its branded chickens are better—fresher and more tender—and gets a 10 percent price premium based on this differentiation. At the other extreme are products that can be highly differentiated, such as automobiles, commercial machinery, and furniture. Such products can be differentiated on features, performance, or style and design. Thus, Volvo provides new and better safety features; Whirlpool designs its dishwasher to run more quietly; Bose speakers are positioned on striking design characteristics. Similarly, companies can differentiate their products on such attributes as consistency, durability, reliability, or repairability.
Beyond differentiating its physical product, a firm can also differentiate the services that accompany the product. Some companies gain services differentiation through speedy, convenient, or careful delivery. For example, BancOne has opened full-service branches in supermarkets to provide location convenience along with Saturday, Sunday, and weekday-evening hours. Installation can also differentiate one company from another, as can repair services. Many an automobile buyer will gladly pay a little more and travel a little farther to buy a car from a dealer that provides top-notch repair service. Some companies differentiate their offers by providing customer training service or consulting services—data, information systems, and advising services that buyers need. For example, McKesson Corporation, a major drug wholesaler, consults with its 12,000 independent pharmacists to help them set up accounting, inventory, and computerized ordering systems. By helping its customers compete better, McKesson gains greater customer loyalty and sales.
Firms that practice channel differentiation gain competitive advantage through the way they design their channel's coverage, expertise, and performance. Caterpillar's success in the construction-equipment industry is based on superior channels. Its dealers worldwide are renowned for their top-notch service. Dell Computer and Avon distinguish themselves by their high-quality direct channels. Iams pet food achieves success by going against tradition, distributing its products only through veterinarians and pet stores.
Companies can gain a strong competitive advantage through people differentiation—hiring and training better people than their competitors do. Thus, Disney people are known to be friendly and upbeat. Singapore Airlines enjoys an excellent reputation largely because of the grace of its flight attendants. IBM offers people who make sure that the solution customers want is the solution they get: "People Who Think. People Who Do. People Who Get It." People differentiation requires that a company select its customer-contact people carefully and train them well. For example, Disney trains its theme park people thoroughly to ensure that they are competent, courteous, and friendly. From the hotel check-in agents, to the monorail drivers, to the ride attendants, to the people who sweep Main Street USA, each employee understands the importance of understanding customers, communicating with them clearly and cheerfully, and responding quickly to their requests and problems. Each is carefully trained to "make a dream come true."
Even when competing offers look the same, buyers may perceive a difference based on company or brand image differentiation. A company or brand image should convey the product's distinctive benefits and positioning. Developing a strong and distinctive image calls for creativity and hard work. A company cannot plant an image in the public's mind overnight using only a few advertisements. If Ritz-Carlton means quality, this image must be supported by everything the company says and does. Symbols—such as McDonald's golden arches, the Prudential rock, or the Pillsbury doughboy—can provide strong company or brand recognition and image differentiation. The company might build a brand around a famous person, as Nike did with its Air Jordan basketball shoes. Some companies even become associated with colors, such as IBM (blue), Campbell (red and white), or Kodak (red and yellow). The chosen symbols, characters, and other image elements must be communicated through advertising that conveys the company's or brand's personality.
Choosing the Right Competitive Advantages
Suppose a company is fortunate enough to discover several potential competitive advantages. It now must choose the ones on which it will build its positioning strategy. It must decide how many differences to promote and which ones.
How Many Differences to Promote?
Many marketers think that companies should aggressively promote only one benefit to the target market. Ad man Rosser Reeves, for example, said a company should develop a unique selling proposition (USP) for each brand and stick to it. Each brand should pick an attribute and tout itself as "number one" on that attribute. Buyers tend to remember number one better, especially in an overcommunicated society. Thus, Crest toothpaste consistently promotes its anticavity protection and Volvo promotes safety. A company that hammers away at one of these positions and consistently delivers on it probably will become best known and remembered for it.
Other marketers think that companies should position themselves on more than one differentiating factor. This may be necessary if two or more firms are claiming to be the best on the same attribute. Today, in a time when the mass market is fragmenting into many small segments, companies are trying to broaden their positioning strategies to appeal to more segments. For example, Unilever introduced the first three-in-one bar soap—Lever 2000—offering cleansing, deodorizing, and moisturizing benefits. Clearly, many buyers want all three benefits, and the challenge was to convince them that one brand can deliver all three. Judging from Lever 2000's outstanding success, Unilever easily met the challenge. However, as companies increase the number of claims for their brands, they risk disbelief and a loss of clear positioning.
|Unilever positioned its best-selling Lever 2000 soap on three benefits in one: cleansing, deodorizing, and moisturizing |
|benefits. It's good "for all your 2000 parts." |
In general, a company needs to avoid three major positioning errors. The first is underpositioning—failing to ever really position the company at all. Some companies discover that buyers have only a vague idea of the company or that they do not really know anything special about it. The second error is overpositioning—giving buyers too narrow a picture of the company. Thus, a consumer might think that the Steuben glass company makes only fine art glass costing $1,000 and up, when in fact it makes affordable fine glass starting at around $50. Finally, companies must avoid confused positioning—leaving buyers with a confused image of a company. For example, over the past decade, Burger King has fielded six separate advertising campaigns, with themes ranging from "Herb the nerd doesn't eat here" to "Sometimes you've got to break the rules" and "BK Tee Vee." This barrage of positioning statements has left consumers confused and Burger King with poor sales and profits.
Which Differences to Promote?
Not all brand differences are meaningful or worthwhile; not every difference makes a good differentiator. Each difference has the potential to create company costs as well as customer benefits. Therefore, the company must carefully select the ways in which it will distinguish itself from competitors. A difference is worth establishing to the extent that it satisfies the following criteria:
• Important: The difference delivers a highly valued benefit to target buyers.
• Distinctive: Competitors do not offer the difference, or the company can offer it in a more distinctive way.
• Superior: The difference is superior to other ways that customers might obtain the same benefit.
• Communicable: The difference is communicable and visible to buyers.
• Preemptive: Competitors cannot easily copy the difference.
• Affordable: Buyers can afford to pay for the difference.
• Profitable: The company can introduce the difference profitably.
Many companies have introduced differentiations that failed one or more of these tests. The Westin Stamford hotel in Singapore advertises that it is the world's tallest hotel, a distinction that is not important to many tourists—in fact, it turns many off. Polaroid's Polarvision, which produced instantly developed home movies, bombed too. Although Polarvision was distinctive and even preemptive, it was inferior to another way of capturing motion, namely, camcorders. When Pepsi introduced clear Crystal Pepsi some years ago, customers were unimpressed. Although the new drink was distinctive, consumers didn't see "clarity" as an important benefit in a soft drink. Thus, choosing competitive advantages upon which to position a product or service can be difficult, yet such choices may be crucial to success.
Selecting an Overall Positioning Strategy
Consumers typically choose products and services that give them the greatest value. Thus, marketers want to position their brands on the key benefits that they offer relative to competing brands. The full positioning of a brand is called the brand's value proposition—the full mix of benefits upon which the brand is positioned. It is the answer to the customer's question "Why should I buy your brand?" Volvo's value proposition hinges on safety but also includes reliability, roominess, and styling, all for a price that is higher than average but seems fair for this mix of benefits.
Figure 7.4 shows possible value propositions upon which a company might position its products. In the figure, the five green cells represent winning value propositions—positioning that gives the company competitive advantage. The orange cells, however, represent losing value propositions, and the center cell represents at best a marginal proposition. In the following sections, we discuss the five winning value propositions companies can use to position their products: more for more, more for the same, the same for less, less for much less, and more for less.34
|[p|Figure 7.4 |Possible value propositions |
|ic| | |
|] | | |
More for More
"More for more" positioning involves providing the most upscale product or service and charging a higher price to cover the higher costs. Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Mont Blanc writing instruments, Mercedes-Benz automobiles—each claims superior quality, craftsmanship, durability, performance, or style and charges a price to match. Not only is the marketing offer high in quality, it also offers prestige to the buyer. It symbolizes status and a lofty lifestyle. Often, the price difference exceeds the actual increment in quality.
Sellers offering "only the best" can be found in every product and service category, from hotels, restaurants, food, and fashion to cars and kitchen appliances. Consumers are sometimes surprised, even delighted, when a new competitor enters a category with an unusually high-priced brand. Starbucks coffee entered as a very expensive brand in a largely commodity category; Häagen-Dazs came in as a premium ice cream brand at a price never before charged. In general, companies should be on the lookout for opportunities to introduce a "much more for much more" brand in any underdeveloped product or service category. For example, William-Sonoma's hottest-selling item this year is the $369 Dualit Toaster, a hand-assembled appliance that keeps toast warm for 10 minutes.35
Yet "more for more" brands can be vulnerable. They often invite imitators who claim the same quality but at a lower price. Luxury goods that sell well during good times may be at risk during economic downturns when buyers become more cautious in their spending.
More for the Same
Companies can attack a competitor's more for more positioning by introducing a brand offering comparable quality but at a lower price. For example, Toyota introduced its Lexus line with a "more for the same" value proposition. Its headline read: "Perhaps the first time in history that trading a $72,000 car for a $36,000 car could be considered trading up." It communicated the high quality of its new Lexus through rave reviews in car magazines, through a widely distributed videotape showing side-by-side comparisons of Lexus and Mercedes-Benz automobiles, and through surveys showing that Lexus dealers were providing customers with better sales and service experiences than were Mercedes dealerships. Many Mercedes-Benz owners switched to Lexus, and the Lexus repurchase rate has been 60 percent, twice the industry average.
The Same for Less
Offering "the same for less" can be a powerful value proposition—everyone likes a good deal. For example, Amazon.com sells the same book titles as its brick-and-mortar competitors but at lower prices, and Dell Computer offers equivalent quality at a better "price for performance." Discounts stores such as Wal-Mart and "category killers" such as Best Buy, Circuit City, and Sportmart also use this positioning. They don't claim to offer different or better products. Instead, they offer many of the same brands as department stores and specialty stores but at deep discounts based on superior purchasing power and lower-cost operations.
Other companies develop imitative but lower-priced brands in an effort to lure customers away from the market leader. For example, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Cyrix make less expensive versions of Intel's market-leading microprocessor chips. Many personal computer companies make "IBM clones" and claim to offer the same performance at lower prices.
Less for Much Less
A market almost always exists for products that offer less and therefore cost less. Few people need, want, or can afford "the very best" in everything they buy. In many cases, consumers will gladly settle for less than optimal performance or give up some of the bells and whistles in exchange for a lower price. For example, many travelers seeking lodgings prefer not to pay for what they consider unnecessary extras, such as a pool, cable television, attached restaurant, or mints on the pillow. Motel chains such as Motel 6 suspend some of these amenities and charge less accordingly.
"Less for much less" positioning involves meeting consumers' lower performance or quality requirements at a much lower price. For example, Family Dollar and Dollar General stores offer more affordable goods at very low prices. Sam's Club warehouse stores offer less merchandise selection and consistency, and much lower levels of service; as a result, they charge rock-bottom prices. Southwest Airlines, the nation's most profitable air carrier, also practices less for much less positioning. It charges incredibly low prices by not serving food, not assigning seats, and not using travel agents.
More for Less
Of course, the winning value proposition would be to offer "more for less." Many companies claim to do this. For example, Dell Computer claims to have better products and lower prices for a given level of performance. Procter & Gamble claims that its laundry detergents provide the best cleaning and everyday low prices. In the short run, some companies can actually achieve such lofty positions. For example, when it first opened for business, Home Depot had arguably the best product selection and service and at the lowest prices compared to local hardware stores and other home improvement chains.
Yet in the long run, companies will find it very difficult to sustain such best-of-both positioning. Offering more usually costs more, making it difficult to deliver on the "for less" promise. Companies that try to deliver both may lose out to more focused competitors. For example, facing determined competition from Lowes stores, Home Depot must now decide whether it wants to compete primarily on superior service or on lower prices.
All said, each brand must adopt a positioning strategy designed to serve the needs and wants of its target markets. "More for more" will draw one target market, "less for much less" will draw another, and so on. Thus, in any market, there is usually room for many different companies, each successfully occupying different positions.
The important thing is that each company must develop its own winning positioning strategy, one that makes it special to its target consumers. Offering only "the same for the same" provides no competitive advantage, leaving the firm in the middle of the pack. Companies offering one of the three losing value propositions—"the same for more," "less for more," and "less for the same"—will inevitably fail. Here, customers soon realize that they've been underserved, tell others, and abandon the brand.
|[pic] |Take a moment to explore one company's choice of a positioning strategy. |
[pic]Communicating and Delivering the Chosen Position
ONCE IT HAS CHOSEN A POSITION, THE COMPANY MUST TAKE STRONG STEPS TO DELIVER AND COMMUNICATE THE DESIRED POSITION TO TARGET CONSUMERS. ALL THE COMPANY'S MARKETING MIX EFFORTS MUST SUPPORT THE POSITIONING STRATEGY. POSITIONING THE COMPANY CALLS FOR CONCRETE ACTION, NOT JUST TALK. IF THE COMPANY DECIDES TO BUILD A POSITION ON BETTER QUALITY AND SERVICE, IT MUST FIRST DELIVER THAT POSITION. DESIGNING THE MARKETING MIX—PRODUCT, PRICE, PLACE, AND PROMOTION—ESSENTIALLY INVOLVES WORKING OUT THE TACTICAL DETAILS OF THE POSITIONING STRATEGY. THUS, A FIRM THAT SEIZES ON A "FOR MORE" POSITION KNOWS THAT IT MUST PRODUCE HIGH-QUALITY PRODUCTS, CHARGE A HIGH PRICE, DISTRIBUTE THROUGH HIGH-QUALITY DEALERS, AND ADVERTISE IN HIGH-QUALITY MEDIA. IT MUST HIRE AND TRAIN MORE SERVICE PEOPLE, FIND RETAILERS WHO HAVE A GOOD REPUTATION FOR SERVICE, AND DEVELOP SALES AND ADVERTISING MESSAGES THAT BROADCAST ITS SUPERIOR SERVICE. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO BUILD A CONSISTENT AND BELIEVABLE "MORE FOR MORE" POSITION.
Companies often find it easier to come up with a good positioning strategy than to implement it. Establishing a position or changing one usually takes a long time. In contrast, positions that have taken years to build can quickly be lost. Once a company has built the desired position, it must take care to maintain the position through consistent performance and communication. It must closely monitor and adapt the position over time to match changes in consumer needs and competitors' strategies. However, the company should avoid abrupt changes that might confuse consumers. Instead, a product's position should evolve gradually as it adapts to the ever-changing marketing environment.
Dividing a market into distinct groups of buyers on the basis of needs, characteristics, or behavior who might require separate products or marketing mixes.
The process of evaluating each market segment's attractiveness and selecting one or more segments to enter.
Arranging for a product to occupy a clear, distinctive, and desirable place relative to competing products in the minds of target consumers.
Isolating broad segments that make up a market and adapting the marketing to match the needs of one or more segments.
Focusing on subsegments or niches with distinctive traits that may seek a special combination of benefits.
The practice of tailoring products and marketing programs to suit the tastes of specific individuals and locations—includes local marketing and individual marketing.
Tailoring brands and promotions to the needs and wants of local customer groups—cities, neighborhoods, and even specific stores.
Tailoring products and marketing programs to the needs and preferences of individual customers—also labeled one-to-one marketing, customized marketing, and markets-of-one marketing.
Dividing a market into different geographical units such as nations, states, regions, counties, cities, or neighborhoods.
Dividing the market into groups based on demographic variables such as age, gender, family size, family life cycle, income, occupation, education, religion, race, and nationality.
age and life-cycle segmentation
Dividing a market into different age and life-cycle groups.
Dividing a market into different groups based on sex.
Dividing a market into different income groups.
Dividing a market into different groups based on social class, lifestyle, or personality characteristics.
Dividing a market into groups based on consumer knowledge, attitude, use, or response to a product.
Dividing the market into groups according to occasions when buyers get the idea to buy, actually make their purchase, or use the purchased item.
Dividing the market into groups according to the different benefits that consumers seek from the product.
Forming segments of consumers who have similar needs and buying behavior even though they are located in different countries.
A set of buyers sharing common needs or characteristics that the company decides to serve.
A market-coverage strategy in which a firm decides to ignore market segment differences and go after the whole market with one offer.
A market-coverage strategy in which a firm decides to target several market segments and designs separate offers for each.
A market-coverage strategy in which a firm goes after a large share of one or a few submarkets.
The way the product is defined by consumers on important attributes—the place the product occupies in consumers' minds relative to competing products.
An advantage over competitors gained by offering consumers greater value, either through lower prices or by providing more benefits that justify higher prices.
The full positioning of a brand—the full mix of benefits upon which it is positioned.
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