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Marketing Strategy: 7 Steps to Market Segmentation

Market segmentation is broadly defined as a complex process that consists of two main stages:

– recognition of broad and large markets

– segmenting these markets to select the most appropriate target markets and develop Marketing mixes accordingly.

Everyone in the Marketing world knows and talks about segmentation but not many really understand its basic mechanics, so failure is just around the corner. What causes this? It has been documented that most marketers fail the segmentation test and start with a narrow mind and a set of misconceptions such as “all young people are rebels”, “all old women buy the same brands of cosmetics” and so on. There are many parameters to consider, and uncovering them is definitely an exercise in creativity.

The most comprehensive model of market segmentation consists of 7 steps, each of which is designed to encourage the marketer to come up with a creative approach.

STEP 1: Identify and define the broad market

You need to understand at this point what broad market your business is targeting. If your company is already on the market, this can be a starting point; There are more options for a new business but resources will usually be limited.

The biggest challenge is to find the right balance for your business: use your experience, knowledge and common sense to estimate whether the market you already know is not too narrow or too broad for you.

STEP 2: Identify and record the needs of potential customers

This step takes the creativity challenge even further, as it can be compared to a brainstorming session.

What you need to figure out is what the needs of the customers from the previously identified broad market might be. The more possible needs you can come up with, the better.

Are you stuck at this classification stage? Try to put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers: why would they buy your product, what might lead to a purchase decision? Answering these questions can help you identify most of the needs of potential customers in a given product market.

STEP 3: Formulate narrower markets

McCarthy and Perreault suggest building sub-segments around what you call your “typical customer”, then grouping similar people into this segment, provided they can satisfy their needs using the same Marketing Mix .

Start building a column with the dimensions of the main need you are trying to cover: this will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain person should be included in the first section or you should create a new section. Also create a list of people-related attributes, including demographics, for each narrow market you’re building – the next step will ask you to name them.

There is no correct formula for how to build narrow markets: use your best judgment and experience. Don’t even ask for the opinions of non-Marketing experts, because different people can have different opinions and you can usually at least figure out what most people agree on.

STEP 4: Identify the defining criteria

Carefully review the list resulting from the previous step. By now there should be a list of requirements criteria for each market segment: try to identify those that carry a decisive force.

Examining the needs and attitudes of each market segment you are involved in can help you understand the defining criteria.

STEP 5: Name possible segment markets

You have identified the defining parameters of your market segments, now evaluate them one by one and give them an appropriate name.

A good way to name these markets is to rely on the most important determining factor.

STEP 6: Evaluate the movement of market segments

After you’ve named each market segment, take time to think about what other segments you know about. It is important for a marketer to understand market behavior and what drives it. You can see it when most of the parts are available get close necessary, they still are as Need: Understanding the difference and acting on it is the key to achieving success using competitive offers.

STEP 7: Assess the size of each market segment

Each part identified, described and studied in the previous stages should finally be given an approximate size, even if it is only a rough estimate due to the lack of data.

Estimates of market segments will come in handy later, by providing support for sales forecasts and helping to plan the Marketing mix: The more data we collect at this point, the easier it will be to plan and strategize.

These are the steps to market segmentation, presented briefly. If done correctly and carefully, you should now be able to see an overview of how to build Marketing mixes for each market segment.

This 7 step approach to market segmentation is very simple and practical and works for most traders. However, if you are curious about other methods and want to experiment, you should look into computer-aided techniques, such as grouping and positioning.

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