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Part 2: Segmentation

by Allen Weiss  |  
January 1, 2001
  |  64 views

See Part 1

Before getting into how one can think about the various ways to practically segment a market, let's first consider some key issues and questions:

First: Why should you segment by benefits, rather than the descriptors? There are three ways to answer this:

  1. It's the only way to have a clear message in the market.
  2. It's the only way to deliver what the customer wants.
  3. Marketing academics have not been successful at segmenting the markets differently and still finding meaningfully different segments.

Does this mean that descriptors are not used in marketing? No, they absolutely are used, but for a different purpose.


To see this, consider the following very simple example and how benefits are powerful and descriptors are useful. Here we have two fictitious segments in the cereal market and two demographics (young and old) and a product line (in colored bold) for each segment. Notice how clean this is in terms of a message (i.e., the benefits) for each segment. Note also how the descriptors are useful for the specific products names.

Segment Names
Healthy Conscious
Sweet Tooth
Benefits
Healthy
/nutritious

Sweet/
sugary

Young
Rough Riders
Honey Bears
Old
Bran Flakes
Sugar Blend

Now, instead think about segmenting this market based on age (a typical way people might segment this market). What you would have is:

Segment Names
Old
Young
Benefits
?

?


Sugar Blend
Honey Bears

Bran Flakes
Rough Riders

But what message will you have here; that is, what are the benefits the old and young want? You wouldn't know!


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Allen Weiss is the founder and publisher of MarketingProfs.com. He can be reached at amw@marketingprofs.com.

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