Segmentation refers to a process of bifurcating or dividing a large unit into various small units which have more or less similar or related characteristics.
- Market segmentation is a marketing concept which divides the complete market set up into smaller subsets comprising of consumers with a similar taste, demand and preference.
- A market segment is a small unit within a large market comprising of like minded individuals.
- One market segment is totally distinct from the other segment.
- A market segment comprises of individuals who think on the same lines and have similar interests.
- The individuals from the same segment respond in a similar way to the fluctuations in the market.
Basis of Market Segmentation
The marketers divide the market into smaller segments based on gender. Both men and women have different interests and preferences, and thus the need for segmentation.
Organizations need to have different marketing strategies for men which would obviously not work in case of females.
A woman would not purchase a product meant for males and vice a versa.
The segmentation of the market as per the gender is important in many industries like cosmetics, footwear, jewellery and apparel industries.
Division on the basis of age group of the target audience is also one of the ways of market segmentation.
The products and marketing strategies for teenagers would obviously be different than kids.
Age group (0 – 10 years) – Toys, Nappies, Baby Food, Prams
Age Group (10 – 20 years) – Toys, Apparels, Books, School Bags
Age group (20 years and above) – Cosmetics, Anti-Ageing Products, Magazines, apparels and so on
Marketers divide the consumers into small segments as per their income. Individuals are classified into segments according to their monthly earnings.
The three categories are:
High income Group
Mid Income Group
Low Income Group
Stores catering to the higher income group would have different range of products and strategies as compared to stores which target the lower income group.
Pantaloon, Carrefour, Shopper’s stop target the high income group as compared to Vishal Retail, Reliance Retail or Big bazaar who cater to the individuals belonging to the lower income segment.
Market segmentation can also be as per the marital status of the individuals. Travel agencies would not have similar holiday packages for bachelors and married couples.
Office goers would have different needs as compared to school / college students.
A beach house shirt or a funky T Shirt would have no takers in a Zodiac Store as it caters specifically to the professionals.
Types of Market Segmentation
- Psychographic segmentation
The basis of such segmentation is the lifestyle of the individuals. The individual’s attitude, interest, value help the marketers to classify them into small groups.
- Behaviouralistic Segmentation
The loyalties of the customers towards a particular brand help the marketers to classify them into smaller groups, each group comprising of individuals loyal towards a particular brand.
- Geographic Segmentation
Geographic segmentation refers to the classification of market into various geographical areas. A marketer can’t have similar strategies for individuals living at different places.
Nestle promotes Nescafe all through the year in cold states of the country as compared to places which have well defined summer and winter season.
McDonald’s in India does not sell beef products as it is strictly against the religious beliefs of the countrymen, whereas McDonald’s in US freely sells and promotes beef products.
Not all individuals have similar needs. A male and a female would have varied interests and liking towards different products. A kid would not require something which an adult needs. A school kid would have a different requirement than an office goer. Market Segmentation helps the marketers to bring together individuals with similar choices and interests on a common platform.
- Market Segmentation helps the marketers to devise appropriate marketing strategies and promotional schemes according to the tastes of the individuals of a particular market segment. A male model would look out of place in an advertisement promoting female products. The marketers must be able to relate their products to the target segments.
- Market segmentation helps the marketers to understand the needs of the target audience and adopt specific marketing plans accordingly. Organizations can adopt a more focussed approach as a result of market segmentation.
- Market segmentation also gives the customers a clear view of what to buy and what not to buy. A Rado or Omega watch would have no takers amongst the lower income group as they cater to the premium segment. College students seldom go to a Zodiac or Van Heusen store as the merchandise offered by these stores are meant mostly for the professionals. Individuals from the lower income group never use a Blackberry. In simpler words, the segmentation process goes a long way in influencing the buying decision of the consumers.
An individual with low income would obviously prefer a Nano or Alto instead of Mercedes or BMW.
- Market segmentation helps the organizations to target the right product to the right customers at the right time. Geographical segmentation classifies consumers according to their locations. A grocery store in colder states of the country would stock coffee all through the year as compared to places which have defined winter and summer seasons.
- Segmentation helps the organizations to know and understand their customers better. Organizations can now reach a wider audience and promote their products more effectively. It helps the organizations to concentrate their hard work on the target audience and get suitable results.
Steps in Market Segmentation
1. Identify the target market
The first and foremost step is to identify the target market. The marketers must be very clear about who all should be included in a common segment. Make sure the individuals have something in common. A male and a female can’t be included in one segment as they have different needs and expectations.
Burberry stocks separate merchandise for both men and women. The management is very clear on the target market and has separate strategies for product promotion amongst both the segments.
A Garnier men’s deodorant would obviously not sell if the company uses a female model to create awareness.
Segmentation helps the organizations decide on the marketing strategies and promotional schemes.
Maruti Suzuki has adopted a focused approach and wisely created segments within a large market to promote their cars.
Lower Income Group – Maruti 800, Alto
Middle Income Group – Wagon R, Swift, Swift Dzire, Ritz
High Income Group – Maruti Suzuki Kizashi, Suzuki Grand Vitara
Suzuki Grand Vitara would obviously have no takers amongst the lower income group.
The target market for Rado, Omega or Tag Heuer is the premium segment as compared to Maxima or a Sonata watch.
2. Identify expectations of Target Audience
Once the target market is decided, it is essential to find out the needs of the target audience. The product must meet the expectations of the individuals. The marketer must interact with the target audience to know more about their interests and demands.
Kellogg’s K special was launched specifically for the individuals who wanted to cut down on their calorie intake.
Marketing professionals or individuals exposed to sun rays for a long duration need something which would protect their skin from the harmful effects of sun rays. Keeping this in mind, many organizations came with the concept of sunscreen lotions and creams with a sun protection factor especially for men.
3. Create Subgroups
The organizations should ensure their target market is well defined. Create subgroups within groups for effective results.
Cosmetics for females now come in various categories.
- Creams and Lotions for girls between 20-25 years would focus more on fairness.
- Creams and lotions for girls between 25 to 35 years promise to reduce the signs of ageing.
4. Review the needs of the target audience
It is essential for the marketer to review the needs and preferences of individuals belonging to each segment and sub-segment. The consumers of a particular segment must respond to similar fluctuations in the market and similar marketing strategies.
5. Name your market Segment
Give an appropriate name to each segment. It makes implementation of strategies easier.
A kids section can have various segments namely new born, infants, toddlers and so on.
6. Marketing Strategies
Devise relevant strategies to promote brands amongst each segment. Remember you can’t afford to have same strategies for all the segments. Make sure there is a connect between the product and the target audience. Advertisements promoting female toiletries can’t afford to have a male model, else the purpose gets nullified.
A model promoting a sunscreen lotion has to be shown roaming or working in sun for the desired impact.
7. Review the behavior
Review the behavior of the target audience frequently. It is not necessary individuals would have the same requirement (demand) all through the year. Demands vary, perceptions change and interests differ. A detailed study of the target audience is essential.
8. Size of the Target Market
It is essential to know the target market size. Collect necessary data for the same. It helps in sales planning and forecasting.