When I was younger, I attended my fair share of hockey games – many of which ran promotions as a way to increase the team’s fan base. The most common promotion at the time was offering free t-shirts to the first set number of fans. I was always so excited to get to the arena early and get that free t-shirt because, well, when you’re a 10-year-old whose favorite sport is hockey, snagging anything free repping your team is pretty great.
What I quickly realized after attending a couple of these games, though, was a bit disheartening – the t-shirts never fit. They were consistently a size large – a “universal” size made to fit most “normal” people. But it just didn’t fit me, nor would it ever.
As you probably guessed, there’s more to this story than just promotions and t-shirt sizes. Buried in the depths of this story lies a metaphor, and one that strongly applies to our industry.
Much as is the case with t-shirts – in marketing, one size definitely does not fit all. This is where market segmentation comes into play.
What is market segmentation?
Market segmentation is the process of separating portions of the market based on certain shared characteristics, allowing for the creation of a more targeted approach to delivering messages. Segmentation recognizes the differences among and between groups, allowing companies to create targeted messages to reach individual segments of the population.
Segmentation can occur on various levels, each of which is suitable for specific campaigns/marketing agendas depending on the goals and consumer base. Populations can be segmented in a few different ways:
- Geographic (region, population, climate, etc.)
- Demographic (age, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.)
- Behavior-based (brand loyalty, types of purchases, etc.)
- Psychology-based (activities, interests, actions, opinions, etc.)
Mass marketing doesn’t take such differences into consideration, but instead treats the market as a single entity. The messaging produced is generic, and is meant to apply on an almost universal level. The problem here is that consumers are inherently different. They all have their own unique wants and needs, and when treated as unique beings, the likelihood of eliciting a response increases. Sure, there are some needs that are universal, but for the most part desires are unique.
Why should you care?
Let’s consider an example. Let’s say a company wanted to run a mass marketing campaign to promote a new product. This would take the form of a message aimed to reach the eyes, ears or hands of the masses (mass marketing- get it now?). The delivery would be generic, and the tone also generic. It might not necessarily move a specific group of people, or it could unintentionally have that effect. Regardless- the goal is to reach as many people as possible, and hopefully illicit a large number, but small percentage of responses.
Now consider a targeted campaign aimed at a specific segment of the population. Consider how much more focused of a message can be presented – complete with what we’ll call “creative with intention” to match – when you know the group that will be on the receiving end. The likelihood of sparking a response when your message and delivery is tailored to the audience dramatically increases. You would ultimately be reaching less people, but this targeted approach would provoke a much larger response rate overall.
Contrary to how it appears, segmentation is not a “slimming down” of the existing marketing program or campaign. It instead methodically trims the fat off the marketing program as a whole to result in a leaner, smarter and more focused way of presenting messages. After all, sizes aren’t universal – and neither should be your marketing program.
Let us help.
Don’t approach your marketing program with a “one size fits all” mentality. Holland Advertising: Interactive can help you readjust your strategy to better align with your audience and prospective clientele. Holland’s experienced team takes a focused approach to marketing, injecting smart strategy and fresh ideas into each of its clients’ marketing plans. For more information about how Holland can help your business better align with its audience, meet sales goals and see greater marketing ROI, contact Bryan Holland at 513.744.3001.