Zeroing in on the Target

Jordan has become a considerable market place with a population that’s quite sophisticated, expecting, and demanding. In other words, the days when “one product serves everybody” are over, and successful marketers must seriously consider identifying and building their market niches. The same applies to communicating marketing messages. One universal message designed to appeal to everybody will sound too generic and go unnoticed.

The successful design and pricing of products, and communicating the right message to the right recipient starts with “segmentation.” A market segment is a sub-set of the market that is made up of consumers and stakeholders who share characteristics beyond demographics that drive common buying/demand patterns. For example, if you’re in the software business and selling a simple accounting package which is customized and localized for Jordan, you would probably have small, medium sized businesses, and home users as your main market segments. Each of these segments has its own needs and requirements which the buyer will be looking for when evaluating your product.

The owner of a small business would be looking for an application that can be used without having to learn much about bookkeeping, yet generates the basic financial reports at the click of a mouse. The manager of a medium sized business probably has different needs; he/she will most likely look for a package that can be accessed by several users simultaneously, in addition to a payroll module that understands the local tax code. The home user on the other hand is probably looking for an easy-to-use application to keep track of bank and credit card balances, and a reporting feature that tells him/her where all that hard-earned money has gone.

Identifying the needs of each segment provides critical input when designing the “Product” and “Price” elements of the marketing mix. So in the context of the software company, it would extend its offering in three versions; a basic (single user) version for the small business segment at a low price, a higher priced version with a multi-user and a payroll module for the medium business segment, and a trimmed down version with only basic features (but different look and feel) for the home user segment. Accordingly, this will affect the pricing of each product version, and ultimately the packaging which displays the unique selling points and key advantages of each.

Now that the company has identified its target segments and designed and priced a product that’s suitable for each, the marketer needs to drill down further and describe the target audience(s) of each segment. By that, we mean targeted groups of individuals who make the buying decision, and who need to be reached with marketing messages through effective communication channels. Going back to the previous example, the marketer will need to determine who decides what gets bought in the small business segment (probably the owner), and where he/she can be reached most effectively with the ad that results in a sale. The heading of the Google AdWords campaign could sound something like “Spend more time running your business than your books.” The same applies to the medium-sized business (accountant) and home (husband or wife?) segments, which are targeted with customized messages through a full-page ad in a magazine (medium-size business) or home/ parenting websites for the home user. The headings could read along the lines of: “A software simple enough to be used by all, but strong enough to support a fast growing business,” and “Keeping track of your balances and bills has just gotten a lot easier” respectively.

Things are usually more complicated than the above though, as most segments feature multiple target audiences with different needs. Using the accounting software company as an example again, the medium size business segment could very well also include the “owners” as a key target group, one that needs a product that keeps the accountant happy but doesn’t cost a fortune. The campaign suddenly has two different ads that are designed for the same segment, but for different readers; one who wants features and functionality, and another for the guy who’s highly conscious about the price –the one who signs the check. Yes, marketing can get complicated and difficult at times, but doing it the right way and not trying to fit everybody into one size pays off and will produce results that make everybody happy.

About the Author

Pinnacle Business & Marketing Consulting is a results-driven boutique consulting firm that specializes in providing clients with practical and pragmatic solutions to their business and marketing challenges.

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