“Customers” are NOT identical. A “market” is only a corral of market segments. Until business leaders fully accept that fact, businesses will not do as well as they could, probably flounder at some stage, and ultimately fail as their competitors (who DO “get it”) out-manoeuvre them.

The Most POWERFUL tool in a business strategist’s arsenal is Market Segmentation

For years I have used market segmentation to successfully “breakthrough” and improve the direction of employers’ and clients’ businesses. Market Segmentation is the “secret sauce” which helps businesses find the best customers.

Multi-million-dollar outcomes have followed market segmentation. It simply is the single most powerful tool in the marketing manager’s arsenal of marketing tools.

Identification of market segments almost guarantees optimal decision-making

With superior segmentation, you can identify attractive market segments so you can target and position your marketing mix and best satisfy the needs and wants of your “preferred” primate target audience prospects. This helps you “marry” your capabilities and appeal to the potential customers who desire your unique offering. (Every offering is unique, but that’s another topic.) Market Segmentation secures sustainable competitive advantage and market dominance.

Better customer insight and segmentation

Using proven market research methods, Market Segmentation means you’ll best be able to deliver differentiation strategies that achieve brand loyalty and brand preference.

You can get insight into where your profits come from, how to improve them, and how to best spend your marketing budget to reap the greatest returns.

You get insight and direction for decisions regarding:

* Distribution strategies and channel management

* Product management strategies and brand management

* Pricing and discounting strategies

* Improving demand & identifying high return customers

* New product development

* Brand Equity movements and brand portfolio opportunities

And more!

Market segmentation studies help identify opportunities and threats, competitors and trends… all helping you maximise your competitive marketing advantage.

Are you doomed, or are you set up for success?

Outside of micro businesses (under $5M p.a.) if your business hasn’t undertaken a proper, professional segmentation study in the past three years, you’re cruising for a bruising.

Worse still, if you (or your business leaders) think “marketing” is a word that accurately describes “advertising” and/or “promotion”, you’re likely in for, or already experiencing, a world of pain!

Almost all of the most successful businesses in the world, certainly the most profitable and powerful companies, all undertake annual or bi-annual segmentation studies. It is typical to find businesses that have failed who neither understand the definition of marketing or undertake (proper) market segmentation.

Common Sense

When management meetings happen and someone says, “Everyone wants…”, “Nobody will…” or “Buyers prefer…”, you NOW you’re in trouble: Subjective opinion is no more than unsubstantiated assumption, and “assumptions are the mother of all mistakes”.

It makes perfect common sense to ask… to ask enough people to know, and then if you ask the right questions you get the right answers , and if you ask people what they want and they tell you… and you LISTEN… then it is an effort to go wrong.

Remarkably, this common sense escapes many operational executives who get caught up in micro-economic detail and “can’t see the wood for the trees”.

I wonder if this could explain why businesses fail, and why corporations don’t experience ongoing success and longevity.

Do you agree? Please comment and let’s discuss?

  1. The word “Marketing” is used as a synonym for selling, promotion, or marketing communications.
  2. Marketing and Sales are at odds… see each other as different departments or business units, exhibit power tussles and can be uncollaborative. Sales people are left to do all the selling.
  3. There s no Marketing qualified executive on the Board of Directors
  4. The CMO or head Marketing executive does NOT possess an MBA or actual Marketing degree.
  5. Marketing Planning is NOT a priority and routine in your organisation
  6. Client satisfaction levels are below 85%
  7. There is high animosity between the employees and management of the Company.
  8. Your brand actually disturbs a proportion of your market rather than attracts it.
  9. Trade partners and stakeholder hold you in low regard.
  10. Market share and/or profitability are falling or steady.

If any of these symptoms exist in YOUR Company, you AT LEAST should read and consider, “The Four Faces of Marketing”, free at … http://j.mp/ALLmktg

Too many marketing strategists believe their own BS! Pricing Strategy, Communications strategy, Online Strategy, branding strategy etc. isn’t genius… it is obvious, common sense that evolves out of the fact that perfect knowledge leads to perfect decisions.

I’ve had an extraordinary number of commercial successes in my career, record-breaking ones… NOT because I am one bit smarter, more intuitive, have more street cunning or am unusually lucky, but because I persevered long enough in learning my trade to be able to recognise the one, inalienable truth of business: If you genuinely know what the customer wants and can give it to them, they WILL buy!

The absolute secret, of all extraordinary business success, is knowing the customer.

Is it REALLY that simple?

Whether it is the individual or the segment – yes!

There are so many examples of this across the internet, in each of our careers, recorded, diagnosed, studied and reported by academics around the world, and demonstrable in every case study and high return annual report… so why do we complicate and confuse, cloud and cover this fact?

Think about it…

Pricing Strategy: In particular Value-Based pricing? Know the customer!

Communications strategy: In particular advertising & positioning? Know the customer!

Retailing: In particular store layout, ranging, staffing, location? Know the customer!

Manufacturing: Everything from branding, sizing, packaging, new product development, distribution strategy? Know the customer!

Why is the business community in denial?

When FMCG hummed a merry tune, the industry habitually committed to segmentation studies annually… but as operational executives with corporate political skills rose in a culture of corporate arrogance, costs were cut to carve out larger profits, ignorant to the fact they were really blunting competitive advantage and digesting brand equity.

In adequately training marketing personnel, briefing and sustaining market research of questionable quality, undermined the payback from segmentation studies and other market research.

Over the years, the team at my firm has written strategy for transport, banks, FMCG, commodities, utilities, government that has generated record-breaking results, unimagined sales growth, and extraordinary profits… why? Simply better understanding of the customer – EVERY time!

In most fields of study, for example, medicine, the body of scientific study is held in the realms of academia: Knowledge, findings, advances, models and theories openly shared and proudly distributed, discussed passionately and debated publically… with advances evident and progress (relatively) steady.

Aahhh, not so with Marketing.

Here the boy of funding, knowledge, findings, advances, methods and models are greedily and selfishly concealed from exposure to other, and particularly competitive scrutiny and adoption.

Of course any competitive advantage is short-lived as executives within an industry move and secrets last only as long as 100% staff retention
This jealous guardian ship of knowledge not only diminishes the advancement of the science, its creates deterioration of the core knowledge over time, prevents additional development and adoption that may create further sophistications and development, and can be lost, devalued or discarded in the politics of corporate dynamics.
From a commercial perspective this is only the first ripple of loss that infects the world of marketing.
The effect of this propagates and protects the pure academic in marketing. Locked out of any real advances, the world f academic marketing now produces irrelevant revamp of already proven marketing models, with dubious new interpretations of arguable worth and little commercial value. Where marketing schools preferred commercially involved professors a few decades ago, the new leaders of academic marketing lack the grounding in ‘hard-yard’ commercial experience to bring high-commercial value concepts to the table… not that they can’t but because they are starved of material with which to work.
The research that they need is buried in the coffers of corporate research that is rarely mined to the extent academics are capable and keen to mine, lost in in-trays of operational marketing managers who forget 50% of what they learned in their marketing degree 20 years ago and the other 50% over the first three years they were in the work force.
…. EVERYONE LOSES!
So listless academics stroll the earth re-writing marketing knowledge honed in the 60’s, just like Michael Porter did with his 5 forces (nothing we didn’t know, and use, in the 70’s, just re-worked and published with a catchy headline), and marketing giants like Drucker are shoved sideways by the academic pressure to ‘publish or perish’.
The science of marketing brought us life cycle analysis, Ansoff’s matrix, the Boston Matrix, buyer adoption curve and led to partnerships that allowed us to view business problems using tools like the GE Matrix. However, the expiry of PIMS database is a symptom of the demise of the science that has spread in plague proportions.
The second commercial ripple of loss that infects the world of marketing is our marketing students, courses, lecturers and textbooks are suffering the decay of covert secrecy in marketing.
The third, chronic commercial ripple of loss that infects the world of marketing is our unwillingness, inability, arrogance and pride that blocks aptitude to recognise, consider, identify and utilise any valuable new advances that do escape the net of secrecy, selfishness and destructive critique.
Readers may wish to comment on this and offer solutions to redeem and advance marketing as a commercial science in the future.