Market Segmentation

Akhil Gautam

Abstract


While there may be theoretically 'ideal' market segments, in reality every organization engaged in a market will develop different ways of imagining market segments, and create product differentiation strategies to exploit these segments. The market segmentation and corresponding product differentiation strategy can give a firm a temporary commercial advantage.

Market segmentation is a marketing strategy that involves dividing a broad target market into subsets of consumers who have common needs and applications for the relevant goods and services. Depending on the specific characteristics of the product, these subsets may be divided by criteria such as age and gender, or other distinctions, like location or income. Marketing campaigns can then be designed and implemented to target these specific customer segments.

Where a monopoly exists, the price of a product is likely to be higher than in a competitive market and the quantity sold less, generating monopoly profits for the seller. These profits can be increased further if the market can be segmented with different prices charged to different segments charging higher prices to those segments willing and able to pay more and charging less to those whose demand is price elastic. The price discriminator might need to create rate fences that will prevent members of a higher price segment from purchasing at the prices available to members of a lower price segment. This behavior is rational on the part of the monopolist, but is often seen by competition authorities as an abuse of a monopoly position, whether or not the monopoly itself is sanctioned. Areas in which this price discrimination is seen range from transportation to pharmaceuticals.

This paper covers the various strategies that involves in dividing a broad market into sub segments. Market segmenting is dividing the market into groups of individual markets with similar wants or needs that a company divides into distinct groups which have distinct needs, wants, behavior or which might want different products & services. Broadly, markets can be divided according to a number of general criteria, such as by industry or public versus private. Although industrial market segmentation is quite different from consumer market segmentation, both have similar objectives. All of these methods of segmentation are merely proxies for true segments, which don't always fit into convenient demographic boundaries.

Consumer-based market segmentation can be performed on a product specific basis, to provide a close match between specific products and individuals. However, a number of generic market segment systems also exist, e.g. the system provides a broad segmentation of the population of the United States based on the statistical analysis of household and geo demographic data.

The process of segmentation is distinct from positioning (designing an appropriate marketing mix for each segment). The overall intent is to identify groups of similar customers and potential customers; to prioritize the groups to address; to understand their behavior; and to respond with appropriate marketing strategies that satisfy the different preferences of each chosen segment. Revenues are thus improved.

Once a market segment has been identified (via segmentation), and targeted (in which the viability of servicing the market intended), the segment is then subject to positioning. Positioning involves ascertaining how a product or a company is perceived in the minds of consumers.

This part of the segmentation process consists of drawing up a perceptual map, which highlights rival goods within one's industry according to perceived quality and price. After the perceptual map has been devised, a firm would consider the marketing communications mix best suited to the product in question.

Market segmentation is one of the steps that goes into defining and targeting specific markets. It is the process of dividing a market into a distinct group of buyers that require different products or marketing mixes. Opportunities in marketing increase when segmented groups of clients and customers with varying needs and wants are recognized.


Keywords


Segmentation; Communication; Positioning; monopoly

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References


'What is geographic segmention' Kotler, Philip, and Kevin Lane Keller. Marketing Management. Prentice Hall, 2006.

Kotler, Philip, and Kevin Kevin Lane Keller. Marketing Management.

Prentice Hall, 2006. Russell I. Haley , “Benefit Segmentation: A Decision-Oriented Research Tool”, Journal of Marketing

Wedel, M., & Kamakura (2002), “ Introduction to the Special Issue on Market Segmentation”, Intern. Journal of Research in Marketing

Smith, W. (1956), “Product differentiation and market segmentation as alternative marketing strategies”, Journal of Marketing


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