Marketing isn’t as easy as it looks, despite the proliferation of internet guides that promise to teach you how to become a master marketer. If it were that easy, there wouldn’t be any advantage to gain by spending two or more years earning a college degree in marketing.
The advantage of earning a degree in marketing is that you get to dive deeply into the psychology behind what drives people to buy; you learn a multitude of details about how to deliver your marketing messages. This isn’t easy to learn on your own.
If you’ve been trying to figure out the secret to being massively successful at marketing (like the major corporations), you’re about to discover a big part of that secret.
Multi-Segment Marketing – an overview
When looking at it from the outside, it’s hard to reverse engineer what makes certain marketing campaigns so successful. One of the success factors happens to be something called “multi-segment marketing.” Here’s what it is, how it works, and how you can apply it to your business right away without having to earn a degree in marketing first.
Multi-segment marketing is crafting different marketing messages for the same product in order to appeal to a wider market. This is done by taking the overall market and creating segments within that market where each segment has a specific commonality.
Various ways to segment one general market
- By demographics. You can create segments based on age, gender, and even personal preferences – for example, people who love to shop online but don’t want to go into the store. Or, you can segment by who the audience is by allowing the visitor to self-identify.
- By intent of use. You may have a product that gets used in a variety of ways; in this case, you can offer the same product to various niches just by pointing out that your product is specifically for them. You can even accomplish this on the homepage of your website like this jazz band website does. They offer one service – the opportunity to hire a professional jazz band – but they offer four different ways. By providing these different options that appeal to four different markets, they know their marketing message will be properly targeted when visitors self-select their own target group.
- By price point. Sometimes all it takes to segment your market to reach different groups of people is a change in price. For example, an auto dealership has the opportunity to appeal to high-income and mid-range income people. Almost everyone would love to drive a brand new BMW, but only those with higher incomes can afford them. If a dealership started selling used BMWs, they’d reach more of their market because they would be providing options for people with a different income.To market your business as an auto dealer, you would only target your high-income earners when advertising in their exclusive spaces – like country club magazines, and other publications reserved for people with higher incomes. In these ads, it would be appropriate to advertise your brand new BMWs.You would target your mid-income earners by advertising in publications and spaces where they hang out, and your ads would be best to feature your used BMWs.
A practical approach to segmenting your market
1. Ask yourself if your product has a competitive advantage.
If your product is a piece of accounting software, for example, you won’t have a competitive advantage when selling it to a local mail center over a retail outlet.
However, if your product is a piece of accounting software that runs on the iPad, syncs with the iPhone, and is specifically built to accommodate taking orders from customers on the go, you’ll have a significant competitive advantage when marketing it to restaurants and drive-through coffee shops because those are features they need.
2. If your product has a competitive advantage, focus there first.
By focusing on the segment where you have a competitive advantage, you’ll find the most leverage and the fastest sales.
3. Create a Customer Value Proposition (CVP) for every segment of your market.
This is the unique offering you’ll use to market to each of your segments. The CVP is what customers want to get out of your product. What will it do for them? What will it add to their life? What pain will it solve?
Cleverism.com has a complete guide to market segmentation that outlines the process in a step-by-step guide with an explanation of the major types of segmentation and how they are defined.
The other side of the coin
Some research has indicated there could be a downside to using different marketing messages to promote the same product. The question is whether it affects people negatively when they are exposed to ads that are targeted to people from a different demographic. What will people think about the product if they see it advertised in a way that doesn’t appeal to them? Considering how much advertising people are exposed to online, it’s bound to happen and you need to consider how it might affect your marketing efforts.
In the study described in the link above, multiple advertisements were designed to promote a game where players were settlers working to build a new country. The advertisements were designed to appeal to very different groups of people. When participants were first shown the ad targeting someone else’s group and then the ad targeting their group, they were more inclined to make the purchase.
Conversely, when participants were first shown the ad targeting their own group, and then they were shown the ad aimed at another group, they were less inclined to buy the game. Perhaps because the second non-targeted ad could have made them think the game isn’t really for them, after all.
Overall, people like feeling special. They like knowing that products and services are designed just for them. Making your customers feel special is the foundation of successfully marketing your business and building loyalty for your brand. By presenting your products and services to specific groups of people based on their targeted needs, you’ll be ten steps ahead of everyone else and success will be in sight.