Market Segmentation: The Organization Challenge
The bases for segmentation according to Kolter and Keller (2011) consist of important variables, starting with demographics, and then followed by operating variables and ending with personal characteristic of the buyer. “Market segmentation divides a market into a well-defined slice. A market segment consists of a group of customers who share a similar set of needs and wants.” (Kolter and Keller, 2011) However, which market to target is usually any organizations challenge.
There are many methods to targeting markets, however, Henry Ford introduced the Model-T Ford car that was only offered in one color, black. This model ignored segment differences by only presenting one offer to the market that is made to reduce costs and in return lower prices and greater margins. When a company does not need to maintain and manage more than one variant, it offer only one choice to the marker, however, this mass marketing or undifferentiated marketing many have been widely appropriate and accepted in the early twentieth century when mass production and few choices were acceptable. These approaches still work for very few companies such as Microsoft and Coca-Cola. However, in modern times, with the changes in globalization trends, advanced technology and increased diversified wants of consumers, competition has restricted the choices of mass marketing if companies want to stay competitive. Segmentation, customized production and targeted marketing is therefore vital to succeed, as one size does not fit all.
Another company that has been successful is Southwest Airlines who segmented its customer based on the reason for their travels and have based seat price according to the reason of travel, which allows for targeting and position based on difference customers. Mass marketing no longer works for many companies and other than very few such as cola-cola, as greater segmentation is required to stay competitive and satisfy customer expectations. Although Henry Ford’s Model T is widely accepted and adopted to meet ‘average’ consumer demands, it can be said that in the twenty first century even the ‘average’ consumer’s expectations vary from one market to the other.
Social Media Segmentation: Formulating Segments by Platform
In the history of marketing, previous generations could not even dream of the amount of data we have in hand today as well as the rich sources of information, being accessible with ease. By the very nature of social media, it’s all about sharing personal information, compiled with interests, curiosities, facts, desires and connections. There’s an immense amount of actionable and valuable data being exchanged on Facebook that the CIA it self considered it as a valuable asset of information and intelligence. Another is Twitter, associating ever 140-character tweet to count 150 different fields of metadata. (Kushner, 2015) Using all of this available data can ensure a significant boost for your business or marketing plan. Data segmentation allows marketers to know which type of content echoes with consumers personas as well as providing marketers the advantage of knowing which post might be most effective for capturing leads on social media.
If we look closely at all social media channels, it is evident that they are a great source for sales prospect profiling as well as being a warehouse of intelligent data that can influence the segmentation outline. For instance, LinkedIn offers loads of information about people’s professional lives. Data as such can be utilized to segment by profession, position, experience, employer, educational background, groups and connections. Twitter on the other hand has less personal information, hence, you can still learn from its tweets. In addition, the user’s bio, followers, website, people he/she follows can tell a great deal about the person. Not to forget, Facebook insights also provide data about the page’s engagement level, fan reach and fans that are following.
Conclusively, based on the research conducted, it is evident that the more marketers try to segment their target audience on social media, the more prospects they will have to associate segments with the right communication, timing, content and layouts. After all, sending the right message to consumers at the right time is what social medial marketing is all about.