Segmentation – Divide and Conquer….

Segmentation is a really and truly a war stratagem based on the divide and conquer principle. Not that we as marketers think of our job as conquering customers, we see it more as ‘winning’ customers.

The ‘dividing’ of customers into sets of consumers according to age, status, educational level, origin, class and similar is not done because of a whim but because we know that people who have similar demographics, traits, habits, lifestyles often have similar consumption patterns.  Thus identification of the correct segment is very important for marketers who need to develop targeted products at a ‘specific’ price tag and promote via targeted promotions.  Once the segment is evaluated, the marketer can focus on creating the ‘ideal’ product or service and position it accordingly. Segmentation and positioning go hand-in-hand because positioning is about creating the image of the product in the consumer’s mind in particular vis-a-vis the competing offers.

Recently MarketingWeek, published a very interesting feature about an emerging segment in the UK Market.  Labelled as the ‘Silver Separators’, it refers to segment of 60+ people who decide to separate from their spouses. Once unwed, these people, who are often in the life-cycle stage where their children are adults and have left home,  find themselves completely free to reinvent themselves and possibly indulge in activities which they never had the opportunity to participate becuase of their previous commitments. One interesting phenomenon that has been noticed is that these ‘Silver Separators’ are often cash and time rich. In other words, they are pensioners who have both the time and money.  High on the list of their requests is plastic surgery, exotic holidays, extensive cruises  and moving to warmer climates. Marketers know that this is a lucrative market because segments which have money and have time to spend it can be rare to come by.

Indeed segmentation is not just about finding a niche from which to operate. It is beneficial because it is also an opportunity for growth. Studies of segments, sometimes identify micro-segments which are highly profitable or micro-segments which a company should abstain from servicing to avoid making a loss. As customers’ needs change over time, the analysis of segments is crucial  to sustain a customer relationship in all phases of the customer life-cycle. Sometimes proper segmentation analysis stimulates innovation by prompting the marketer into the development of new products and services. All in all segmentation is one fundamental tool to sustain a high market share and increased profitability.

Read the full feature about the ‘Silver Separators’ from www.marketingweek.co.uk here.