The evolution of technology and society has produced a significant impact on the business environment and on marketing particularly. Specialists have to implement efficient strategies and customer-oriented approaches to attract potential clients and maintain a positive image and reputation of a company. Specifically, marketers need to study the target audience and perform market segmentation before launching new projects to evaluate potential risks and benefits involved in offering new products and services at specific terms and prices. Therefore, it would be helpful to analyze how researching a target market and performing its segmentation could be beneficial to increasing the efficiency of sales operations by discussing several specific examples.
According to specialists, marketing involves creating and communicating value for products and services and delivering them to customers, partners, and society with the aim of conducting maximum financial profits (Chapter 9: Marketing: Providing Value to Customers, 2012). Thus, the concept consists of three major elements: identifying the desires of potential clients, developing appropriate offers, and mobilizing the company to satisfy customer needs and expectations and achieve strategic goals.
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Consequently, the first and most crucial involves performing two activities: selecting a target market that can be either consumer or industrial, and segmenting it. The segments include groups of people that possess common characteristics that influence their desires, capabilities, and decisions. There are four types of segmentation: demographic, geographic, behavioral, and psychographic (Chapter 9: Marketing: Providing Value to Customers, 2012). The first one divides the market by social attributes like age, gender, and ethnicity, and the second – by the place of residence. The behavioral segmentation studies the attitude of customers towards specific products, services, and social tendencies (Chapter 9: Marketing: Providing Value to Customers, 2012). The last one identifies general views, opinions, lifestyles, and values of individuals to determine the areas that could arouse maximum interest.
Secondly, it would be advantageous to analyze the practical implementation of market segmentation by reviewing the examples of Apple’s iPad, Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company, and time-shares in Vail, Colorado. It is believed that the target audience for the first product should have five main characteristics: age 18-35, decent personal or family income, urban and suburban location, technological optimism, and active social life. The first one is critical because it contributes to the susceptibility to external influence and interest in the popular trends that could be amplified by the last element. It implies that the decent level of income combined with the desire to obtain the latest technological gadgets could allow customers to buy each new model of iPad. Lastly, the dwellers of urban and suburban areas are more likely to possess all of these attributes. Based on the classification of market segmentation, the first and second components belong to the demographic group, and others − to geographic, behavioral, and psychographic accordingly.
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On the other hand, the products of Harley-Davidson should be oriented on a more mature and less susceptible audience. Therefore, potential clients should owe several fundamental characteristics: 30-55 years old, at least middle-class income, suburban or rural location, motorcycle experience, and the desire for freedom. The first and second elements are essential because the products of Harley-Davidson are intended for the audience that can reach informed decisions and afford its quite expensive products. Additionally, the dwellers of suburban and urban areas can receive more pleasure from riding a motorcycle due to the beauty of the surrounding environment, lack of heavy traffic, and feeling of freedom on an open road. Moreover, it is doubtful that an inexperienced individual could choose one of Harley-Davidson’s products due to their cost and operational features. The first and second components belong to the demographic group, and others − to geographic, behavioral, and psychographic respectively.
The services of time-sharing in Vail, Colorado should be oriented on a mature audience that seeks relaxation and escape from everyday routine. Therefore, potential customers should have several key attributes: age 35+, high income, urban location, active lifestyle, and desire for being outdoors. Firstly, clients have to be able to afford time-shares without sacrificing other needs. Secondly, escape locations are optimal for people from urban areas that wish to change their surroundings. Lastly, the locations of Vail, Colorado provide various opportunities for active leisure like hiking and skiing. The first two elements belong to demographic group, the third − to geographic, and others − to psychographic.
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In conclusion, choosing an appropriate market for products and services and performing its segmentation can be helpful in creating customer value and increasing profits. The discussion of several examples has demonstrated that the characteristics of potential clients differ significantly based on the type of offer.