This is “Selecting Target Markets and Target-Market Strategies”, section 5.3 from the book Marketing Principles (v. 1.0).
This book is licensed under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa 3.0 license. See the license for more details, but that basically means you can share this book as long as you credit the author (but see below), don't make money from it, and do make it available to everyone else under the same terms.
This content was accessible as of December 29, 2012, and it was downloaded then by Andy Schmitz in an effort to preserve the availability of this book.
Normally, the author and publisher would be credited here. However, the publisher has asked for the customary Creative Commons attribution to the original publisher, authors, title, and book URI to be removed. Additionally, per the publisher's request, their name has been removed in some passages. More information is available on this project's attribution page.
For more information on the source of this book, or why it is available for free, please see the project's home page. You can browse or download additional books there. You may also download a PDF copy of this book (14 MB) or just this chapter (1 MB), suitable for printing or most e-readers, or a .zip file containing this book's HTML files (for use in a web browser offline).
After you segment buyers and develop a measure of consumer insight about them, you can begin to see those that have more potential. Now you are hunting with a rifle instead of a shotgun. The question is, do you want to spend all day hunting squirrels or ten-point bucks? An attractive market has the following characteristics:
Yogurt, Anyone? I Mean, Any Woman?(click to see video)
Are women an attractive target market for yogurt sellers? The maker of this humorous YouTube video thinks so. (She seems to imply they are the only market.)
Henry Ford proved that mass marketing can work—at least for a while. Mass marketing is also efficient because you don’t have to tailor any part of the offering for different groups of consumers, which is more work and costs more money. The problem is that buyers are not all alike. If a competitor comes along and offers these groups a product (or products) that better meet their needs, you will lose business.
Most firms tailor their offerings in one way or another to meet the needs of different segments of customers. Because these organizations don’t have all their eggs in one basket, they are less vulnerable to competition. Marriott International is an example of a company that operates in a multisegment market. The company has fifteen different types of facilities designed to meet the needs of different types of market segments, including the following:
A multisegment marketingTargeting multiple groups of consumers. strategy can allow you to respond to demographic and other changes in markets. For example, the growing number of people too old to travel have the option of moving into one of Marriott’s “Senior Living Services” facilities, which cater to retirees who need certain types of care. A multisegment strategy can also help you weather an economic downturn by allowing customers to trade up or down among your brands and products. Suppose you take a pay cut and can’t afford to stay at Marriott’s Ritz-Carlton hotels anymore. A room at a JW Marriott—the most luxurious of the Marriott-brand hotels but cheaper than the Ritz—is available to you. A multisegment strategy can also help you deal with the product life cycle issues discussed in Chapter 2 "Strategic Planning". If one of your products is “dying out,” you have others to fall back on.
Some firms—especially smaller ones with limited resources—engage in concentrated marketing. Concentrated marketingTargeting a very select group of customers. involves targeting a very select group of customers. Concentrated marketing can be a risky strategy because you really do have all of your eggs in one basket. The auto parts industry is an example. Traditionally, many North American auto parts makers have supplied parts exclusively to auto manufacturers. But when General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, and other auto companies experienced a slump in sales following the recession that began in 2008, the auto parts makers found themselves in trouble. Many of them began trying to make and sell parts for wind turbines, aerospace tools, solar panels, and construction equipment.Bernad Simon, “Alternative Routes For Survival,” Financial Times, April 23, 2009, 8.
Niche marketingTargeting an extremely select group of consumers. involves targeting an even more select group of consumers. When you’re engaging in niche marketing, your goal is to be a big fish in a small pond instead of a small fish in a big pond.“Niche Marketing,” BusinessDictionary.com, http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/niche-marketing.html (accessed December 2, 2009). Some examples of companies operating in niche markets include those shown in Table 5.5 "Companies That Operate in Niche Markets".
Table 5.5 Companies That Operate in Niche Markets
|Company||Niche||Market Share (%)|
|Tetra||Tropical fish food||80|
|St. Jude Medical Center||Artificial heart valves||60|
Source: José María Manzanedo, “Market Segmentation Strategies. How to Maximize Opportunities on the Potential Market,” February 20, 2005, http://www.daemonquest.com/en/research_and_insight/2006/10/11/market_segmentation_strategies_how_to_maximize_opportunities_on_the_potential_market (accessed April 13, 2012).
MicrotargetingThe process of gathering multiple sources of data available on people, everything from their tax and phone records to the catalogs they receive, so as to market to them., or narrowcasting, is a new effort to isolate markets and target them. It was originally used to segment voters during elections, including the 2004 U.S. presidential election. Microtargeting involves gathering all kinds of data available on people—everything from their tax and phone records to the catalogs they receive. One company that compiles information such as this is Acxiom. For a fee, Acxiom can provide you with a list of Hispanic consumers who own two pets, have caller ID, drive a sedan, buy certain personal care products, subscribe to certain television cable channels, read specified magazines, and have income and education levels within a given range.Leon Schiffman and Leslie Kanuk, Consumer Behavior, 10th ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2010), 80. Clearly, microtargeting has ethical implications. Data privacy issues will be discussed more in Chapter 14 "Customer Satisfaction, Loyalty, and Empowerment".
Firms that compete in the global marketplace can use any combination of the segmenting strategies we discussed or none at all. A microcosm of the targeting strategies used in global markets is shown in Figure 5.9 "Targeting Strategies Used in Global Markets". If you’re a seller of a metal like iron ore, you might sell the same product across the entire world via a metals broker. The broker would worry about communicating with customers around the world and devising different marketing campaigns for each of them.
Figure 5.9 Targeting Strategies Used in Global Markets
Most companies, however, tailor their offerings to some extent to meet the needs of different buyers around the world. For example, Mattel sells Barbie dolls all around the world—but not the same Barbie. Mattel has created thousands of different Barbie offerings designed to appeal to all kinds of people in different countries.
Pizza Hut has franchises around the world, but its products, packaging, and advertising are tailored to different markets. Squid is a popular topping in Asia, for instance. Companies tailor products not only for different countries but also for different customers in different countries. For example, Procter & Gamble’s China division now offers products designed for different local market segments in that country. P&G has an advanced formulation of laundry detergent for the premium segment, a modified product for the second (economy) segment, and a very basic, inexpensive product created for the third (rural) segment.Dan Sewell, “P&G May Make Changes as it Faces Challenges,” The Associated Press, June 9, 2009.
Sellers are increasingly targeting consumers in China, Russia, India, and Brazil because of their fast-growing middle classes. Take the cosmetics maker Avon. Avon’s largest market is no longer the United States. It is Brazil. Brazilians are extremely looks-conscious and increasingly able to afford cosmetic products as well as plastic surgery.Jonathan Wheatley, “Business of Beauty Is Turning Heads in Brazil,” Financial Times, January 20, 2010, 5. So attractive are these countries that firms are changing how they develop goods and services, too. “Historically, American companies innovated in the U.S. and took those products abroad,” says Vjay Govindarahan, a professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. Now, says Govindarahan, companies are creating low-cost products to capture large markets in developing countries and then selling them in developed countries. Acer’s $250 laptop and General Electric’s ultrainexpensive $1,000 electrocardiogram device are examples. The world’s cheapest car, the $2,500 Tato Nano, was developed for India but is slated to be sold in the United States.Daniel, McGinn, “Cheap, Cheap, Cheap,” Newsweek, February 2010, 10.
Other strategies for targeting markets abroad include acquiring (buying) foreign companies or companies with large market shares there. To tap the Indian market, Kraft made a bid to buy the candymaker Cadbury, which controls about one-third of India’s chocolate market. Likewise, to compete against Corona beer, the Dutch brewer Heineken recently purchased Mexico’s Femsa, which makes the beer brands Dos Equis, Tecate, and Sol.Michael J. de la Merced and Chris V. Nicholson, “Heineken in Deal to Buy Big Mexican Brewer,” New York Times, January 11, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/business/global/12beer.html (accessed January 26, 2010). However, some countries don’t allow foreign firms to buy domestic firms. They can only form partnerships with them. Other regulatory and cultural barriers sometimes prevent foreign firms from “invading” a country. IKEA, the Swedish home-furnishings maker, eventually left Russia because it found it too hard to do business there. By contrast, McDonald’s efforts to expand into Russia have been quite successful. Having saturated other markets, the hamburger chain is hoping to continue to grow by opening hundreds of new stores in the country.
A market worth targeting has the following characteristics: (1) It’s sizeable enough to be profitable, given your operating costs; (2) it’s growing; (3) it’s not already swamped by competitors, or you have found a way to stand out in the crowd; (4) it’s accessible, or you can find a way to reach it; (5) you have the resources to compete in it; and (6) it “fits in” with your firm’s mission and objectives. Most firms tailor their offerings in one way or another to meet the needs of different segments of customers. A multisegment marketing strategy can allow a company to respond to demographic and other changes in markets, including economic downturns. Concentrated marketing involves targeting a very select group of customers. Niche marketing involves targeting an even more select group of consumers. Microtargeting, or narrowcasting, is a new, effort to “super target” consumers by gathering all kinds of data available on people—everything from their tax and phone records to the catalogs they receive. Firms that compete in the global marketplace can use any combination of these segmenting strategies or none at all. Sellers are increasingly targeting consumers in China, Russia, India, and Brazil because of their fast-growing middle classes. Firms are creating low-cost products to capture large markets in developing countries such as these and then selling the products in developed countries. Other strategies for targeting markets abroad include acquiring foreign companies or forming partnerships with them.