Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Segmentation Mania.

Marketers will try to justify almost any worldview. After all, they reason, if enough people share or can be convinced of that worldview, there'll be a profit in it. But it's a dangerous fallacy. One that fuels a segmentation mania that alienates customers and distracts business focus.

The problem is that every business will develop different ways of imagining market segments, most likely attuned to their own strengths, the egoes of senior executives or the biases of the people charged with developing them. Today, this is increasingly exacerbated by the abuse of data capture and production flexibility. 

Data capture that enables the infinite slicing and dicing of customers all too often devolves into character sketches that are more caricature than clarity.

Production flexibility that facilitates customisation all too often leads to attempts to transform  product offerings that simply transform featuritis into modelitis.

In this blogpost, the writer shows where that leads in the phone industry and contrasts the efforts of some phone companies to produce myriad phones to slightly different specifications with the singular focus of Apple.

From my perspective, the former leads to customer confusion, reduced product presence and diminished aspirational appeal while Apple seems to eschew that type of micro-segmentation in preference for a bipartisan worldview - people who might want their products and people who don't
and a strategy of making the former as large as they can via organic growth built on product focus.

Businesses operate in a world where so much is possible. The successful ones are those which identify what is necessary.


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