Accept that everyone will NOT like your brand

It’s hard for mothers to accept that “everyone” will not like their child. And here is a clip from Seinfeld to explain your mom’s position.

Surprisingly, numerous businesses and marketers seem to think like Seinfeld’s mother when it comes to understanding and accepting “market segmentation”. That everyone will or must  like your brand.

It is perhaps our human condition, that makes us believe that people like us by default. Particularly if they have never heard of us, never Googled us and never met us. So with the brands we are trying to market. And brands include our “personal” brand.

In fact, accepting and “owning” the market segmentation idea is the most difficult concept in marketing. Reading about market segmentation is one thing but being ruthless about it seems to be almost impossible. And you can observe this confusion  in  marketing efforts from the largest companies on the Fortune list to the the smallest shop on main street.

We are not saying that you should not expand your market segments. You must. But it needs to start with  a conscious definition of the “market segment” you are trying to reach.

Market segments are also called “Ideal customer”, “Customer persona” but the definitions seem to be fluid in practice. The fuzzy nature of how businesses understand their market segments is a problem because:

Fuzzy market segmentation, just wastes your marketing dollars and energy

Here are two ways to be clearer and more disciplined  about your market segments:

  1. Look at your current customers: Look at your current customers in terms of all variables you have on your databases. These includes the direct mail mantra of “Recency,Frequency,Monetary Value” that gives you a first cut at bunching (i.e. segmenting) customers together by similarity on these three counts. Next look at demographic variables like age,gender,income,education. These bits of information are available freely online. You’ll find that there are clear patterns of people who are already customers and they form natural bunches. Visualizing your existing customer base does not need advanced data mining tools. A simple histogram or pie chart from excel will give you amazing insights into what  your current  customer looks like.
  2. What’s changing about your customers? -to define new segments: You might find that a) your customers are changing and b) the customer’s world is changing. Customers might be getting older and you may need to get younger customers. A great example is from Angie’s List the website to find recommended local businesses  like plumbers and electricians. Earlier,  you had to become a paid member of Angie’s list to use the service. The company realized that millennials will not pay for membership.So they have now adopted a freemium model to attract more users,particularly the millennials. If you want a warranty from Angie’s list , you can buy a paid membership. With a larger member base the company hopes to  try to and  increase its advertising revenues. 

Everything about marketing hinges on the concept of identifying the most likely buyers i.e. those who are likely to buy and enjoy what you have to offer. The better your organization becomes at focussing on  the market segments, the more your business will bloom. And its quite OK if everyone does NOT like your brand.

We wish our readers a great Labor day weekend!

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