As the business enters into rapid growth stage and marketing and sales effort increases, it is important to focus new staff in sales and service on the target segments.
Managers need descriptors of the segments to help them target the right customers, with the right product/message, at the right time and in the right way. The descriptor is a summary of the key identification bases (life-stage & socio-economic status in consumer markets and industry type & organizational position in B2B markets) and key response/attitudinal bases (product choice and buying criteria) that best describe the prospective customer in a segment of the market to be targeted.
A good way to create a segment descriptor to help the business accurately target customers from that segment is to start with the customer buying process or the customer response profile (why they buy and how they buy). In the illustration below, we have three main customer segments (or clusters) – the ‘knowledgeable astute’ buyer, the ‘keen learner’ buyer and the ‘hand holder’ buyer. Each segment has a distinctive attitudinal characteristic (reflective of their product choice and buying process behaviors).
The ‘knowledgeable, astute’ buyer is very confident about their knowledge and expertise and so the targeting of these customers with a proposition that allows them to buy online is very important. They don’t need or value the service of an expert sales/service assistant on the phone or in the shop.
On the other hand, the ‘hand, holder’ buyer is very un-confident about products generally in this category and they therefore value the facility of a one2one support from sales/service assistants on the phone and in the shop.
Illustration: Customer Clusters in Home Technology Product Market
|Cluster Descriptor||Market Size||
Key Attitudinal Characteristics
Confident product buyers not interested in a relationship with a provider
|At company shops. Direct, online for purchase|
|Keen Learners||19%||Unconfident product buyers interested in a relationship with a provider||
Online for information. Followed by visit to company shop
|Hand Holders||19%||Unconfident product buyers interested in a relationship with a provider||Knowledgeable shop specialisthelp one2one.|