Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Customer Analysis and Segementation

Part of the Commercial Aspects of Product Design module.

In the early stages of market segmentation, marketers find it useful to analyse the customer and create a customer profile. This analysis is split into four major groups; culture, social, personal and psychological (Kotler, Armstrong, 2014).

Having studied marketing briefly before, I was aware of segmentation methods and customer profiling, but hadn't considered the four consumer buyer behaviour groups individually.  Although individually the categories seem quite distinct, there's a big overlap between them when you consider them all together.  For example, culture covers your nationality, any subcultures you might be part of, as well as your social class, but personal also covers your social class as it is part of your economic background and occupation and thus your spending power and lifestyle.  In turn, social, which cover any aspirational or members groups you might be part of, is also dictated by the lifestyle you choose to have, and therefore your economic and class standing.  In my mind, psychological, is the only category which can be truly separated from the rest as it covers much more nuanced and personal details such as motivation, beliefs and attitude.

Consumer behaviour can also be split into the slightly more defined titles of social, personal, psychological and situational (Drummond, Ensor, Ashford, 2008).  This merges the social and culture categories of the previous method, and adds the situational category, where the buying situation is also taken into account - ie. perceived risk and hedonic factors.

On the whole, I feel that this kind of consumer buyer behaviour analysis overgeneralises far too much and ends up categorising people into demographics - its this heavy handed approach that means that all products for girls are designed in pink.  It's a fairly unsophisticated method of putting people in boxes.

Outside of demographic analysis, market segmentation can provide a more accurate method of categorising and targeting certain consumers.

Geographic/Locational (region, city, countryside, wifi zone, website, in store) - Where are they when they need your product?

Behavioural (social media, websites, forums, google keywords) - What do they search for to find your product?

Occasional/ Situational (routine, special occasion, time of day) - What are they doing when they need your product?

Psychographic (lifestyle, personality) - What interests do they have that you could target?

The product I am using to develop a marketing scheme in this module is The Big Book of Calm (from my Advanced Digital Design module).

Because my product is innovative and there aren't any others like it in the market at the moment, there is no pre-existing market, so I would need to define my own.  The Big Book of Calm could easily be targeted at people who are interested in holistic remedies,  and already enjoy meditation techniques, but I think a larger and more sustainable gap in the market would be people who suffer from anxiety, whether they are predisposed to the condition or have particularily stressful lives.

Inspirational Imagery - found on Pinterest from Free People: Source

To target this new market I could use a locational segment, for example, using billboards by the side of the road which suffer from heavy traffic.  People in traffic often feel bored and stressed and so an advert for a calming device may stick in their minds and could trigger need recognition.  For behavioural segmentation, I could target the flow of "inspirational" images on social media (e.g. those with beautiful scenery and a motivational phrase) on pinterest, twitter and tumblr.  Alternatively I could use situational segmentation, putting the product into public sector schools and hospitals, which would then create product interest in the private sector through word-of-mouth.

Drummond, G.  Ensor, J.  Ashford, R. (2008) Strategic Marketing: Planning and control. 3rd Edition., USA:Butterworth-Heinemann
Kotler, P. Armstrong, G (2014) Principles of Marketing. 15th Edition., Essex:Pearson Education Limited