Consumer Behavior, Market Segmentation & Positioning

MRKT 310 Principles of Marketing

Week 4 Writing Assignment

Consumer Behavior, Market Segmentation & Positioning

Learning Outcomes

  1. Consumer decision-making process.  Student can identify how marketing strategy can influence each of the steps in the consumer decision-making process.  
  2. Segmentation.  Students can use the segmentation characteristics to identify and describe market segments.
  3. Target market & strategy. Students can identify a usable market segment to be a target market and determine an appropriate target-market strategy
  4. Positioning.  Students can develop and interpret a perceptual map.

Directions

  • Refer to the product or service you selected for your first writing assignment. This week, you want to take a closer look at what consumer factors may be relevant for customers who are considering buying your product or service offering.  This will require some critical thinking on your part based on your own behavior if you are a customer yourself, or you may want to talk to others who have purchased the product.  Sometimes you can find clues when looking at the marketing messages that may be addressing some of these factors. 
  • So far, you have only been considering the customers of your product or service as one big group, or a mass market.  More astute marketing breaks down this large group into smaller market segments of consumers who have similar characteristics.  For any specific product or service, there could be numerous market segments.  However, company resources may only allow a company to pursue one or two or these market segments, which then become target market(s).  In this paper, you should divide the mass market for your product or service into at least two market segments and then pick one target market you think would have the most potential for future growth.  
  • Chances are you picked a product with which you are familiar. That is a good starting point, and you may represent one target market.  But you may represent a target market that is saturated and therefore not the best target market to pick for the remainder of the semester.  So be sure your second target market is different enough and represents growth potential. 
  • If you did not do a thorough analysis of the competition in the prior writing assignment, you may need to go back and figure out the nature of the product’s or service’s competition.  This will be important when you address the positioning of your product for your newly identified target market inasmuch as positioning is a competition-based concept.  

Part 1

  1. Consumer decision-making process.  Go through the six steps of the purchase process outlined in the readings and identify where marketing can influence each of the six steps.   For example, if a consumer just identified a need for your product in step one, then the company can advertise how your product fills that need.  Or, if a consumer purchased your product, the consumer can be called and asked about their satisfaction with the product and if there is any dissatisfaction steps can be taken to ensure the customer satisfaction.  Be sure to be more specific with respect to your product or service than this example.
  2. Segmentation.  View Table 5.1 of your Week 4 Reading, in Section 5.2, How Markets are Segmented.  Using the various criteria of the segmentation bases described in Table 5.1, identify at least two distinct market segments for your product or service.  Each market segment description must include at least three (more if needed) of the characteristics from amongst any of the four bases categories (e.g. one from demographic variables, one or two from psychographic variables, and one from behavioral variables, or a similar scheme).  Be sure to explain your choices based on what customer need the product or service offering can fill for each segment. 

Part 2

  1. Target market & strategy.  Select one of the market segments you described in your segmentation response as the one you believe is or can be the most profitable for your product or service offering and explain why you feel they can represent growth for the company.  Refer to the six criteria for an attractive market segment as described in Section 5.3 of the reading ‘Selecting Target Markets’.  Name your target market so you can use this name throughout all of your remaining writing assignments.  Your name should be descriptive of the segments’ characteristics like ‘savvy young shoppers’ or ‘educated baby boomers’, or ‘urban hipsters’, or the like.  The goal is for your faculty member to get a mental image of your target market for the remainder of the semester. Should the company focus all their resources on this new target market (concentrated marketing) or should they continue to pursue both the new and the existing target market as well as other market segments (multi-segment marketing)?  Alternatively, is the market so saturated might they be more successful by focusing solely on an even more narrow market segment, perhaps an even narrower version (niche marketing) of your selected target market, as their best chance for growth?  What is your reasoning?
  2. Positioning.  Draw a perceptual map as illustrated in the week’s readings or the website in the directions. Be sure to pick two criteria that are important to your new target market for your two axes, perhaps two of the criteria you used in Week 1 in your competitive analysis.  Map at least the two major competitors you noted in the previous writing assignment and add any others that you may have discovered since then.  You may want to visit this resource for more information on how to construct a perceptual map.  Describe what the perceptual map is telling you regarding how each product is perceived in the minds of the new target market you described above.  You may have to make a series of educated guesses for some of the data points.  Ideally, you want to find uncontested space. If your product overlaps with a competing offering discuss whether or not your product or service should try for an ‘uncontested’ space on the map and ‘reposition’ itself; or if it should keep the same position and compete head on with the other product. 
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