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How Markets Are Segmented

15 January, 2016 - 09:18


  1. Understand and outline the ways in which markets are segmented.
  2. Explain why marketers use some segmentation bases versus others.

As you learned in Chapter 4 "Business Buying Behavior", sellers can choose to pursue consumer markets, business-to-business (B2B) markets, or both. Consequently, one obvious way to begin the segmentation process is to segment markets into these two types of groups. Next, we look primarily at the ways in which consumer markets can be segmented. Later in the chapter, we look at the ways in which B2B markets can be segmented.

In Chapter 3 "Consumer Behavior: How People Make Buying Decisions", we mentioned that certain factors drive consumers to buy certain things. Many of the same factors can also be used to segment customers. A firm will often use multiple segmentation bases, or criteria to classify buyers, to get a fuller picture of its customers and create real value for them. Each variable adds a layer of information. Think of it as being similar to the way in which your professor builds up information on a PowerPoint slide to the point at which you are able to understand the material being presented.

There are all kinds of characteristics you can use to slice and dice a market. You might not immediately think of some of them. What about the physical sizes of people? “Big-and-tall” stores cater to the segment of population that’s larger sized. What about people with wide or narrow feet, or people with medical conditions, certain hobbies, or different sexual orientations? Next, we’ll look at some of the more common characteristics market researchers look at when segmenting buyers—rather than, say, the width of their feet, although this could certainly be something you might look at, depending on your offering.