Friday, February 23, 2007

Strategic Planning - the power of segmentation

This is the seventh in a series of articles about how to get more out of your strategic planning.

7. Segment Better

This tip goes with some of the previous tips very well. When I tell people they need better market segmentation, I don't mean that they need more market research data, or anything like that (although some of you surely do need more market data). What I really mean is that your segmentation looks just like everyone else's segmentation.

Remember tip #3, "Be different"? This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to become different that I can think of. You see, when you define a really unusual market segment that no one else uses, you start to think strategically about how to provide better products and services for that market. Because you are the only person targeting that segment, it doesn't take long before you become the preferred supplier for that segment. Now, that may not lead to 100% market share (although sometimes it does!), but it will enable you to have the first, best shot at any customer within that segment.

Here is a good way to re-think your segmentation productively: Take a look at a list of your 10 favorite customers - the ones you really make great money on. Ask - do any of these customers belong to a grouping that is NOT recognized as a segment in my industry? If your industry is segmented by consumer age and gender, for example, perhaps you should target by ethnicity, or hobbies. If you are in a B to B market that is segmented by industrial classifications like automotive and appliance, consider segmenting by size, ownership or creditworthiness. Not every segmentation you consider will work, but those that do will create golden opportunities for you!

1 comment:

~autolycus said...

Hi, Mr Bradford! Thanks for commenting on my blog. I've been involved in strategic planning in the education sector for about ten years now, and it's as frustrating as in any other sector. I am reading your blog with great interest now.