Marketing Assignment: Critiquing The Concept Of Segmentation, Targeting & Positioning
Task: This marketing assignmenthas been designed to allow students the opportunity to explore the underlying importance and application of marketing strategy and implementation concepts to produce recommendations for selected organisations. “…positioning and segmentation are distinct parts of the strategy process and provide us with some extremely powerful tools; but ultimately they are linked by the central issue of focusing on satisfying customer’s needs in ways that are superior to competitors” (Hooley et al, 2017 p159)*.
*Hooley et al (2017) Marketing Strategy & Competitive Positioning. 6th ed. Harlow Pearson.
By reference to academic literature evaluate, and critique the concepts of Segmentation, Targeting & Positioning (STP) including a consideration of implementation issues.
With supporting evidence, use appropriate examples from different industries (plural) to exemplify how different organisations (plural) have applied STP, to demonstrate your learning and application of this topic. Indicate how any company could apply the concepts around STP, making generic recommendations for best practice.
The 21st century business environment has become competitive in nature. Thus, it is stated in this marketing assignment that organizations are constantly focusing on developing and adopting strategies that can help them gain competitive advantage and strive in the global market. Marketing strategies or strategies to increase the reach of products/services among a greater number of potential clients are one of them. To target potential clients or customers, marketers tend to adopt Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning (STP). The objective of STP is to target potential customers to increase sales of products within the market. It also helps in conceptualization of marketing practice (Venter, Wright and Dibb, 2015). The aim of this report is to discuss on various theoretical concepts of STP and it has used by various organizations operating in various industries across the world.
As mentioned earlier, concepts of marketing help organizations develop competitive advantage. There are various marketing models and theories that can help firm gain competitive advantage in effective ways. According to the study conducted by Möller and Parvinen, (2015), marketing models are part of academic marketing and this helps in understanding market orientation of businesses. Furthermore, various concepts of marketing also help in enhancing value-based selling within the workplace. The author also states that marketing models have relevance with planning and implementation of various marketing strategies within the firm. Furthermore, as opined by Groening, Sarkis and Zhu, (2018), green marketing is one of the most discussed marketing concepts across the world. The objective of green marketing is to portray various aspects of sustainability and how sustainable business practices can have positive impact on the natural environment. The main aim behind initiating green marketing is to ensure consumers shift their purchase behaviour towards product that are eco-friendly. This can also be termed as green purchase behaviour. The author also states that the concept of green marketing has gained popularity in recent years because it is solely responsible for enhancing corporate or brand reputation and help the firm gain competitive business advantage.
There are various marketing models that are solely used by marketing practitioners to increase the reach of the product or services across a greater number of customers. As opined by Kotler and Keller, (2016), marketing theories and models are considerably important because it helps in improving the role as well as the practice of marketing. It helps in enhancing the concepts of analytical marketing in a strategic way. The author states that there are various ethical and unethical sides of marketing. It is found that organizations often develop campaigns that tend to portray wrong or unbiased information to the audience. This is can be marked as unethical side of marketing. Thus, it is very important for the members of an organization to know different models of marketing. This can not only help them protect brand image but it can also enhance increase in the rate of customer awareness towards the brand. In the following part of the report, STP an important marketing model has been discussed critically and theoretical concepts associated with this concept has also been discussed.
STP can be marked as a 3-step process that focus on summarizing and simplifying the concept of segmentation of target market. The first step is known as segmentation. According to the study conducted by Adeola, Ehira and Nworie, (2019), segmentation is the first stage of marketing practice and this is used by corporate leaders to segment customers on the basis of demography, psychography, geographic and behavioural characteristics of customers. Market segmentation also focuses on grouping customers on the basis of clusters that are homogenous in nature. Markets are segmented in such a way that each and every individual who belong to that segment have similar behavioural characteristics. Market segmentation also helps marketers understand the image of the potential clients and this are further leveraged by them to establish effective marketing communication. However, as opined by Pridmore and Hämäläinen, (2017), analysing the exact cost of serving customer segments, monitoring the behavioural changes of the targeted segments and understanding every detail aspect of choosing the correct segment are complex in nature. Due to these reasons, the process of segmentation has also been declared as “dead” by various marketers across the world.The author also states that though segmentation has long academic discussions but it can be found that in recent years the process of segmentation cannot achieve its original goals and objectives. In recent years, the concept of customization among customers have increased, thus corporate leaders are finding it difficult to create customer segments on the basis of their common behaviour. The second step of STP is targeting customers or prospects. As opined by Singh and Singh, (2016), marketing practitioners tend to predict the behaviour of customers and once their behaviour and attitudes towards the brand and its product then they are targeted. The author states that targeting customers are important for marketing practitioners because it helps them to form advertising campaigns on behalf of the brand. Furthermore, according to the study conducted byLessmann, et.al., (2021), customers are marked as “revenue leaders” of a firm and they are primarily targeted for profit.The author states that targeting revenue leaders or customers while launching new product in the market is important because it helps in acceleration of cash within the organization. Moreover, if marketing practitioners are capable of targeting customers then it can further help in taking decisions and can also help in campaign planning. Marketing practitioners across the world are more focused on the lifetime value of customers (CLV). If CLV is concentrated then it can have an impact on effective targeting of customers. On the contrary, according to the study conducted by Kaneko, KishitaandUmeda(2018), personalized targeting of customers has become one of the important aspects of discussion in the current scenario. The importance and relevance of personalization of products or services according to the needs of customers have entered into the market in this decade. This aspect of marketing has satisfied customers and have widely impacted manufacturing industry and companies operating in this industry.The objective of personalized targeting is understanding the behaviour, attitude and perception of each customers and targeting them for the organization. This often brings several benefits to the organization but this process of targeting can often be complex in nature. The author also states that targeting individual customers on the basis of their individualistic characteristics can be time-consuming and organizations might incur loss because in such case, cost of targeting will be high.
The third step is known as positioning. According to the study conducted by Neirotti, Raguseo and Paolucci, (2016), localization of an establishment or an organization that further helps in enhancing the quality of customer service is known as market positioning. Positioning has the ability to enhance the visibility of the brand and its product/service. It also has the power to establish relationship between brand visibility and appropriation of value. Furthermore, as opined by Camilleri, (2018), customers have the tendency to compare products or services with other companies operating in the similar industry. Therefore, product positioning strategies are generally adopted by customers in order to build positive perception among the mind of customers. Positioning strategies are also marked as beneficial because they have the ability to differentiate any product/service with its key competitors in the global market. On the contrary, according to the study conducted by Wason, and Charlton, (2015), positioning strategies might often become challenging to adopt when it comes to co-branding.The objective of co-branding is to combine the reputations and brand value of two brands. The goal behind this combination is to launch new product in the market and gain relevant competitive advantage. Thus, it can be seen that when two brands merge and come together it often becomes difficult to change pre-conceived notion or perceptions of customers. In such situations, unique positioning of the brand becomes very challenging and difficult for the organizational leaders.
In addition to this, competitive positioning is marked as one important type of positioning strategy. The objective of this type of positioning strategies is to differentiate products/services in the mind of customers to gain competitive advantage. According to the study conducted by Ibidunn, et.al., 2015, organizational performance has a relation with competitive positioning. Involvement of employees in the core marketing activities of the firm helps marketing practitioners to develop effective competitive positioning strategies.
Implementation in companies
From the above section of the report, the importance of STP in modern day marketing practices have been discussed in details. The objective of this section of the report aims at discussing implementation of STP in real organizations operating in various industries.
Walmart is an USA based organisation operating in the retail and e-commerce industry. The organization has been operating in various parts of the world and also in rural and urban areas. Over several years of operation, Walmart has gained popularity because it has followed the concepts of STP in significant way. Marketing communication has been leveraged by the marketing leaders of Walmart to target customers. The company has particularly targeted young consumers and has developed strategies to satisfy them in order to enhance loyalty among these young consumers. Social media marketing strategies have been used to target millennials in recent years. Moreover, Walmart has segmented customers on the basis of demography, geography and psychography. Households according to their income has been segmented by the firm (Dudovskiy, 2016). Moreover, Walmart has positioned itself as a convenient better that aims at serving customers efficiently with high-quality products and low-price.
In addition to this, Apple is another USA based organization operating in consumer electronics industry. The marketing practitioners of this organization have also leveraged the concepts of STP. The marketing leaders of Apple has segmented customers on the basis of behavioural and psychographic aspects. Moreover, customers have been segmented on the basis of their age, occupation and gender. Apple has targeted well-off customers who have the tendency to spend their money on advanced technology, designs and functions (WondershareEdrawmind, 2022). Furthermore, the company has positioned itself in such a way so that they can create emotional connection with their targeted customers by providing them high-end products.
BMW is a premium brand operating in the luxury automobile industry. Implementation of STP can be marked as one of the important parts behind the success story of BMW. Finest marketers also look at the STP strategies that have been adopted by BMW over several years of operation. It has segmented customers on the basis of their age and income. People who belong to the age group of 30-35 and are working professionals have been segmented. Young people who are working have been targeted by the marketing practitioners of the company (Saxena, 2019). It has been found that BMW has ranked 71 in terms of brand value in the year 2021. BMW is identified as a high-end brand that aims at involving customers emotionally and physically by satisfying their constant evolving needs. The brand has positioned itself by keeping in mind the various aspects like inclusivity, performance and reliability. Finally, ZARA is a renowned organization that operates in the fast fashion industry. It operated globally and has gained popularity because of its STP strategies. ZARA has segmented its customers on the basis of their demography and psychography. Women in their late teens are primarily targeted by ZARA. Moreover, the brand offers high-quality trendy clothes at an affordable price.
The objective of the following section of the report is to provide general management recommendations that can further help their firm to optimize its sales and productivity.
• It is highly recommended to the managerial leaders of the firm to know their customers in a significant way. In the current scenario, technology has become very prominent therefore, Artificial Intelligence can be used to known detailed insights about customers. This can further help marketing practitioners understand the change in needs of the customers.
• It is also recommended to the managerial leaders to focus on development of content. Content has become one of the integral parts of advertising in modern-day. Marketing practitioners should focus on development of engaging and effective content that further have an impact on the psyche of customers. This will not only increase the reach of product/services among a greater number of customers but it also has the ability to create an effective brand value.
• It is recommended to the marketing practitioners to establish marketing metrics. The objective of this metrics is to measure marketing performance of the firm. It can also be considered as the benchmark of a firm. Establishment of marketing metrics are highly recommended to the managerial leaders of the organization because it can help the firm target customers and position their brand in such a way so that they can gain competitive advantage.
• It is also recommended to the management team of organizations across the world to stay on the mission and vision of the brand. Consistency in communication should be there. Corporate leaders should focus on communicating reformed mission and vision to its stakeholders. This can help in keeping the brand presence.
• Finally, apart from marketing professionals it is also recommended to the HR professionals of firm operating in several industries to hire content marketers, SEO developers. In the current scenario, social media campaigning has gained popularity. Marketers can reach their targeted customers through various social media platforms. To reach targeted customers, engaging content has to be made. This can be done by efficient content marketers and SEO developers.
The main aim of this report was to focus on various marketing models and concepts and how it can help a firm gain competitive advantage and survive in the global market. Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning (STP) model has been used for the report. The report concludes customers are the primary source of revenue generation for organizations operating in various sectors. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the marketing practitioners to correctly segment and target customers. This can further help marketing leaders to make relevant marketing decisions and thrive in the global market. The report also aims at discussing STP strategies that have been adopted by renowned organizations in the global industry. These organizations include Apple, Walmart, BMW and ZARA. While analysing the implementation pattern of these firms it can be found that all these organizations have positioned themselves in a convenient way and these organizations have targeted customers on the basis of their product or service delivery.
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