Who do you want to reach?

One of the key laws of marketing is that not everybody will buy your products or services; some will and they probably will have shared traits and characteristics. For example

  • Basic demographic information such as age, sex, and language
  • Geographic location
  • Lifestyle information like education and income levels

Identifying those attributes that buyers have in common is called market segmentation. Choosing which segment to focus on is called a targeted marketing strategy, which will position your company versus the competition. The goal is to find a hole in the market that is currently not being served and develop a product or service offering that will fill that hole. Your promotional strategy will let the target know that you're they're with the answer to their problem.

Let's examine a Canadian study that was issued in March 2004 by Pollara Inc. the largest Canadian public opinion and marketing research firm for The Funeral Profession Council Coalition of Canada. The report is entitled “ A Pollara Report on Canadian Attitudes toward and impressions of the Funeral Services Industry. Pollara divided their study into three (3) distinct market segments

  • Direct experience
  • Indirect experience
  • No experience

All respondents were over the age of 35 with 45% of them having direct experience, 54% having indirect experience and 1% with no experience. In the direct experience category, 36% of respondents were 35 – 54 and 64% were 55+, whereas in the indirect category, 59% were 35 – 54 and 41% were 55+/ What is interesting is the fact that the direct experience is comprised of more females (55%) while males are more prevalent in the indirect experience category (54%). For many years the funeral profession has touted the merits of marketing to women 55+ and the statistics indicate that this theory holds water.

Another demographic consideration is employment status; in the direct experience category 30% are employed full time and 42% are retired, whereas, in the indirect category, 46% are employed full time and 24% are retired. Also, religion plays an important role with the majority of respondents reporting an affiliation to the Catholic faith, Canadians with direct experience with the funeral industry are more likely to be Protestant than those with indirect experience. And 22% report a religious affiliation other than Christianity.

So what is the significance of all this data?

First, this information revolves around the funeral profession and should be combined with other demographic profiles, which are available in each community such as population, age, gender, education, occupation and religious affiliation. How does the local statistical data compare to the industry specific information? What does the competitive landscape indicate? Does your company fill a void in the marketplace? The following are tactical steps in the segmentation process

  • Define the market as a whole
  • Decide which segment to zero in on
  • Collect and analyze information about that segment
  • Create a profile of your target customer
  • Develop a marketing plan to address this target market

Once these steps have been completed, then it's time for the action steps

  • Review your defined target market... describe the target customers, the market environment, the competitive situation, and your position relative to the competition
  • Redesign your offering... analyze your products and services from your target customers point of view and change anything that does not reflect what the customer wants
  • Set prices... and remember that the lowest price is not usually the answer; as a matter of fact, perceptually, low price can equate to lesser value
  • Create the promotion... your promotional mix which includes advertising, publicity, sales promotions, and personal selling
  • Establish distribution... how do your products and services from the source to the ultimate use by the customer

The key to establishing whom you want to reach should be based on an important marketing principal... you can't be all things to all people.