Segmentation, Targeting and positioning
Segmentation, Targeting and positioning
It is very natural for a market to have segments because of the variety of mindsets that is prevalent among different sets of customers. This means that the market is usually very heterogeneous and players in the marketing sector must be able to disintegrate the market into numerous segments. The process of dividing a market into segments is called market segmentation (Net MBA, 2005). Market segmentation is important because different sets of customers react to variables like advertising, pricing and PR. When segmenting a market, it is important to ensure that the differences between customers in every segment are minimal. However, each segment should be assessed in an individual fashion. This is because every buyer or customer has his or her own specific needs and preferences. Because it is almost impossible to cater for the needs of every consumer, they are grouped into various segments using the common variables among them. This will allow for a standardized mix of marketing for consumers within the group. Segmentation of markets is an adaptive strategy that also involves the choosing of the sections that a firm might be suited well to provide goods and services ensuring that it has the competitive advantage over the competition. This can assist in the development of a scope that is competitive that can have a strong impact on the competitive advantage in the way it moulds the value chain configuration process.
For players in the tourism and hospitality industry, they can use a variety of market segmentation processes. Geographic segmentation would be the most viable option where the market is classified according to regions, countries, cities or any other geographical such as divisions. This is very efficient because it is easy for the marketers to address the special needs of different clienteles that are varied according to their origin (Net MBA, 2005). For example, a hotel that has used the geographical segmentation will be able to research into the various strategies it can use to win and retain customers from the East Asian region by leaning about their needs and their preferences; it will do the same to European Americans. Even in the local set up, consumers from eastern Europe have needs and preferences that are different from western Europe and their spending abilities is also different , so for a marketer to be able to gain maximum from different set of consumers from different regions, geographical segmentation is important. A hotel can set various units to deal with different clienteles. A tour company can have a variety of transport models to suit the preferences of customers from different regions. For example, tourists from the UK like using the Landrovers, those from USA like using trucks while the ones from Asia like using the land cruisers. Another segmentation method that the players in the tourism and the hospitality industry can use is the behavioral segmentation where the customers are divided according to their attitudes and response to a brand. This knowledge can help the marketing sections of this industry to respond to the attitudes of different sets of consumers to ensure that there is no need of a consumer that is left out (Net MBA, 2005). For example, a hotel can maximize the range of entertainment varieties it provides because different clients have different tastes. There are those who value sports, others music and others swimming. Segmenting a market based on the behavioral preferences is very important because it aids marketers on developing mechanisms of reaching out to the various attitudes and responses of the clients.
Targeting involve the selection of a target market. This is where a marketing mix for the sections created through segmentation is tailored (Net MBA, 2005). Target marketing also ensures that a certain brand is modified into various forms to serve various segments as opposed to mass marketing that gives the brand as a whole to the entire market. A small player in the tourism and hospitality industry can use the strategy called the single segment strategy to serve a certain section of the market with one mix of marketing. This strategy is said to be a concentrated one and saves small players that have limited resources many hassles. For example, a certain tour company in the tourism sector can decide to identify employees of given companies to market their services. The most important method in the tourism and hospitality industry is the use of the differentiation of products target strategy. This is the most effective method because it ensures that a certain brand is modified to cater for different clienteles. For example, a hotel can have various wings to cater for different segments of consumers with different spending abilities. This method is cost effective because it is the same brand being modified to serve a variety of clients (Net MBA, 2005). A hotel may sell a drink at $2 at one wing and $2.85 at another wing that targets a higher class of clientele. A tour company may have ordinary vans for the middle class and modified vans for the elite class. This would give it a competitive advantage over a tour company that only serves the elite clientele. During the target market, selection processes it very important for a marketer to focus on retention of the existing customers as they strive to gain new ones. The loyal customers provide stability that a player in the tourism and the hospitality industry cannot afford to lose.
Positioning is a method where a marketer attempts to create an image that the people can identify a particular product or service with (Net MBA, 2005). It is the position a certain product or service occupies in a certain market. Positioning is an impact created in the minds of a certain market that affects the way the potential consumers view that market. A player in the tourism and the hospitality industry can position a brand using powerful and catchy advertising. A hotel can run an advertising campaign especially at the peak of the season in order to raise the awareness of the consumers. Even Tour companies usually keep advertising their services in a catchy manner in order to remain relevant in the minds of the consumers. The Hilton hotels have been able to position themselves over the years through their sponsorship of various social events that help them to improve their identity in the eyes of their consumers. In Africa, players in the tourism sector have been involved in sponsoring of sports like marathons, which usually take place within the precincts of their premises, which ensures that their brands are visible by spectators and they use this opportunity to advertise. Involvement in corporate social responsibility is another viable way in which players in the tourism and hospitality industry can position their brands (Kotler, 2003). Hotels in South Africa are busy positioning themselves for the World Cup in the year 2010 by getting involved in corporate social responsibility especially in countries that they know will participate in the world cup with a view of being noticed. Use of catchy slogans and celebrity endorsement is another sure way of positioning a brand especially in the hospitality and tourism industry. Having celebrities spend time at a particular tourist attraction site, a hotel or use a certain tour facility even if it is for free will give that brand a mileage in the eyes of the general public who would like to find out what drew the celebrity to the service or facility. Another key way of brand positioning is through giving discounts to the consumers. Giving coupons or discounts to consumers especially the loyal helps in retaining them as well as pulling others through them (Bruce, 2009). A brand in the hospitality industry can also be positioned through alliances with other industries that are complementary. For example, a certain hotel can align itself with a certain tour company or even an airline that can help in the marketing of the brand. A tour agency can also align itself with a certain tourist attraction site to help it position its brand within the site and gain a competitive advantage. This alignment gives a player a wide variety of avenues to market and position a brand.
Bruce, M. (2009). Service Management. Cape Town. OUP
Kotler, P. (2003). Marketing management. NJ: Prentice Hall.
Net MBA Knowledge Center, (2005). Target Market Selection.