Positioning and Segmentation for Marketing the Future



By Lora Kratchounova, Scratch Marketing + Media

In a digital world where people are inundated with information, they are using all the tools and channels at their disposal from Google to social networks — to make purchasing decisions outside of hopeful brands’ established channels. As we explored in a previous post, Digital Brand Authority is the key for progressive brands wishing to establish themselves in today’s era of Marketing the Future, to be present at that Zero Moment of Truth for their customers.

This requires brands to play multiple roles — educator, enabler, and need-fulfiller — all at the same time. And companies cannot do that unless they understand how to position themselves and how to segment their customer base.

Why Positioning Matters

Positioning is the process by which companies create an image or identity — think domain association! — in the minds of target market segments for their product, brand or organization. For example:

  • What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of tissues?
  • What computer would you rather own, Mac or PC?
  • What’s the safest make of car?

Positioning is also driven by the reasons why you started your business — the insight or “aha!” moment behind it. This is especially true if you are working for a start-up or a new company. You need to know why was the company was created in the first place, what need it solves, and who its buyer segments are.

But if you’re positioning a company that’s already in the market, then your task is a bit different. If you’re working for an established brand, the questions you need to be able to answer include:

  • How relevant is the brand to its target buyers?
  • What’s happening to the choices buyers have?
  • Is the market experiencing disruption?
  • Where is the market headed?

Understanding “your people” also means designing a solution with your customers in mind. We’ll touch on this more in the next section, but you must be prepared to answer questions like:

  • Who are the beneficiaries of your product?
  • Who are the buyers of your product?
  • Why do they buy?
  • What’s important to them?

Finally, you have to position yourself in relation to your competition. Understanding your market’s dynamics and competitors helps you hone your insight by knowing what forms the competition takes, how big the market is, how big the problem is, and what existing solutions are available.

Customer Segmentation in Driving Growth

This is the mantra that all marketers must live by: One-size-fits-all doesn’t fit, never did, and never will. If anything, this is even more true in Marketing the Future. When done right, segmenting customers into distinct groups allows you to prioritize development of new products and services, adapt your business model to fit the customer value model, and identify and prioritize marketing channels, messages and offers to reach and engage each segment.

Marketing is becoming more personalized and converged. Traditional marketing methods and channels are no longer sufficient to catch and keep the attention of buyers.

Your customers aren’t a homogeneous group, so you need to address your market segments individually based upon distinct needs, characteristics and behaviors. Each segment may require separate products, services or marketing mixes. And once you’ve defined your segments, you must provide evidence that you are more than marketing hype. That evidence can be anything that supports your case:

  • Irrefutable facts
  • Statistics
  • Examples and case studies
  • Visual aids
  • Hypothetical evidence
  • Parallels or analogies
  • Testimonials and references

So if your product is an app that processes financial transactions at scale, your evidence might include the fact it’s intuitive (can be set up in 30 minutes and end users don’t need special training to use it), secure (it has never been hacked and a full-time IT staff keeps it up to date), and it’s scalable (it can handle as many as 20,000 transactions per second).

The next step after understanding your buyer segments and developing evidence is to build your go-to-market plan. This is where you bring together all of the information you gathered during the preceding steps and identify the best way to engage your audience.

Embrace the Zero Moment

With clients and consumers more fully empowered than at any point in history, it is critical that a company must become the source of customers’ Zero Moment of Truth. This is how authority is established in the new digital buyer’s journey, and understanding how to segment an audience and position a product allows marketers to give their clients agency along that journey. The most successful marketers of this era will be those who understand how to establish Digital Brand Authority. And if you want to learn more about how we at Scratch Marketing + Media help brands with their positioning and customer segmentation, contact us here



Scratch Digital Marketing Glossary

To our readers: At the end of each post in our Digital Authority and Multi-Channel Marketing series, we’re including this glossary of terms explored in previous entries both for your reference and to paint a fuller picture of the Scratch vision for how to succeed in this era of Marketing the Future. Please let us know whether there are any other terms you’d like to see us add.

Digital Brand Authority: Digital Brand Authority incorporates the principles of Marketing the Future to create clear and actionable roadmaps for brands across all industries and sectors to win the hearts and wallets of their customers. The concept was developed by Scratch Marketing + Media and was first covered here.

Three Stages of Marketing: Marketing can be divided into three distinct eras. Read about them here.

  • Marketing the Past: The pre-1980 era, when messaging relied heavily on advertising and was rooted in nostalgia. The promise of these brands was that if you liked what you saw, tasted, or experienced in the past, the product would consistently deliver the same for you in the future.
  • Marketing the Present: The 1980s and 1990s, when the byword for marketing was “more” — more stuff, more deals, more functions. This led to information overload that actually made decisions more difficult, not easier.
  • Marketing the Future: The modern era, since 2000. Consumer Centricity (The customer controls the buying journey), Continuous Delivery (Brands are Never Finished), and Ecosystem Support (Brands Never Stand Alone) are its primary characteristics; as a result, buyers will not make decisions in a vacuum.

Zero Moment of Truth: The ability for consumers to make decisions when and where they will. This often happens outside of a company’s owned channels via peer networks and independent review sites. The term was coined by Google but we explore it here.

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