Brand User Segmentation

The marketer is generally most interested in determining whether those who purchase the company’s brand are different either demographically or psycho-graphically from those buying competitors’ brands. If characteristics can be distinguished, then marketing programs can perhaps be developed to attract more buyers resemble the preferred buyer.

Avon conducted a research study to identify its buyers, and it found them likely to be somewhat older than average, high school but not college graduates, living outside metropolitan areas, having husbands with blue collar jobs and relatively low incomes, and having large families. Their lifestyles and attitudes tended to be conservative and they had old fashioned tastes. They were cost conscious and were centered around their homes and families, and didn’t like to buy beauty products in stores because of the lack of privacy and personal attention. The best feature was that spent 92 percent of their beauty aid dollars with Avon. Since there was not a strong need to build their acceptance level, the company sought to identify other groups with a high potential for purchasing Avon products. Close analysis of the data indicated a sizable group of women with potential for increased sales. They were like Avon’s loyal customers in their attitudes toward in-home buying and personal service and they spent much money on cosmetics. However, they differed in other ways. For example, they were more upscale, less conservative and family oriented, more interested in being up to the minute in fashion and less inclined to believe that Avon products could give tem whatever look they wanted. Avon’s resulting advertising campaigns designed to attar these high potential customers featured the themes ‘You Never Looked so Good’ and ‘We’re Going to Make You Feel beautiful’.

A related approach that may be profitable to pursue is to develop new products to appeal to non-using segments. Such a move may make it difficult for a company to maintain a consistent image, however. If such an image is critical, the marketer may need to work only with buyers similar to present users.

Product User Segmentation:

Although buyers of different brands may not be found to have different characteristics the marketer nevertheless will be interested in segmenting product users on the basis of any such distinguishing demographic or psychographic characteristics in order to reach them effectively. Within a product category such as soft drinks, for example, it may be found that those who consume low calorie drinks differ demographically and psycho-graphically from regular soft drink users, although perhaps Diet Pepsi and Diet Coke drinkers are virtually the same.

Of course, for many products nonusers may represent a significant marketing opportunity. Mercury Outboards, for example, is attempting to expand the boating universe by attracting nonusers – people who like boating but have never owned a boat. Also, public goods and nonprofit organization specialist are continually confronted with the reality of the need to convert nonusers to users. For example, consider the following marketing problems:

Convincing non-using men and women to avail themselves of cancer checkups

Attracting non-subscribers to symphonies, lectures and other cultural events

Each of these problems represents a marketing opportunity to convert nonusers. Obviously the past rate of success for such projects has not been great, but with increased application of marketing research to understanding the motivations of different segments, greater success should occur in the future.

Marketers are often interested in attracting not just brand users, but perhaps more importantly, those who consistently purchase the company’s brand. When these brand loyal buyers are identified (assuming they differ on certain characteristics from non-loyal buyers), appropriate marketing strategies may be developed to attract competitors’ buyers who have similar characteristics or to increase the loyalty rate among current less loyal buyers.

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