Behavioral variables

Many marketers believe that behavioral variables — occasions, benefits, user status, usage rate, loyalty status, buyer-readiness stage, and attitude are the best starting points for constructing market segments.

Occasion can be defined in terms of the time of day, week, month, year, or in terms of other well defined temporal aspects of a consumer’s life. Buyers can be distinguished according to the occasions when they develop a need, purchase a product, or use a product.

For example, air travel is triggered by occasions related to business, vacation, or family. Occasion segmentation can help firms expand product usage. For example, the Florida Citrus Growers ran an ad campaign — ‘Orange juice. It’s Not Just For Breakfast anymore — to expand its usage to other day parts. During the 1960s and 1970s, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., was essentially a single purpose, single usage product; consumption of cranberries was almost entirely confined to the serving of cranberry sauce as a side dish with thanksgiving and Christmas holiday dinners. After a pesticide scare one Thanksgiving drastically cut sales and almost put growers out of business, the cooperative embarked on a program to diversify and create a year round market by producing cranberry based juice drinks and other products.

Marketers also can try to extend activities associated with certain holidays to other times of the year. For instance, while Christmas, Mother’s day, and Valentine’s Day are the three major gift giving holidays, these and other holidays account for just over half of the gift budgets. That leaves the rest available the rest available throughout the year for occasion driven gift giving birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, housewarming and new babies.


Buyers can be classified according to the benefits they seek. Even car drivers who want to stop for gas may seek different benefits. Through its research Mobil identified five different benefit segment and their sizes:

1. Road warriors — premium products and quality service. (16%)
2. Generation F — fast fuel, fast service, and fast food. (27%)
3. True Blues — branded products and reliable service. (16%).
4. Home bodies — convenience. (21%).
5. Price shoppers — low price (20%).

Surprisingly, although gasoline is largely a commodity, price shoppers constituted only 20% of the buyers. Mobil decided to focus on the less price sensitive segments, and rolled out Friendly Serve: cleaner property, bathrooms, better lighting, well stocked stores, and friendlier personnel. Although Mobil charged 2 cents per gallon more than its competitors, sales increased by 20 to 25%.

Comments are closed.