Be Careful, And Sensitive....






Differentiation is an important concept in marketing.


So too are segmentation and categorisation. However, each can have a limited, and in some instances, a limiting role to play.


Like most things, the initial principles and applications are being progressively superseded and rendered obsolete. It is a common phenomenon in the current dynamic, digital marketplace.


Intimate knowledge of one's customers and clients is a marketing imperative.


Evolution, sophistication and information (data) explosion have been instrumental in the eclipsing of many previously sound management, marketing, selling, service and interpersonal relationship practices, including market segmentation.


The study of demographics is a case in point. Today, access to information on the age, sex, occupation, education standards and residence of existing, prospective and past clients and customers is, today, inadequate.


A more comprehensive, multi-dimensional profile improves the capacity for effective target marketing. It in turns enables, and influences, the determination, nature and content of communication. However, care and sensitivity is needed to avoid inadvertently precluding potential prime customers and clients.


It is prudent to be aware that many chronologically older individuals pursue and enjoy young lifestyles. The use of social media and e-commerce channels among consumers aged 50 years and older is more pronounced than thought by many. Similarly, an increasing number of younger consumers are discovering, exploring and enjoying music and fashion from the 60's, 70's and 80's decades. Look no further than the surging sales of vinyl records and vintage style stereograms. Old is new!


To ensure effectiveness in all marketing endeavours it is now important to avoid overly simplistic market segmentation, categorisation and stereotyping. Each can, and does, impact on sales generation, revenue stimulation, as well as the establishment and maintenance of sustainable, profitable relationships.


Overt and often unintended nuances in written, spoken and visual communication alienate potentially prime and profitable target audiences. Existing and prospective relationships are fractured because of what are received and perceived to be, slightss, offensive statements and inappropriate premises inherent in key messages. It is indeed a complex world in which we operate. Financial planners may well ponder what the label ”High-Net Worth” individuals really means. Does it mean the same to prospective clients who have funds to invest, but don't feel they qualify to be included in the category “High-Net Worth”? Many messages will be needlessly lost.


Marketing campaigns and strategic plans can readily miss out on customers based on shallow, often historic and traditional images, profiles and stereotypes.


Talk-back radio is a fine example. The typical audience demographic centres on the age distribution of 55 years- plus. However, the often unrecognised potential which exists with the 30-year-old and younger consumer group, represent immense, untapped potential.


A similar case is the emphasis by advertisers who are keen to connect with the “high-spending” 25 to 54-year-old age groupings on free-to-air television channels. The innate contentions are simply too black-and-white for communities that live, operate and buy in differing shades of grey.


Technology, innovation, digital enhancements, social media and the internet have individually and collectively, fragmented communication channels and consumer groupings. Micro-focusing on market segments can inadvertently fail to recognise value and miss out on a host of prospective new customers, clients and spheres of influence.


The value of all business philosophies and practices is largely determined and influenced by measures of relevance in marketing. It is as important to broaden the relevance of the messages and promises of benefits and advantages of products, services, entities and people as it is to be precise and to focus on the narrower target-marketing of all endeavours.


Therefore, when undertaking market segmentation, categorisation and stereotyping do so with care and sensitivity.