Thursday, June 20, 2013

Situational Segmentation vs. Customer / Market Segmentation

My mom is about to buy an iPhone.

My friend Ramon has an iPhone.

My mom, in her 70's, is generally afraid of and avoids technology.

My friend Ramon, in his 20's, is a genius engineer and generally keeps to himself. 

Except for owning an iPhone, Ramon and my mom have nothing in common. If someone wanted to segment them by market or customer, these segments couldn't be more separate. Yet, if you thought of them in situational segments, you'd find these segments to be tangent - maybe even the same. By focusing on situations and not 'markets' or 'customers', you can more effectively execute marketing, build products and use that to launch powerful promotion.

Situational Segments

Apple carried out marketing for the iPhone brilliantly. When marketing was done, they were then able to begin it's promotion, which was also brilliantly well done. 

Take a look at the first iPhone ad. Notice how straightforward, yet powerful, it is. It's a video of someone holding an iPhone who then successfully navigates situations.  There's no mention of features, there not distinguishable style or attitude... just a clear message: the iPhone will get the job done.

The promotion of the iPhone, along with the marketing that came before it, focus on situational segments and not customer or market segments. A situational segment is a collection of tangent jobs that someone wants to get done. In the ad someone easily watches a movie, gets the impulse for food, easily finds food near them, and then easily calls the restaurant. These jobs touch each other and help form a situational segment.

To test if the ad targets for a market or customer segment, watch the iPhone ad and think 'is the style or tone of the ad appealing to a small audience or large audience? Who could be holding that phone? Could it be me, my neighbor, my mom?'

Customer / Market Segments 

Compare the iPhone ad with a Droid ad released around the same time. Notice how the ad doesn't address any situations. It's about features, attributes, attitude, style and tone. All are geared for one particular type of customer - one type of market. The creators of this ad are thinking in terms of customer or market segments.

Why, exactly, would someone by a Droid?  What does it do for the customer?

It's hard to say and that's why most people remember the iPhone and not the Droid.