Brand Marketing Basics – Part 4

Market Segmentation as Part of Brand Marketing

Brand marketing is most successful when the right audience gets the right brand messages and experiences. In Part 4 of the Brand Marketing Basics series, you’ll learn how to make sure that happens. If you missed Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3 of the series, follow the links to catch up. It’s important that you understand what brand marketing is, the elements of brand marketing, and how to use market research to improve brand marketing before you read Part 4 of the series.

brand marketing basicsBrand marketing cannot succeed if your simply blasting messages to broad audiences. The larger the audience, the less likely your messages will be noticed. It might seem like the best approach is to try to reach as many people as you can through your brand marketing, but experience shows us that you’ll increase the return on your brand marketing investments if you use a narrower focus.

In my book, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, I introduced a concept called the Four Rights of Advertising. Those Four Rights actually apply to all marketing efforts, including brand marketing. They are:

  • Right message to the
  • Right audience at the
  • Right time in the
  • Right place

market segmentation puzzleThat means successful brand marketing focuses on segmenting the audience and targeting the messages and brand experiences to match the wants, needs, and preferences of those audiences. Mark Ritson of Branding Strategy Insider explains why you should only target a select group of the segments within your market:

  • First, because you can concentrate your resources on one group rather than spreading them too thinly.
  • Second, because you cannot build a brand for everyone. Selecting a clearly defined target segment enables you to create a much stronger brand proposition, clearer communications, better pricing and thus a greater degree of differentiation and eventual customer loyalty.
  • Third, because acquiring customers costs you money, and this acquisition cost is often hidden. To get one customer to buy from your business will often involve dealing with hundreds of potential customers. If you increase the number of prospects too much, your service suffers, your staff become overwhelmed, and the actual number of customers you attract declines.
  • Fourth, if you attract the wrong kind of customer to your brand, they are more than likely to defect quickly. Sales are one thing, profitability is another – often these inappropriate customers will have cost you more to acquire than they returned to you in custom.
  • Fifth, in many cases these departing customers spread negative word of mouth about your product.

These are not new concepts. They’re concepts that undergraduate marketing students learn in Marketing 101, but they’re also concepts that marketers seem to forget in practice. More likely, however, is that leadership demands the marketing department cast a wider net despite the marketing department’s arguments against such a broad approach.

In my series, Using Market Segmentation for Better Brand Messaging, I defined market segmentation as “the process of dividing the total market of consumers into smaller groups of people with similar characteristics. Ultimately, the people within each segment should be as homogeneous as possible, but they also must be distinct from other segments. The goal is to create market segments that purchase similar products for similar reasons, respond to brand messages similarly, have similar abilities to purchase products, and so on.”

Notice how the definition of market segmentation ties directly back to the Four Rights of Advertising explained earlier in this article? Keep in mind, there are several ways to segment your audience: demographics, psychographics, behaviors, and more. Market research can help you identify your target audience segments as well as the best brand messages and experiences to target through your brand marketing initiatives.

Think of it this way. Just as it’s hard to build relationships with everyone in a large audience when you’re standing in front of them and it’s hard to become emotionally connected with each person in that audience, it’s hard to build a brand through brand marketing targeted at a brand audience. Few relationships and emotional connections will develop, and as you learned earlier in this series, both are essential to brand building success.

If you missed earlier parts of this series, follow the links below to read them now:

Images: Gabriella FabbriNick Benjaminsz

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius, MBA is a 25-year marketing and branding expert and President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She is the author of 10 books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. She is also the Founder and Editor in Chief of WomenOnBusiness.com, an award-winning blog for business women.