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Market segmentation is a marketing strategy that involves dividing a broad target market into subsets of consumers who have common needs and priorities, and then designing and implementing strategies to target them. Market segmentation strategies may be used to identify the target customers, and provide supporting data for positioning to achieve a marketing plan objective. Businesses may develop product differentiation strategies, or an undifferentiated approach, involving specific products or product lines depending on the specific demand and attributes of the target segment.
An ideal market segment meets all of the following criteria:
Marketers can segment according to geographic criteria—nations, states, regions, countries, languages, cities, neighborhoods, or postal codes. The geo-cluster approach combines demographic data with geographic data to create a more accurate or specific profile. With respect to region, in rainy regions merchants can sell things like raincoats, umbrellas and gumboots. In hot regions, one can sell summer clothing. A small business commodity store may target only customers from the local neighborhood, while a larger department store can target its marketing towards several neighborhoods in a larger city or area, while ignoring customers in other continents. Geographic Segmentation is important and may be considered the first step to international marketing, followed by demographic and psychographic segmentation. The use of national boarders is the institutional use of geographic segmentation, although geographic segments may be classified by identified geological regions.
Demographic segmentation is dividing markets into different groups according to their age, gender, the amount of income, the ethnicity or religion of the market and the family life cycle.
Behavioral segmentation divides consumers into groups according to their knowledge of, attitude towards, usage rate or response to a productThere is an extra connectivity with all other market related sources.
Psychographic segmentation, which is sometimes called Lifestyle. This is measured by studying the activities, interests, and opinions (AIOs) of customers. It considers how people spend their leisure, and which external influences they are most responsive to and influenced by. Psychographic is highly important to segmentation, because it identifies the personal activities and targeted lifestyle the target subject endures, or the image they are attempting to project. Mass Media has a predominant influence and effect on Psychographic segmentation. Lifestyle products may pertain to high involvement products and purchase decisions, to speciality or luxury products and purchase decisions. Lifestyle segmentation reflects on how the target subject identifies themselves, or how they desire to identify themselves in society. By identifying and understanding consumer lifestyle, businesses can develop promotional mixes and product lines, which tailor to their needs.
Segmentation according to occasions relies on the special needs and desires of consumers on various occasions - for example, for products for use in relation with a certain holiday. Products such as decorations or lamps are marketed almost exclusively in the time leading up to the related event, and will not generally be available all year round. Another type of occasional market segments are people preparing for a wedding or a funeral, occasions which only occur a few times in a person's lifetime, but which happen so often in a large population that ongoing general demand makes for a worthwhile market segment.
Segmentation can take place according to benefits sought by the consumer.
Segmentation according to demography is based on variables such as age, gender, occupation and education level  or according to perceived benefits which a product/service may provide.
In Sales Territory Management, using more than one criterion to characterize the organization’s accounts, such as segmenting sales accounts by government, business, customer, etc. and account size/duration, in effort to increase time efficiency and sales volume.
The basic approach to retention-based segmentation is that a company tags each of its active customers with three values:
One of the most common indicators of high-risk customers is a drop off in usage of the company's service. For example, in the credit card industry this could be signaled through a customer's decline in spending on his or her card.
For customers who are deemed worthy of saving, it is essential for the company to know which save tactics are most likely to be successful. Tactics commonly used range from providing special customer discounts to sending customers communications that reinforce the value proposition of the given service.
Where a monopoly exists, the price of a product is likely to be higher than in a competitive market and the price can be increased further if the market can be segmented with different prices charged to different segments charging higher prices to those segments willing and able to pay more and charging less to those whose demand is price elastic. The price discriminator might need to create rate fences that will prevent members of a higher price segment from purchasing at the prices available to members of a lower price segment. This behavior is rational on the part of the monopolist, but is often seen by competition authorities as an abuse of a monopoly position, whether or not the monopoly itself is sanctioned. Areas in which this price discrimination is seen range from transportation to pharmaceuticals. Price discrimination may be considered price-fixing under the control of an oligopoly or consortium in certain circumstances of deregulation and leisure.
Any existing discrete variable is a segmentation - this is called "a priori" segmentation, as opposed to "post-hoc" segmentation resulting from a research project commissioned to collect data on many customer attributes. Customers can be segmented by gender ('Male' or 'Female') or attitudes ('progressive' or 'conservative'), but also by discretized numeric variables, such as by age ("<30" or ">=30") or income ("The 99% (AGI<US $300,000)" vs "The 1% (AGI >= US $300,000)").
Common statistical techniques for segmentation analysis include:
In politics and sociology, divide and rule (or divide and conquer) is gaining and maintaining power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into pieces that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy. The concept refers to a strategy that breaks up existing power structures and prevents smaller power groups from linking up.