Companies today recognize that they cannot appeal to all buyers in the marketplace—or at least not to all buyers in the same way. Buyers are too numerous, widely scattered, and varied in their needs and buying practices. Moreover, companies themselves vary widely in their abilities to serve different market segments. Instead, like Dunkin’ Donuts, companies must identify the parts of the market they can serve best and most profitably. They must design customer-driven marketing strategies that build the right relationships with the right customers. Thus, most companies have moved away from mass marketing and toward target marketing: identifying market segments, selecting one or more of them, and developing products and marketing programs tailored to each. Instead of scattering their marketing efforts (the “shotgun” approach), firms are focusing on the buyers who have greater interest in the values they create best (the “rifle” approach). four major steps in designing a customer-driven marketing strategy. In the first two steps, the company selects the customers that it will serve. Market segmentation involves dividing a market into smaller segments of buyers with distinct needs, characteristics, or behaviors that might require separate marketing strategies or mixes. The company identifies different ways to segment the market and develops profiles of the resulting market segments. Market targeting (or targeting) consists of evaluating each market segment’s attractiveness and selecting one or more market segments to enter. In the final two steps, the company decides on a value proposition—how it will create value for target customers. Differentiation involves actually differentiating the firm’s market offering to create superior customer value. Positioning consists of arranging for a market offering to occupy a clear, distinctive, and desirable place relative to competing products in the minds of target consumers. We discuss each of these steps in turn....
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