Lesson 19º

The Population Segments

In a competitive environment, like the one we live in, it is difficult to be successful with a product which is directed at everyone. Companies usually use segmented marketing. Nowadays, companies don’t direct their campaigns at the whole population but at a specific group of people or at a specific area. This is what the English call “Target Group”. A popular saying says “you shouldn’t bite off more than you can chew”.

Therefore, when an advertising campaign is designed, it is designed to appeal to the target group. To clarify the specific areas we want to use we divide the population according to variables.

There are lots of different variables that we can use. For example, a small travel Agency in the USA, which can not compete in costs with the big agencies, is currently very profitable thanks to creative population segmentation. This Travel Agency organizes trips for Americans with a Scottish surname to visit their ancestor’s homeland. Therefore, this agency is segmenting the population according to their surname and they send publicity in the post to all of the Americans with Scottish surnames to give them the historic opportunity to go to a reunion with all of the Americans with a Scottish surname in a very noble castle in Scotland.

Normally, to segment groups, we don’t just use one variable but various. Therefore, you can carry out various population divisions with various variables. For example, if we divide sexes, and then have 5 different age ranges, we can carry out a first division of the population into two and then we can divide the population according to ages, then we only have 10 groups left.

To select the variables we are going to use, we look for the variables which have the greatest discriminatory power. Variables with the greatest discriminatory power are the variables which best separate the population groups according to their answer to the marketing actions. For example, if a determined drink is consumed by more women than men, the sex variable clearly divides the buyers and the non buyers of the product. The drink Ponche Cabellero has a masculine image and masculine consumers, whilst Baileys is mainly consumed by women.

In order to carry out population groups we can use some of the following common variables:

Demographs. One typical way to divide the population is with age, sex, marital status and the number of children they have.

Social and economic factors. Another way to segment is by using variables related to class and social groups, professions or family income. For example, we can focus our publicity at certain professions like doctors or economists.

Other types of variables are psychological. A large percentage of publicity uses psychological variables to discriminate population groups. In this sense, we can direct our publicity at extroverts, sociable or timid people.

Often variables are related to the consumption of the product. This way we differentiate the population according to whether they are consumers of a certain type of product, if they are consumers of a specific brand, the quantity they consume and their commitment to a certain brand.

Therefore, it is necessary not only to study the age and sex of the potential consumers but also analyze the customs, feelings, consumer behaviour and truly understand the consumers.

The following example is an advert that is targeting women.

The magazine talks abut certain brands of pet food. The target audience is “pet owners between 25 and 54 years old in socioeconomic groups A, B and C+. People who consider their dogs and cats as part of the family e.g. they regularly take their pets to the bet and follow the vet’s recommendations regarding food and upkeep.

Another example, is the following Quaker adverts.

After intensive research to test flavours, packaging designs likely to be linked to success, Quaker oat flakes launched new variants. The product is launched with additional flavours, which are proved to be the most desired.

“There is a new caramel-nut version – Nut and caramel and chocolate fudge – thicker layer of chocolate – the Chewy Dipps are directed at kids between 6 and 12 years old”.

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