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Word of Mouth

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CHAPTER 11

Market segmentation
YORAM (JERRY) WIND and DAVID R. BELL

All markets are heterogeneous. This is evident from observation and from the proliferation of popular books describing the heterogeneity of local and global markets. Consider, for example, The Nine Nations of North America (Garreau, 1982), Latitudes and Attitudes: An Atlas of American Tastes, Trends, Politics and Passions (Weiss, 1994) and Mastering Global Markets: Strategies for Today’s Trade Globalist (Czinkota et al., 2003). When reflecting on the nature of markets, consumer behaviour and competitive activities, it is obvious that no product or service appeals to all consumers and even those who purchase the same product may do so for diverse reasons. The Coca Cola Company, for example, varies levels of sweetness, effervescence and package size according to local tastes and conditions. Effective marketing and business strategy therefore requires a segmentation of the market into homogeneous segments, an understanding of the needs and wants of these segments, the design of products and services that meet those needs and development of marketing strategies, to effectively reach the target segments. Thus focusing on segments is at the core of organizations’ efforts to become customer driven; it is also the key to effective resource allocation and deployment. The level of segment aggregation is an increasingly important issue. In today’s global economy, the ability to customize products and services often calls for the most micro of segments: the segment of one. Following and implementing a market segmentation strategy allows the firm to increase its profitability, as suggested by the classic price discrimination model which provides the theoretical rationale for segmentation. Since the early 1960s, segmentation has been viewed as a key...

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