S&M or Rescue the Princess? – How to tell the difference.

July 30, 2009

A few nights ago my neighbor and her daughter were at my place.  Aimee and I were sharing a glass of wine and catching up while our kids played just outside the front door.  They quickly burst in – her daughter’s hands clasped together, wrists wrapped in rope.

Without missing a beat—and utilizing the exact same language and tone— Aimee and I immediately hit them with a barrage of questions.

“Why are your hands tied-up?”  “What are you doing?”  “Whose idea was this?”

It was clear that we were unusually curious to understand the specifics of this particular game.  In return, without missing a beat, the kids looked at us as if we’d just stepped off Planet Crazy and responded:

“I’m a princess.”  …..   “And I’m rescuing her.”

My friend and I locked eyes, acknowledged the breakdown in processing the visual cues and had some funny verbal exchange about the Marquis de Sade.

It hit me—so to speak—that the four of us encapsulated in that moment the reason that market segmentation is a critical success factor. We’re talking about verbal and visual cues. This is why humor works when presenting a situation out of the normal context.

Whether it is business-to-business or business-to-consumer communication, creating and using customer profiles enhances your chances to provide the ‘right’ verbal and visual cues to illicit the desired response.

There can be dozens of factors to consider when segmenting your market – ranging from social esteem, to language, to specific needs such as a reduction in expense.  It can be mind-numbing and paralyzing.  And, depending on the size of your market, overkill.  That said, at minimum the following should be addressed:

  • Demographics (age, family size, life cycle, occupation)
  • Geography (states, regions, countries)
  • Behaviors (product knowledge, usage, attitudes, responses)
  • Psychographics (lifestyle, values, personality)

No need to beat a dead horse, but take the time to analyze the needs and wants of different market segments before creating messaging and marketing tools. By doing so you will make marketing easier, discover niche markets, and become more efficient with your marketing resources.

How to market to Aimee and me?  Well, isn’t that obvious?

Tie yourself up for a few minutes with the latest MarketingSmack—We’ll show you the ropes. www.marketingsmack.wordpress.com or visit us at www.summitstrategypartners.com.

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