My MBA Journey

Record of my personal journey completing an MBA

Marketing Week 3 – Designing a Customer Driven Strategy

Image of customers

Once again the level of reading, videos and deep diving has been intense. In addition, I am well into the generation of Assignment One for the subject. More on this later. This week’s study however focused on designing strategies to drive customers in terms of your market and your product or service whatever that happened to be. The strategy component of the marketing process includes:-

  • Market Segmentation
  • Targeting
  • Differentiation and positioning
  • Creating a marketing persona

Market Segmentation

Segmenting the market involves breaking down the total market into appropriate customer segments. Without adopting an approach to divide your market into segments, you would end up trying to sell your product or service to everyone. Of course, not everyone will be interested in your product or service so you will waste a lot of time. Not determining your market segments would be the equivalent of adopting a scattergun approach where you fire the gun and just hope it hits something. Obviously, this would be highly ineffective.

Targeting

Having segmented your markets, targeting involves examining each segment and focusing on the ones that show maximum potential for meeting your organisation’s objectives and also matching the resources you have available [[Simkin, L. & Dibb, S. 1998, “Prioritising target markets”, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, vol. 16, no. 7, pp. 407-417]]. Here you would consider such issues at lifetime customer value, profit, serviceability, niche marketing and micro-marketing. Targeting of segments in this day and age can often use the information supplied by big data although this isn’t always affordable by all organisations. There is still a lot of free data available however if you know where to look. Good marketers always cultivate solid sources of information.

Differentiation and Positioning

Perceptual Positioning Map for marketing

This is another aspect of Segmenting, Targeting, Differentiation and Positioning known as ST(D)P for short. Differentiation is about establishing differences between your product or service and those of your competitors. What’s different about your product or service? Why does it represent better value? The concepts of differentiation and positioning can both be determined by consumers of the product. However, that is not necessarily desirable as consumers may position the product differently from how the organisation wants its product or service perceived. As a result, marketers may complete a perceptual positioning map to focus on product differences and competitive advantages. Once the perceptions of consumers are identified, marketers can adopt strategies to attempt to alter various perceptions to improve the regard for their product or service. There was an excellent video in the notes about Apple’s positioning in the market that you can watch on Youtube.

Customer Personas

The development of a customer persona can be quite revealing to the marketer. In establishing a description of your ideal customer in different market segments, you look at the various needs, wants and limitations of your potential customer. Customer personas can be developed from data, be it digital or observed. You can also develop customer personas based on your assumptions. Whichever way is used, the persona still needs to be monitored and amended to reflect any noticeable variances from actual customer behaviour. Personally, I found developing a customer persona for my assignment to be very insightful. It forced me to seriously consider the benefits of the product I wrote about from the customer’s perspective.

Assignment 1

As mentioned earlier, I am well into the first assignment and the draft is virtually complete. The assignment requires a report of 2,000 words and my first draft stood at 1,700 in total. Interestingly enough, if you included the Appendices it was over 3,000 words in total. There has been a lot of work put into the Appendices to support the contentions in the assignment. As a result of a complete lack of secondary data, I had to develop a Stakeholder Map to identify the actual market. The subsequent SWOT Analysis is also in the Appendices along with the Customer Persona and Market Segmentation Table. I will be working on completing the draft tomorrow and adding the final touches before submission. Last term, we were able to submit to a service called SmartThinking for a review of the assignment presentation. Quite frankly, I found it of little help and don’t think I’ll bother this term

Conclusion

As I said in my opening remarks, it has been another big week of reading and review of videos. Combine that with getting into the meat of the assignment and there has been much to do. I think they said the first three weeks were the most intense so things might ease off a little now. In the meantime, I am continuing to develop my Zettelkasten [[morganeua 2022, The FUN and EFFICIENT note-taking system I use in my PhD, www.youtube.com, viewed 20 March 2022, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9SLlxaEEXY>]] notetaking system in Obsidian. I have already found this invaluable when doing the assignment. I searched for one piece of information and it surfaced immediately.

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Ric Raftis

Find out more about me on my About Me page.

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