This is part 2 of a 3 part series on Determining your customer perspective – Can you satisfy these customer segments?
As I mentioned previously, all customers behave and act differently. The personal contact that they receive from your organization should certainly attempt and make them feel that way. However, at some point and time you do have to segment and organize them.. You can read more about that in my Ebook on the Pillars of the Lean Marketing House. In developing your marketing or sales channels, you must also determine if you can satisfy the segments that your organization wants to compete in.
Think about what is important for customer satisfaction. Is it, on time delivery, production cycle time, conformance, warranty clams, etc. Many segments require more hand holding before, during and after the sale. Others may require a little more customization. These metrics are extremely important when you are considering marketing to them. You want to align their expectations accordingly to what you can deliver. Be careful, many times to get the order in these segments you may promise more than you can deliver, never a good scenario for either party.
How much does it cost to market to this particular segment? Will you have to advertise through certain media, attend certain trade shows, additional fewer sales or technical support expenditures? And of course, how price sensitive is this segment? You may find certain segments prefer to buy online, through distribution or even direct. These sales cannot and should not contradict each other but be part of an overall marketing strategy. Without, price confusion, dealer erosion and mixed messages will send alarms to a customer that will certainly if not make it impossible, much more difficult in the sales process. You may be better off excluding a certain market segment.
Channel Management is one of the areas that I find as one of the most mismanaged areas in the marketing process. The particular way you go to market can vary the volume and timing of purchases. It even can effect after sales service and maybe an ingredient that is sometimes forgotten, customer loyalty. Many times you will find that the loyalty is stronger with your distribution source than your product. On another hand, an online purchase will seldom develop deep customer loyalties. There is nothing right or wrong about any situation just be sure you recognize the situation for what it is.
Can each of these segments have a different price for the same product or service? Unless you package the product differently it is very difficult to do that. Also, you have to make sure your distribution structure is compensated adequately. Failure to do so will cause that source to be always on the outlook for another alternative. They may build a need for your product within their clientele and then supply a competitor’s product through no fault of their own. Pricing issues must be dealt with before you enter each different segment of the marketplace. Many times by adding services or financing in these segments, you can provide revenue to offset the additional expenses. Don’t forget to ask you distribution source for ideas. They may have current financial packages that they would gladly utilize already in place.
Not every segment can be profitable to you. Not every segment is worth the risk. You must remember what allows you to make margin and not try to be someone that you are not. You may want to look at it this way, Who want’s you?