Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Segmentation & the poor customer

I hate buzz-words.

They have a tendency to over-simplify complex issues and promise overly simplistic one-stop solutions to complex problems.

The underlying ideas are often solid, and true practitioners focus on those and apply them with a dose of judgment. But once you attach a buzz-word to an otherwise good idea it suddenly takes on a life of its own. Managers desperate to put out something new and different start to latch on to the buzz-word and throw it about with abandon. Pretty soon the original idea becomes secondary and it becomes more important to just be able to say that technique XYZ has been applied - whether or not it is relevant to the situation.

Segmentation is one such word that gets bandied about like crazy. Everyone wants to segment the market - nobody knows exactly how. And so the segmentation strategies of companies start to degenerate into a mish-mash of confusing and often conflicting threads.

And the real trouble with this type of segmentation is that the poor customer never finds out that he has been segmented. He therefore continues to behave as he always did - oblivious to the fact that he is now part of this or that segment and is therefore expected to behave in a certain way and respond to certain types of advertising.

Too much segmentation can be as bad as none.

1 comment:

  1. well put. buzz words are a creation for one to come across as the 'coining' expert as i feel, are acronyms that are flaunted in meetings expected to be understood by the collective.

    here's my acro-sentence for the day:

    The BPH demands that EPA gets to contribute.

    and the explanation:
    BPH = big picture here
    EPA = every person available