Marketing Management Chapter 7: Market Segmentation, Positioning, and Branding

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Chapter 7: Summary

Markets can be defined in a number of ways, but for a marketer the key definition is in defining who the customer is. Even so, there are different categories: (1) customers, (2) users, and (3) prospects. This categorization leads to the concepts of penetration and brand (market) share.

Within markets, there may be segments, which a producer may target to optimize use of scarce resources. The viability of these segments depends on (1) size, (2) identity, (3) relevance, and (4) access. The identification of market segments requires a number of activities including (1) background investigation, (2) qualitative research, (3) quantitative research, (4) analysis, (5) implementation, and (6) segmentation/positioning. A major aid to positioning is usually offered by two-dimensional maps based on two most critical dimensions identified by statistical analysis.

Branding is the most powerful marketing device for differentiation, which may, in effect, create a near monopoly. Once established, a brand name has a strong brand equity. Branding policies may be based on (1) company name, (2) family branding, and (3) individual branding. These policies may be developed further by brand extensions and multibrands, but this approach may be limited by cannibalism. Co-branding by companies that market complementary products helps fill market segments not met by them individually. Private brands and generic brands are also becoming increasingly important in price-sensitive markets.

Marketing Management Chapter 6: Estimating the Market Demand

For a complete list of all chapters so far, you can visit the Marketing Management Tab on the blog!

Chapter 6: Summary

Forecasts predict what may happen, all other things being equal. Budgets go beyond these forecasts to incorporate the effects of an organization’s planned actions. Both may be

•     Short term—For capacity loading, information transmission, and control

•     Medium term—For the traditional annual planning process

•     Long term—For strategic planning, resource planning, and communication

Forecasts need to be dynamic. In other words, changes in the environment require modification of forecasts. From them, budgets may be derived at the sales, production, and profit levels.

Forecasting is based on, and derived from, some other data sources; and it is conducted at three different levels. Macroforecasts look at total markets and may be derived from national or global data available from the OECD or the U.S. government. However, the most important aggregate forecast for business is at the market or industry level. Microforecasts build on the predictions of individual or group (customer) behavior. Product forecasts may then be split into forecasts by product type and over time.

There are both qualitative and quantitative forecasting methods. Qualitative forecasting is normally employed for long-term forecasts. Techniques include expert opinion, expert panel method, technological forecasting, Delphi technique, decision tree, and scenario.

Quantitative forecasting techniques for short- and medium-term typically try to isolate the trend, cyclical, seasonal, and random fluctuations. The specific techniques used may be period actuals and percent changes, exponential smoothing, time-series analyses, multiple regression analysis, and more complex econometric modeling. Various leading indicators are also readily available from government sources to forecast the short- to medium-term conditions of the market. Although most forecasting techniques ignore the competitors’ possible reaction to one company’s competitive move, game theory is gaining popularity in recent years to address the likely impact of the competitors’ moves in forecasting.

With the widespread use of personal computers, spreadsheets have become a useful forecasting tool to model many hypothetical “what if” scenarios. By developing many scenarios, you can determine which factors are sensitive to changes in the conditions under investigation.

The primary role of forecasting is risk reduction. You should note that risk can also be reduced by purchasing insurance against unfavorable events, diversifying into a portfolio of different products and markets, or adopting flexible manufacturing to better cope with unexpected changes in the market. Finally, thanks to Internet use, many companies, emphasizing the needs of the customers with an ability to satisfy and serve them quickly and efficiently, have begun to adopt the “build to order” model of sales fulfillment with no forecasting error rather than the traditional “build to forecast” model.

Cross-Cultural Markets and Market Research

This abstract is from the 15th chapter of the Handbook of Cross-Cultural Marketing, which is coauthored by Camille Schuster. It covers the importance of international market research and the extent to which markets should be studied prior to international expansion.

Managers and researchers often fail to comprehend cultural disparities, that customers differ between and within countries, or investigate whether or not a market exists prior to market entry. Insufficient preparation makes cross-cultural business a high-risk activity (Ricks, 2000). However challenging, cross-cultural market understanding is instrumental to success since it permits the firm to benefit from different environments, attitudes, and market conditions. Many firms do little research before entering a foreign market or pay little attention to the diversity of consumers in their home market. Managers often assume that the current methods used in their domestic market are both best and appropriate for all other markets and consumers. Major reasons why managers are reluctant to engage in cross-cultural research are the time, effort, and money required to understand market demand, differences in culture, and consumer tastes (Craig and Douglas, 1999). Despite such reservations, research is as important when doing business internationally as it is in the domestic market. Firms need to learn what consumers want, why they want it, and how they satisfy their wants and needs. Knowing who to ask, what to ask, and selecting the appropriate methodology to the task at hand are critical steps. Developing an understanding of international markets, consumers, competitors, and governments paves the way to success.

The Hard Truths About Today’s Labor Market

Jerry Haar

Unemployed coal miners want their jobs back. So do manufacturing plant workers whose employment has been outsourced to lower-wage countries. Add to those young people, including scores of college graduates, whose job prospects are grim, forcing them into underemployment and requiring them to live at home rather than on their own.

This litany of complaints (and outrage) has fueled, in part, the resurgence of populism not only in the United States but in Europe, as well. And while these grievances are understandable, it is time for real truths–not alternative truths–about labor markets. These are:

Dying industries cannot be resuscitated. Typewriters, pay phones, folding maps, beepers, Kodak film, and cassette players are obsolete, their product life cycles have run their course and their replacements/substitutes superior in every way. Coalmining employed nearly 130,000 workers when Obama was elected president. By 2015 that figure had dropped to 98,000. Competition from cheap, shale gas; fracking; renewables; and technology was and will continue to be the reasons for the continual fall. Other declining industries include knitting and apparel, hardware manufacturing, communications, equipment, and glass manufacturing. Here, too, technology will boost productivity while decreasing labor input.

Most offshored jobs will not be re-shored. Although some will be coming back, the vast majority will not. Outsourcing, whether transferred in-company to an outside supplier, from a union state to a right- to-work state, or to a foreign country like China or Mexico is intended to reduce costs to allow a company to sell to consumers at a lower price. The negative impact on a firm’s employees will be the same. Reducing costs allow the company to offer consumers a lower price. When Delta moved 1,000 jobs to India it reduced costs by $25 million and used the money saved to fund 1,200 new reservations and sales positions in the U.S. The intent of market capitalism is to serve the consumer, not the producer’s employees.

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Treasury Turns Its Gaze to Municipal-Bond Market

Department to Form New Unit, With Focus on Troubled Borrowers

U.S. policy makers, concerned about strained public finances in places like Detroit and Puerto Rico, are moving to keep closer tabs on the ability of states and cities to raise money in the $3.7 trillion municipal-bond market.

The Treasury Department is forming a new unit to broadly monitor the market, with a focus on troubled borrowers, according to a Treasury official. The unit, which will be headed by a veteran public-finance banker at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., also will track state and local pensions as…

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