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Each person has his/her own needs or preferences for a product, services, basket of goods. For this reason companies cannot satisfy to everybody but they look for the way to satisfy to a broad group of people. This is the cause of the existence of market segmentation. Segmentation is a marketing management technique which can help firms to find ways of establishing a competitive advantage.
Marketers design a marketing mix program, and also its policy, aims to specific needs of a segment that company has chosen to launch its product. Apparently, it can be easy but it is not. Companies have serious problems when they want to itself in international market, due to wide divergence in cross-border consumer needs and preferences. Consequently, one of the main objectives of many companies is the segmentation of their targets, in other words, who are the addressees of their product.
It is necessary to consider that market segmentation is the logical outgrowth of the marketing concept . This means that market segmentation break the borders of the market into various groups of consumers from different countries.
This would be effective if segments are identifiable, sizable, accessible, stability, responsive, and actionable. Therefore, companies would get a good job if they define the segment, which they want to focus, with these features.
The question is whether companies should invade all the segments at once or whether they should pick them off one at a time? In this case, Benetton invade all the segments at once around the world.
Segmentation looking for doing quite a lot use of the resources, however Benetton count on a wide range of resources due to Benetton is a good brand. For this reason, Benetton is able to go to all markets around the world. It is an international brand, everybody knows Benetton and when they hear or see this brand, immediately it is associated to its shock advertisements. As such, their traditional advertisements centred on images which promote tolerance, peace, multiculturalism… through posters, media and magazines. In this way, Benetton has tried to take its message to a global audience.
For this reason, brand appeals to a very large range from children to people in their 40s, 50s. But, the target audience of Benetton, the youth of Europe, is actually rather aware and concerned about social problems around them. It is showed in his advertisement, which appears impressive images. These images are a serious critic to racism, violence, injustice and all values which people fight to eliminate of society. Companies want to appear as the most caring and aware, presenting issues that the (young) consuming public are concerned about (Tinic 1997) . Nonetheless, young people are rebellious sector so that these images are directed to this segment of population. When young people buy these apparels, they demonstrated that they are against to racism, violence, anorexia, SIDA and so on. They are of high-middle level and average of age no more than 40 years old, because the population who are 40 years old ahead do not use to like these kind of advertisements due to these ads are scandalous. However, young people take part in it like, for example in spring-summer 1991, the campaign against SIDA, Benetton launch an advertisement with a lot of colourful condom.
Firstly, marketers have to take attention; this means to give procedures for identifying market segments, choosing the best market segments in which to operate and deciding the strategy to effect in entering market segments.
Therefore, the way to identify the market segments is to classify in a preliminary screening market all countries and then to choose a criteria to screen countries.
The most important part is what countries to choose. Expanding market segments intuitively may seem to be the most appealing, and also the segmentation in developed countries are most visible than an emerging market. However, it is necessary to take into account that this is in the mind of the competitors, too. But, a successful strategy, however, could have a substantial worth. Companies may sometimes operate very well in a declining market segment provided, because there is a close relation between the needs of the segment and the company own capabilities. So that, it is very important that resources and objectives must be considered when selecting segments and these segments give a positioning strategy to the product.
Furthermore, there are two stages of international segmentation. First, it is aggregate or macro-level stage, where they are country groups with similar traits. The second stage is the opposite, it is disaggregated or micro-levelled, where there are product-specific bases relate with buying and consumption behaviour, this is focus on consumer needs.
Besides, there are three segmentation scenarios:-Universal or global segment this segment extends towards different countries.
-Regional segment this segment is concentrate in a local market.
-Unique segment this segment its target is each individual.
Segment scenario of Benetton is a universal segment which breaks boundaries as a result of these customers of different countries has similar thoughts.
Additionally, different variables are used for country segmentation purposes. The most commonly used are: demographics, socioeconomics, behaviour segmentation and lifestyle.
-Demographics: they are easy to measure, for this reason, frequently they are used because they give exact data and they always are available.
As we mentioned before, Benetton focus on people with less of 40 years old, but above all young people with middle level. There are clothes for a man and for a woman. Also, Benetton has apparel for pre-mother and kids. For example, Benetton opened an exclusive mother-and-child store in India in 20003. “Benetton India is now looking at targeting a niche audience through its concept stores”-Socioeconomics: there are some indicator like the per capita income is an economic developmental indicator and it is very useful
but it has some problems like the monetization of transactions within a country; grey (untaxed or undertaxed exchanges) and black (illegal transactions) sectors of the economy; and income disparities (countries with income inequalities). Another indicator is the purchasing power parity (PPP) as a buying power.
-Behaviour-based segmentation: it depends on the answer of the consumers.
-Lifestyle: that is attitudes, opinions and core values of group consumers.
Lifestyle changes throughout the time and it have to be considered by marketers, but, on the contrary it had identified new product opportunities and developing brand personalities. In contrast to this, you have to take into account that values are too general, they are not always “actionable”, they are not stable and they are very limited.
This is the most important because Benetton´s marketers group consumers according to their thought about injustice of the life and real problems. For instance, controversial advertisement in which appears a girl with anorexia problems, consequently Benetton´s marketers want people identify with this problem and they acquire attitudes. This ads aim to young people, because they are more sensitive with it. Benetton know that lifestyle changes continuously and each day appear new values or one day one value can be very important and other day can not be. Therefore, Benetton is highly involved in knowing lifestyle, in this way; they use high- technology to be always up to date of people´s mentality and their attitudes towards some problems.
Benetton tries to transmit values through its advertisement. Around these values auto-censure is generated. Social group decides the level of the language and what it can and cannot be said.
Other tool for selecting segments is: the Directional Policy Matrix.
Once you have found the criteria for segmentation the next step in the process is to select those segments that company wish how targets.
The aim of this model is to achieve a match between capabilities of company and the needs of the market. It is very useful because thanks to this process company can find in with places it can be done best and company will select their target segments.
Benetton´s marketers design a marketing mix policy which it is peculiar, due to they launch his product to world without to take into account of customer´s responsiveness. This mapping shows different preferences of some countries in terms of rational (think) and emotional (feel).
“Think” and “Feel” country clusters Benetton is operating in these markets and it has launched its advertisement to them without to take into account “think” and “feel” of them.
However, US and Europe are more profitable markets for Benetton, so that in these markets it had obtained a lot of incomes. For example US is a “high think” and “high feel” country, in other words, it is a country in which people is rational and emotional. When they watch Benetton´s advertisement, they are conscious and they fight against it. They do not remain slow like, the opposite, India, Argentina and Brazil.
For this reason their advertisement are launched in Europe, US or Asia. For example, in January 2000, Benetton released its death-row advertising campaign, which featured prisoners who had been sentenced to death. The campaign appeared on billboards and in major publications in Europe, America and Asia .
In summary, Benetton invade all segments around the world. It does not distinction among people; in fact its advertisements are against of it. Benetton wants to cause an impact in people who see their advertisements and in contrary; they want to attract people who think the same or to defend that. So, firstly Benetton cause a shock and in this way they become famous and the people know Benetton; and consequently people, who defend Benetton´s critics, buy clothes from Benetton. Benetton clothes’ addressers usually are young people because they are more involved in nowadays problems and they are identified with this.