Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Targeting and Positioning

One of the most significant uses of industrial market segmentation schemes is to make targeting and product positioning decisions. Companies chose to target some segments and downplay or avoid other segments in order to maximize their competitive advantage and the likelihood of success.

“There is a critical difference in emphasis between target market and [target] audience. The term audience is probably most useful in marketing communication”. (Croft, 1999) Target markets can include end user companies, procurement managers, company bosses, contracting companies and external sales agents. Audiences, however, can include individuals that have influence over purchasing decision, but may not necessarily buy a product themselves, e.g. design engineers, architects, project managers and operations managers, plus those in target markets.

Croft quotes Friestad, Write, Boush and Rose (1994) as stating that because the purpose of advertising is to persuade, consumers become sceptical of its methods and approaches [and indeed intentions]. However, while this may be entirely true in consumer marketing, the level of trust and reliance on marketing communication by industrial customers is fairly high due to the professional experience and knowledge of the industrial buyer. Some even appreciate advertising because it keeps them informed of the products and services available in the market.