Marketing Segmentation in a Globally Connected World

Timothy Robinson advises marketers on how to increase awareness and trial of their products.

by Timothy Robinson

Today’s health and beauty marketers are faced with an increasingly challenging situation when targeting specific market segments. Not only are consumers accessing more diverse and far-reaching sources of information, but they are becoming increasingly cynical of and discriminating with media they trust. This makes targeting them with traditional demographics difficult at best and nearly impossible with traditional push marketing. With that in mind, there are a few things that marketers can do to increase awareness and trial of their products and hopefully create the loyalty they seek:

1. Know your customer. This seems blindingly obvious at the outset, but it is surprising how many marketers only know the basics of their intended consumer – and virtually nothing about their mindset. To reach today’s fickle beauty consumer, you must know, intimately, what they really care about - whether that’s clinically-proven, high efficacy treatments or organically-sourced natural care products. Understand what motivates them.

2. Invite them in. This is a bit harder in today’s over-saturated market, but all the more important because of that. Consumers are increasingly wary of the ‘pitch’ and much more motivated by discovery. Create an environment where they can try you out, discuss you with their friends and experience your brand in its best light. Resist the temptation to control the experience too tightly. If you push too hard, they’ll walk away.

3. Once you’ve created a connection, remember that it takes a long, long time to truly earn their trust (and almost no time to lose it!). Trial is just the beginning. You’ve got to keep giving them reasons to come back and try more – and tell their friends. Promotional giveaways and gift-with-purchase items are no longer nice-to-have items, they’re expected. One-up them and truly give them something special.

4. Let them tell you what they think about you – and listen. Hard. There are hundreds – if not thousands – of other brands approaching the same consumer with similar offers. If you take the time to listen, let them know you are listening and acting on their feedback, you’ll gain their much-coveted loyalty.

Now here’s the real trick – keep doing this over and over. Figuring out how to appeal to a consumer and gain their trust is relatively easy. Keeping it is where things get difficult. Most marketers will find lots of reasons – mostly budgetary – to stop active customer engagement strategies. All too often they forget that saving a few dollars at the expense of losing the customer is ultimately a losing strategy.

About the Author: Timothy Robinson is managing director, research & analytics of CoreBrand’s strategy business and international efforts. He leads CoreBrand’s strategic efforts with global clients such as Cisco Systems, Toshiba Corporation, Dun & Bradstreet and Lincoln National Corporation, focusing on building and leveraging global brand value. Tim has over 15 years of experience in design, design management and strategic marketing.