Some firms, especially organizations with limited funds or those who feel they need to move quickly to get their product to market, will stop the search for segmentation variables at the Stage 1 level. However, moving beyond Stage 1 segmentation offers a rich amount of customer information that will allow marketers to more effectively and efficiently target customers’ needs.
To segment using Stage 2 variables, marketers must use research techniques that help gain insight into customers’ current purchase situation and the environment in which the customer operates. Information at this stage includes learning what options customers have chosen to satisfy their needs, what circumstances within customers’ environment could affect how purchases are made, and understanding local conditions that could impact purchase decisions. Marketers might locate some of this information through the same sources used in Stage 1 (e.g., may find out brands most frequently purchased) but most variables in Stage 2 require the marketer to engage in at least casual contact with customers in the market. This can be done through primary research methods, such as surveying the market, having sales personnel contact customers, purchasing research reports from commercial research firms, or hiring consultants to undertake research projects. The cost and time needed to acquire this information may be significantly greater than that of Stage 1 segmentation.
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