Allowing Customers to Segment Themselves

The Promise of Self-Segmentation (Strategy+Business)

Defining a target market is often viewed as the first step in building a successful marketing strategy and nearly all marketers find the best approach to take for identifying markets is through market segmentation.? Traditionally marketers have relied on extensive marketing research, including crunching numbers found in large data storage areas such as CRM systems, when they attempt to identify their segments.? But this story argues that Internet social networks and other technologies are allowing customers to do their own segmenting and all a marketer needs to do is tap into these technologies to see what type of?groups exist.

In this new era of branding, companies must focus on ethnic, cultural, religious, sports, or other segments, not markets. This pivot could be achieved through CRM systems, but self-segmented communities of interest provide a more effective alternative. Such communities can provide fast, low-cost market research, generate ideas and feedback about new offerings, help improve corporate and customer-to-customer service, strengthen relationships, provide an early warning system about problems, and promote favorable word-of-mouth.

Is this author simply providing a new twist on what is already well known about segmentation or do these ideas offer something that is truly new?