Over the last few weeks we looked at Last Mile Marketing and Last Mile Marketing: Targeting customer segments through personas, which are two key concepts for understanding smallholder markets more precisely. The third concept, positioning, builds on the first two concepts. Let’s summarize the three concepts before looking at positioning:
- Segmentation: Using data to understand the general marketplace in a more detailed way, and categorize customers into segments, or similar groups, for better marketing based on that data.
- Targeting: Analyzing the data from segmentation to understand which segments your product will most appeal to (and thus produce higher sales from).
- Positioning: Developing advertisements that speak directly to your target segments in a way that most appeals to them.
Positioning a product means appealing to target segment needs, desires, goals, and dreams. Take four and half minutes to watch the below video. In it, the three concepts of segmentation, targeting, and positioning (STP) come together through a major brand, McDonald's. The video shows how McDonald’s uses data to understand its potential market segments and then positions its products in ways that “will be most compelling to a particular segment,” as Carol Sagers, their director of USA marketing, says.
The video highlights that STP insights are based on data; the data provides information about consumer behavior, values, needs, and lifestyles for targeted segments. Carol Sagers says “We are constantly, every day, all week long, collecting information and data about the different segments…and what we pull from these segments are insights, pieces of information that help us understand how to describe our products.” These descriptions position a product in a way that targeted segments will hear and be drawn to. In the video, we learn that McDonald's has a dedicated staff member at the director level for each of its major segments, from young adults and women to Hispanic and Asian consumer segments. The example of their southwest chicken salad is used to show how it is positioned to each segment, including sub-segments such as African-American men as compared to African-American women.
Of course, most small start-ups and companies operating in smallholder markets do not usually have a highly resourced marketing department. So what can we take away from the approach to STP that McDonald's uses as discussed in the video?
- Collect basic data about your current and potential customers through surveys. Integrate marketing data collection into your business processes, such as at point of sale or product delivery to make it as inexpensive and efficient as possible. If possible, combine this marketing data collection with any social impact reporting you may need do for a funder or investor. This way you are collecting data all at once instead of through several separate mechanisms. The AgTechXChange will be hosting webinars and written content about this so please ask a team member if you have a question!
- Create personas to understand what you know and don’t know about your customers. Here is a helpful tool for developing personas.
- At a minimum, create positions for your products to each of your known customer segments so that you can get as much bang from your marketing budget as possible.