Ideally, the key segments selected would have high product penetration and would contain the highest proportions of hea^y users, indicating greater volume potential, a healthy position for the brand or brands under consideration, and favorable brand attitudes. This t’pe of ideal situation would make the selection of target segments quite easy. Unfortunately, this ideal situation seldom occurs in reality. The author’s experience with life style segmentation has shown that there tend to be three basic results in relationships between life style segments and the marketing data.
First, two or three life style segments account for 60% or more of the total business in that category. This means that these segments (types of people) are crucial to success or failure in the category. They are the ones who need to be appealed to, reached through the media, and concentrated on in marketing. Second, a number of segments contain important levels of hea^ users of the category, and a few segments are relatively unimportant. Here one needs to go beyond the consumption data to examine the relative positions of the brands. Where is a brand strong and where is it weak?
If a brand profile matches the heavy-user profiles by segments, then the task becomes one of maintaining the current position and perhaps expanding it. It may be that the segments where a brand is weak are different people with different needs, which might suggest a second brand. If, on the other hand, a brand profile does not match the heavier-using segments very well, there is a need to determine how to capture some business from those segments where competition is doing much better. Third, there are no significant differences in 36 Journal of Markeling, January 1974 onsumption among the segments, but definite attitude, product function, and life style similarities exist between groups of segments.
In addition to providing input into the “who” of a marketing plan, life style segmentation often provides insights into the amount of concentration in a market: how difficult conversion of nonusers might be, the potential role of promotion, and the potential role of new products. For example, in one product categor>’ it was quite evident that ever;’ brand except one was targeted at the same life style segment. Although important, this segment comprised less than half of the users. Here was an instance where a marketing opportunity existed to target a new brand or reposition an older one at the other, less-concentrated segments.
The author is aware of one situation in which life style segmentation was particularly useful in basic media strategy, when an important segment appeared to be more print-oriented and a light daytime television viewer. Using the demographics of that life style segment, further analysis of Life style segmentation is useful because it provides a unique and important view of the market. It begins with the people—their life styles and motivations—and then determines how various marketing factors fit into their lives.
This perspective often provides fresh insights into the market and gives a more three-dimensional view of the target consumers. This article has described the theory underlying life style segmentation, a two-step analytic process, and uses which have been made of the data. This unique and detailed knowledge of consumers has been a useful input to marketing and advertising planning for many of the companies that have been involved in life style segmentation studies. 9. “How Nestle Uses Psychographics,” Media Decisions.