Category Archives: Segmentation


Strange segmentation

Segmenting markets is a major challenge in sectors where there’s already plenty of competition. Starting at a basic level, I’m sure most of us can divide markets into segments that fulfil the criteria laid down in theory books (relating to homogeneity, size, profitability, sustainability, etc). So let’s start with an obvious choice: men vs. women? Yip: someone’s done it here … Continue reading

Fake fires for modern cave men

Kindling new segments

If you’ve never seen this product before, allow me to introduce you to the flatscreen open fire. Slap it on the wall, switch it on and you immediately have all the pre-historic atmosphere of a cave fire in the comfort of a 21st century home. Only it’s not real… Who buys these things? Hotels? Trendy bars? Obviously neither. Judging by … Continue reading


Volvo for women

Thanks to a current MBA student for a fascinating example of a company doing its best to contradict itself: VOLVO. In 2004 the company worked out that women also drive cars (pioneering stuff!) and they should therefore also be involved in the design process (Business Week report, USA Today). What clever market segmentation. Now isn’t that the MALE symbol used … Continue reading


Speaking to the right target?

I discovered this little gem at the weekend. Not a dead parrot, not a live one either, but a talking, laughing interactive toy parrot. Also not a cheap parrot – costs a good €80 (though much less in the States, what a surprise). Now take a gander at those functions! Acts, speaks with more than 45 words, many phrases and … Continue reading

ACORN website screenshot

Big Brother

The classic approach to segmentation in consumer markets used to be demographics. I remember clearly as a brand manager at Unilever presenting my target group as C1C2D, women, over 35. Not surprisingly, this was a traditional hairspray brand. But in the 80s, marketing people got wise to the fact that people may be in a clearly defined demographic group, but … Continue reading

Blatant sexism?

Feminist nightmare

The UK has gone totally PC (politically correct). Any hint of having a go at minorities, women, people of different race, creed, ability, and you’ll attract the wrath of the public screaming “leave them alone”. It’s engraved in law, sensibly, and is there for a reason. But it’s meant companies have had to clean up their advertising too. Unlike in … Continue reading

Supermarket segmentation

A call to retailers: give your customers more hassle-free shopping! No I haven’t been drinking coffee. No I’ve not got anything against old people. Just today, as a working man, it finally dawned on me. I traipse off to the supermarket to do the shopping and there’s nothing but glue-kneed geriatrics plodding around. One of whom, in a blatant case … Continue reading