Market Segmentation

by The Times 100 on Thursday 28th June, 2007

Market Segmentation

Are you aware of or have you used web sites such as MySpace or Facebook?These sites are examples of those within the genre of 'social networking' (Wikepedia provides a comprehensive list of others).These are places where individuals can link up with other people online.PhD research undertaken at University College Berkeley in the United States examines the profile of users of each of the two main social networking sites within the US and reports some interesting findings.It suggests 'a sharp division along class lines' amongst users, with those using Facebook tending to come from wealthier homes and attending college (BBC, 25th June 2007).MySpace users were found to be more likely to get a job after finishing high school.

Identifying and understanding the market segments that a firm's products or services appeal to can be valuable information to a marketing department.The Times 100 case study about Experian targets a three stage process that the company uses: segmenting the market; targeting products and services to those segments; and positioning the product relative to other products in the market.

Perhaps this approach could be used by the social networking sites too?By understanding the market segments that use their services, they could target potential advertisers that want to access these kinds of groups.

Sources:

Wikipedia – list of social networking websites

Social sites reveal class divide – BBC News, 25 June 2007

The Times 100 Case Study – Experian

Suggested Study Questions:

-         What kind of advertisers might MySpace and Facebook target, given the market segments that their differing sites appeal to?

-         What market segments did Experian target for their products?

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