The market segments that existed 20 years ago have changed significantly with the spread of wireless devices, instant communication, instant access to information, and instant gratification. The parameters used to define college students, teens, and twenty-something market segments have seen some of the biggest changes, and those changes have led to significant misperceptions about the people in those segments.
This is something that Mike Poznansky learned first-hand during his seven years with Red Bull where he led the brand’s college program (he left the company recently to start his own agency, Neato). In an interview with AdWeek, Mike shares some insights that every brand manager should read. Rather than suggesting that marketers should rely on redefining market segments to stay relevant and boost ROI, he suggests that marketers should redefine their perceptions of market segments, particularly the college student segment.
When asked what misperceptions are causing brands to falter with the college student segment, Mike explained:
“[It's a misperception] that a [brand] ambassador program is the lifeblood of a college marketing program, or that all your focus should be on getting your brand and your product on campus. To color that in, just a fraction of the college experience takes place on campus. Most students don’t even live there. Most of their spending isn’t happening there. So, some brands are just frankly investing way too much money on the wrong things. You really need a comprehensive approach. You’re not going to achieve everything through one vertical.”
Integrated marketing is the key to success across market segments these days, and getting a better understanding of the people within those market segments in 2013 is critically important. Mike explains that college students affect more purchase decisions than ever as parents seek out their help in finding information about products and services online. He also notes that college students are the future power consumers, so investing the time, money, and resources into better understanding this new generation of hyper-connected consumers who don’t remember any other way to live than connected to their mobile devices 24/7.
Consider the market segmentation you’ve done to maximize your brand marketing efforts. Do you really understand the people within each of those segments in 2013, or is part of your “understanding” based on outdated misperceptions? People have changed, and your understanding of your market segments has to evolve to keep up with them. The “traditional” college student buyer persona is anything but traditional these days.
What do you think? Leave a comment and share your thoughts
Image: Tiffany Szerpicki
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