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November 21, 2014

Feeding People the Food They Love

Sarah Pavey

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Imagine that you’ve had a great idea for a product. You’re excited, you think it’s got huge potential, and you can’t wait to see what your customers make of it!

But when it launches, you’re disappointed to discover that nobody seems interested when you release it, and you’re not sure why.

There are several possible reasons your offering might not be as successful as you expected. For example, did you analyze your market and think about who you should target? Did you consider your customers’ needs, requirements and desires? Did you make sure that your product met these? If not, then you may have missed a trick: no matter how exciting your product is, you need to sell it to the “right” people for it be a success.

By focusing on a specific section of your market, you can target a group of people who have common characteristics and needs, and you can fine-tune your product so they’ll want to buy it.

Come Dine With Me

I love inviting people over for dinner. Nothing too formal - just a group of friends, some nice food, and a good bottle of wine. When I ask people to attend a dinner party, I want to make sure that they’re going to be enthusiastic, enjoy the food I serve, and leave feeling satisfied and happy. So, I start by making a list of the different people I know and jot down notes about the types of food I know they like. For example, some like Chinese, others favor Mexican, while many prefer Italian. Once I’ve segmented my friends into different groups with different preferences, I can sit down and think about who I should invite. As I only plan to cook one type of food at a time, I decide to invite one group only.

To help me decide which group to invite, I think about which type of food I can cook with the greatest chance of success. Of course, my guests won’t be paying me for their meals, so I will measure success on how satisfied they are and how likely they are to consider coming to dinner again. I like cooking (and eating) Italian food, and many of my friends also enjoy it, so I think I could successfully provide a tasty meal that my Italian-food-loving friends would enjoy.

Finally, I think about the invites I plan to send out. I know this group loves Italian food, so I’d focus on this. I want to encourage people to attend, so perhaps I could create an Italian-themed invite with appetizing images of pizza, pasta, antipasto, or meats, or even include a sprig of fragrant basil in the envelopes, to let them know I’ll be cooking the type of food that I know they love.

In this simple example, I’ve divided my friends into segments with different preferences, thought about which group is most likely to enjoy the type of food I can cook well, and made the invite appealing to them.

But how can you make sure that you’re targeting the “right” customers in the most effective way, and giving your product or service the best chance of success? One way to do this is with the Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning (or STP) Model. It helps you analyze your offering, its price, and the way you communicate its values and benefits to a specific group. Find out how you can use it in our new article.

Question: Have you experienced success segmenting your market and targeting a specific group of customers?

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