Understanding what customers want
On multiple occasions we have heard how market segmentation contributes to the orientation of companies towards success, especially due to the highly competitive environment to which they are exposed, where knowledge of the needs of customers comes to provide timely information for achieve differentiation.
According to the American Marketing Association the segmentation Market is nothing more than the process of subdividing a market into distinct subsets of customers that behave the same or have similar needs. Each subset can be thought of as a goal to be achieved with a different marketing strategy.
The customers, which come to be the raison d'être of organizations, are very heterogeneous; So much so that the diversity that is represented by its location, socioeconomic levels, culture, preferences of purchase, styles, personality, purchasing power, etc. make it difficult implementation of techniques marketing services that can fully recognize these needs and take actions to satisfy them all in a similar way, but in order to reach a result that provides the necessary information, this market must be fragmented in order to follow the continuous evolution of the profiles of the consumers.
It is not enough just to know the clients but also the competitors to be able to establish a strategy that allows the organization to adapt to the changes that appear. Thus, it can be said that segmentation by benefits can be considered as one of the most modern techniques for monitoring the evolution of consumer profiles, which in turn facilitates getting to know the customer well and adapting the offer to their needs. . It can be said, then, that when consumers are grouped taking into account the factors that move them towards purchasing (as a variable), segmentation by benefits is being applied.
In the article "Analysis of consumption differences. Instrument to know what and to whom to offer the service", published by this magazine on November 25, 2010, addressed how to identify the needs of our clients according to their consumption; at that time the objective was to show an instrument that allowed administrators of restaurants having a resource to define, according to niches and time slots, the different offers that should be presented to customers to maximize financial benefits. Today we can see this instrument, in addition, as part of this article due to the degree of relationship it has with the content being addressed.
Market segmentation, in general, and looking at it from the point of view of restaurant generates the following benefits:
- Allows to target the offers, according to time slots, promotions and distribution channels towards customers.
- Take advantage of its resources and capabilities focused on its real and potential clients.
- Make it easier for your clients to find the offers adapted to their needs.
Similarly, it is good to remember that to segment a market, the segmentation variables can be used independently or in combination. These variables are:
- Geographical segmentation: Refers to the division of markets into regions of a country or the world, size, density or climate.
- Demographic segmentation: Refers to the division of markets according to population characteristics such as: age, sex, marital status, income, education and occupation.
- Psychographic / psychological segmentation: Refers to the natural or acquired aspects and qualities of the individual consumer. The variables to consider are: needs-motivation, personality, perception, learning-involvement, attitudes and lifestyles.
- Segmentation by usage rate: Divide the market according to the quantity of the product that is bought or consumed.
- Segmentation by benefits: groups consumers according to the benefit they expect to obtain from the product. The main benefits and the main products that offer them are identified.
When an entity is evaluated, in order to identify its image, quality and the level of adequacy of its attributes with respect to the needs of customers, the study of their perceptions regarding a large number of defining aspects of the entity is used . Prior to arrival, the client has a set of motivations that drive the initial decision to choose the entity to visit. These motivations are the "benefits sought." The client, before arriving, creates his own conception of the benefits that his visit will bring him, shaping the previous image of the place, which in some way has been communicated to him. (Taño et al, 2004)
The importance of the benefit lies in the possibility of being managed, so that the customer after enjoying the product reaches high levels of satisfaction in the benefits considered essential in each type of consumer.
Returning to the instrument presented in the article referred to above, this one details how at the time of carrying out the study, age ranges are established to be able to later relate the offers according to consumption and determine the main niche of the restaurant. For the segmentation by benefits we will carry out the same action, only that we will introduce variables that we can quantify and that, in addition to allowing us to evaluate gastronomic offers, allow us to know the attributes of the restaurant that represent benefits for customers.
The application of quantitative instruments should not be the sole driving force behind strategic, the observation, in this particular case of the restaurants, comes to play a very important role, as the behavior, expressed by the client, which can range from gestures to words, contributes to obtaining an overview of their feelings regarding what is being offered.
The very fact that restaurants They are facilities where the client combines the different senses, makes the segmentation process by benefits more comprehensive and less precise, so the decisions that are adopted must be collegial and not based on the subjectivity that the satisfaction surveys can generate. the clients; remember that many opinions can be affected by feelings external to the service and the offer of the restaurant.
Within the set of variables that can be considered at the time of carrying out any study of this type, we can find the following for our gastronomic activity: I clarify previously, that I consider these variables as attractive as well, given that the customer's purchase reasons can easily be associated with them.
- Access roads
2. Architecture (Local):
- Navigation comfort
- Food temperatures
4. Human Resources:
- Personal presence (uniforms, physical appearance,
- Communication capacity
- Offer domain
- Improvisational capacity
5. Flexibility (in this case I mean the fact that the restaurant be able to modify a certain attribute for the benefit of the client, for example the ability to make a culinary preparation not included in the menu)
6. Service Cycle:
- Wait time
- Delivery time
- Closing time
- Schedules (Respect to the established schedules)
7. Technology and supplies:
- Machinery and equipment for service
- Noise levels (Music for example)
- Odor and Vapor Suppression
- Time on the market
- Brand recognition
Various variables can be considered, the ones mentioned above only represent a small percentage of all those that can be included, the more details the better results, since there will be the possibility of fragmenting the different benefits and being able to operate accordingly.
Incredibly, the geographical situation and living standards of citizens are the main trigger for results in organizations. It can be said, then, that these two segmentation variables can be combined with the segmentation by benefits and will contribute abundant information to the final report that will be generated after the study, and that is, by logic of life, communities tend to become loyal to companies that bring them benefits, as a result of the high degree of commitment they create with their employees given that many of them become neighbors or family members.
The main benefit that I have been able to identify in the studies that I carry out in this regard, and for which I have had the opportunity to confront in different societies, is that of generating status, rather than satisfaction with the quality of food.
The man, Maslow well recognizes in his pyramid, after physical and biological satisfaction, seeks social recognition regardless of the price, therefore a variable that can determine much at the time of segmentation is that of the influx of public, that is, to see how it impacts this in the studies that are carried out, so that they can remain competitive. In the stratification process, this variable cannot be neglected, because according to the results obtained, this will be the actions that must be taken to maintain the levels of commercialization at any price, and for this, it can be supported by hiring musical groups, humorists or any other artistic manifestation that attracts the public.
Regarding the specific topic, I call for attention, in relation to the treatment of the information obtained, as well as the established forms of data collection. It is extremely “dangerous” only to be based on the results of the surveys, they are generally wide-ranging, quick to build and very economical to apply, but they allow for subjectivity, and it is in that very subjectivity that the data can be generated. failures or leaks of true information leading to the precise actions to be taken.
Another element to consider and that must be very well selected are the statistical instruments that will be applied, many administrators are fans of the percentages and graphs, and sometimes they get lost in their analyzes, failing to properly interpret each result.
Likewise, it happens that the person responsible for the study who has a high educational level is not prepared or has the experience to assume such an important responsibility. Just because someone in our organization seems capable of something doesn't necessarily have to know about it. You have to know how to choose who will carry out the study and for this you should analyze questions such as:
- Experience: at least the person designated to carry out the study must have participated as a member of a team in previous studies. If the organization does not have someone who meets this requirement, they must hire an expert and incorporate a member of their company to acquire the know-how.
- Knowledge level of clients: it is impossible to carry out a study without knowing what type of clients it is that the restaurant, where the product offered is oriented and what are the alternatives that the restaurant uses in order to solve their needs.
- Interpretability: Obtaining numerical values and qualitative results must be analyzed individually and then in general in order to fully understand what they are saying.
- Power of synthesis: if it is important to be able to properly interpret each study result, it is very important to be able to summarize them. Many times in 4 words you can say what a person can try to show in a paragraph. Too much information bores, accurate information
In summary, and so that we do not have to regret later:
- We must be aware of what we want to achieve when we consider the idea of segmentation.
- We must be very sure that the person to whom we have assigned this task has the appropriate knowledge to be able to carry it out.
- The reports must be synthetic and clear, there can be no gaps in the analysis of the results.
- It is necessary to be clear about which variables are going to be considered in the study, due to their weight in the organization's results.
- The study should not take a long period of time, but should be updated as often as necessary (1 year or more) to understand the changes that are occurring and when they should occur.
Dear administrator, without many calculations, neither roots nor derivatives, without much fanfare or large, volumes of information, such and such should be the report that you will analyze when applying profit segmentation in your organization, this should be the actions. The client aspires to perceive the changes in a reasonable period of time, not suddenly, because as human beings we are, if you change something, we always ask ourselves if it will cost us…. Act in measure, know what your customer likes and dislikes, what attracts you and what drives you away, modify it but make it part of that change.