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Table of Contents

Business Plan: Aqua Diving Inc. - Part 6


Segmentation, Targeting & Positioning

“The process of identifying groups or sets of potential customers at either the national or sub-national levels that are likely to exhibit similar buying behavior is known as segmentation (Keegan, 1997, 5th Ed).” To market successfully in a heterogeneous global market, international marketers need to identify the patterns of similarity that act as a platform for global integration at the strategic and operational levels (Walters, 1997). Market segmentation helps organizations to identify the groups that respond differently to their marketing mix and allows them to frame a tailored marketing mix for different segments. The effectiveness of the marketing activity improves when the markets are segmented. Segmentation also helps in better allocation of scarce resources.

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Targeting is the process of selecting the highest potential customers with whom the organization wants to do business. It can also be described as the process of eliminating the undesirable market segments while choosing a few. According to Warren J. Keegan, Targeting may be defined as “the act of evaluating and comparing the identified groups and then selecting one or more of them as the prospective ones with the highest potential (Keegan, 1997, 5th Ed).” After selecting the target markets, a suitable marketing mix is framed for those markets. This mix gives the organization the best returns while generating the maximum amount of value to the customers. Hence, global targeting can be explained as “identifying market segments throughout the world, targeting a few segments, and designing suitable marketing mix strategies for each of these segments (Keegan, 1997, 5th Ed).”

For sustained market leadership for any brand or product in a market, the marketer first focuses on segmentation of the target market and then he targets one or more segments and tries selling his product (Keegan, 1997, 5th Ed). This is done by the marketer with the help of product positioning. Warren J. Keegan defines Product Positioning as “the process whereby a company establishes an image for its products in the minds of consumers relative to the image of competitor’s product offerings (Keegan, 1997, 5th Ed).”

Johnny K. Johansson and Hans B. Thorelli, describe product positioning as “an activity by which desirable positioning in the mind of the customer is created for the product.” The perceptions of the consumers are vital in positioning a product (Walters, 1997). So, marketers should take care that the correct information is passed on to the target segments. In the present day global markets, companies look for a global positioning strategy for their products (Donald, 1995).

A company can get a number of short-term and long-term benefits by positioning its product in global markets. The benefits of global positioning are explained below.

  • Companies will not be affected by any recession in the domestic market as their products are positioned in the global market.
  • Companies that position their products in the global market can enjoy tax benefits.
  • Even if the home market has stagnated and is not lucrative any longer, positioning the product in the global market can prolong its life.
  • By concentrating on global markets, the company can escape from or tackle any severe competition in the home market. Japanese Automobiles, for example, managed tough competition in the home market by concentrating on the global market.
  • A company can successfully leverage its strengths with the help of its global activity (Walters, 1997).

Michael Porter introduced generic strategies like focus, cost leadership, cost differentiation to reduce the uncertainties of the competitive environment (Porter, 2007 Reprint).

Marketing communications or promotion helps marketers communicate information to potential customers about the product’s existence, value and the benefits that can be accrued from it. It comprises one of the four elements of the marketing mix - Promotion. Designing an effective marketing communication mix help marketers to attract, persuade, urge, and remind customers of the company’s brands. Promotion means making the product reach the customer or simply communicating the product or service to the customer. The strategy involved here is to make use of the media to the maximum in order to reach the customers and tell them about the product.

Buyer behavior acts as an imperative tool in the hands of marketers to forecast the future buying behavior of customers and device marketing strategies accordingly in order to create long term customer relationship (Berry, 1983). The marketing efforts of an organization have a profound impact on the buying decisions of customers. Therefore, marketers attempt to obtain an in-depth knowledge of customers’ buying behavior of the customer. The success or failure of a product or service is directly related to the buying behavior of the customer. Hence, an understanding of the buying behavior of customers’ help marketers come up with innovative product mixes.

As far as Aqua Diving Inc. is concerned, mass production, distribution and marketing of will give way to mass customization of product-service, communication and everything else that touches the customer, particularly for intangibles. There must be enough new value to be created for both supplier and customer to warrant interest by both parties. Prioritize all the customers into best, average and worst, and then design different plans for each category. The profitability of a relationship needs to be understood, as does the relationship quality. Massive advertising of the product is essential. This will create awareness about the product. As it is a new product, event marketing can be sought as a means of marketing the product.

Dividing the market by grouping the customers with similar tastes and preferences into one segment is called segmentation. Market segmentation is becoming increasingly important for marketers. Segmentation helps marketers understand the needs of different customer better and serve them with better value propositions. If marketers know which segment of the market they are targeting, they can design their marketing mix to suit the customer in the segment. For example, Intel, the chip giant, launched a cheaper mobile processor, Celeron M, which is targeted at the ‘value market’ segment. Segmentation also helps the marketers increase customer loyalty, as the marketers focus on these similar markets with enhanced service and quality features.

Aqua Diving Inc., as an organization has an aspiration for global business operations, sooner or later. Hence, the wisdom of some of the marketing gurus like Porter is borrowed is positioning is done globally. The first resort, upcountry of New York, will initially, for the first couple of months, target that specific geographic area. This is again a strategic thought to check operational readiness as well as implementation of Sops (Standard Operating Procedures). This will also serve as a ground for checking operational readiness, processes, and fine tuning any failures that could be happening at all levels. The initial six month period, after the launch, will serve purely as a test phase for the complete organization.

Aqua Diving Inc. would look at different segments of the market to ensure continuous revenue generation and a healthy cash flow management. The predominant strategy behind targeting different segments of the market, is to ensure that Aqua Diving Inc. Resorts always have guests and are occupied to a minimum of 50% occupancy thereby ensuring continuous breakeven. The target segments would be varied and would include summer campers, weekenders, serious divers, honeymoon couples, as well as Corporates searching for meeting and conference venues. Aqua Diving Inc. will be positioned as a professional diving organization, facilitating diving for first-timers, right up to hard core serious divers. This kind of positioning will attract guests, right across the seasons, and ensures continuous revenue generation. Despite all this, it is accepted by the founders, that the initial 9-12 months of operations, as well as the pre-operational costs would all be capital intensive and the promoters are prepared for this.

The marketing communication would be handled by professional agencies like Squeaky Wheel Media, which has helped a large number of start-ups over a period of a last 10 years to effectively build strong brands. They are also masters in technology and this would further help Aqua Diving Inc. to start projecting strong brand image, right form the inception, and make the brand stronger over a period of time. Squeaky Wheel Media has been shortlisted over a number of other organizations.

A Brief overview of Squeaky Wheel Media

Founded in 2001 by an experienced management team and guided by industry veteran, Anthony Del Monte, Squeaky Wheel Media is an interactive agency based in New York City. Their professional services firm is committed to assisting clients with their business and communication objectives. Squeaky helps companies communicate more efficiently online with their customers, employees and partners by utilizing the most appropriate balance of design and technology.

Squeaky Wheel Media makes the noise that is right for your communication needs. The base of their service offering includes digital strategy, web design and development. These services, paired with a smart and dedicated team of individuals translates to the delivery of world-class web positions and successful online marketing vehicles.

Their award-winning team is comprised of 30 people. They are a diverse team of strategists, designers and programmers whose strengths include brand development, strategy and technology consulting, usability, design and development for the web and mobile, information architecture, database implementation and social media marketing services.

At Squeaky Wheel Media, an established process sets the tone for each assignment. This process is the result of years of proven client success and careful partnering skills that maintain a teamed approach to every assignment. They listen and they work with the clients. Leading companies, brands and organizations have chosen Squeaky to manage their communications online. Squeaky’s goal for each project is to leverage their creative and technical expertise to provide their clients with the recommendations, standards and guidelines needed to establish a leading web position that works in concert with all branding and communication objectives.

Squeaky approaches every project as a partnership and their processes, procedures and management styles are all designed to facilitate this partnership. Therefore, they see support as a key element and anticipate making themselves readily available throughout the duration of the project.

Why is Squeaky the Right Partner?

The 4 tenants on which Squeaky operates are representative of both Squeaky’s culture and its approach to the work they do. These are:

People: Squeaky’s value is its people. Their management team has over 30+ years of experience. This combined with the talents of their intelligent, real, fair and diverse team, results in work that best serves Squeaky’s clients’ needs and objectives.

Synergy: Squeaky’s wealth of knowledge coupled with the diversity of their client roster, makes them an excellent partner. They’ll leverage their experience working across a variety of industries with special attention to their client’s direct competitors. They’ve developed long lasting relationships with leading brands like: Lexus, WisdomTree and Premium Outlets (Squeaky, 2014).

Commitment: Squeaky is committed to ensuring their clients' success. Over the past ten years, Squeaky has grown brands and partnerships across many industries. They don’t shy away from challenges. They embrace them and surpass their clients’ expectations.

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Results: Independent agency availability/Big agency results. Squeaky approaches every project as a partnership and their award-winning work and long-standing relationships with clients are examples of their belief in what a true partnership should be.

A few other organizations offering similar services like Squeaky like AXZM based out of Dallas, Overit Media, based out of New York, You Shall Thrive, based out of New York, Genuine Interactive, based out of Boston, Small Box Web Design, Carrot Creative, Goldstein Media, and Web PERFEX were also considered for Aqua Diving Inc., however, on detailed and in-depth exploration of capabilities and competence, Squeaky Wheel Media was found to be the best.

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