Change the way you sell

Traditional marketing still works on the web, but the key now is good market segmentation.
Written by Samuel Quek, Contributor

Marketing online is almost the same as traditional marketing, but market segments aren't what they used to be

SINGAPORE - If your company is doing marketing online, you might be targeting the wrong crowd - that is, if you were thinking old school.

Marketing strategies themselves still hold true, says Patrick Medley, a partner of Pricewaterhousecoopers Management Consultants, but good market segmentation is the key.

Medley was one of the speakers invited to share insights on marketing strategies, at the Dot.community Asia 2000 conference held at Westin Stamford last Thursday.

Defining the issue
The Internet Economy has put a lot of pressure on dotcoms to emphasize on 'stickiness', and they try to get as many customers as possible to increase their value - but then they fall to the threat of trying to 'be everything to everybody', said Medley.

At the end of the day, marketing is still about meeting the needs of the customer, so traditional marketing strategy is still valid in the dotcom world.

Dotcoms also face issues that plague the highly competitive online environment. High advertising expenditure, low brand loyalty, and the increasingly difficult challenge of creating brand awareness, added to the fact that money gets 'burned-up' quickly, means that dotcoms need to differentiate themselves quickly and clearly.

At the end of the day, noted Medley, marketing is still about meeting the needs of the customer, so traditional marketing strategy is still valid in the dotcom world.

Terms like market share, and first-mover advantage are similarly communicated as "eyeballs" and "speed to market". Market segments are now "communities", and products/services are what constitutes "content".

Medley says that good market segmentation (or community focus) is the key to effective marketing, which is admittedly a difficult task for any business.

Traditionally, markets were segmented demographically or geographically, with age, income, occupation and region taken as factors, but with the advent of the Internet age, new categories are needed to aid definition.

Communication Receptive Communities (CRCs)
Pricewaterhousecoopers has coined the term "Communication Receptive Communities", or CRCs, to indicate "segments that are receptive to a particularly category of communication messages".

"Forget the broad approach, it's the rifle shots that count."

- Patrick Medley
Management Consultants

CRCs look for "meaning" in the content provided, as opposed to just data or information, but rather something of personal relevance to them.

As a result, content and services should fit the preference of the target CRCs, noted Medley, adding that it was the responsibility of management to find out what they are.

CRCs are focused around similar interests, rather than similar characteristics, thus targetting interest-centric communities would provide more relevent content to a select group of people.

Medley mentioned travel bugs, art lovers, rat-racers and virtual housewives as examples of CRCs.

"Forget the broad approach," he said, "it's the rifle shots that count."

Editorial standards