The person who was wearing my creations or the segment of population that I aim to reach as a result of the target market segmentation (to use a business book term) wasn’t exactly on my mind at my first product design attempt. And this lack of understanding of the target market segment made difficult any progress in my brand creation project.
(If you feel that you need some context for what follows, read The MLC1948 Journey, if you haven’t already done that.)
To summarize what happened in the past weeks: I had a dream (build a fashion brand and call it MLC1948 – the most difficult to pronounce name I could come up with), I started designing it, and I came to realize that I had no idea who my future customers are going to be.
Where I have initially estimated that it won’t take me more than a month to have the website up and running and start selling, here I was, three weeks into it, realizing that I have forgotten a few details.
The importance of target market segmentation is emphasized all over in the most famous business books, but for some reason I thought I could get away with not doing that for now.
And that happened for a good reason: I would like to create fashion accessories that are of everybody’s liking. But, after my first attempt at product design, I have understood that, initially, at least, “everybody” is not going to be my customer.
But, how do I go about identifying and segmenting the target market and how I choose my initial most important customer segment?
- behavioral analysis
- buying occasions
- expected benefits
Business school books are the answer. (The only small issue is that they tend to be too theoretical at times.)
According to my marketing book (Philip Kotler, what else?) says that I can use various dimensions to segment my future market:
This part, too, took a lot more than initially estimated. By now, I’m getting used with the idea that I’m a little challenged in terms of planning.
Using demographics would be pretty easy, except that, apart from age, the rest of the information is useless for segmentation: gender – can’t segment by gender as I would like to create unisex fashion accessories (yes, they exist!); geography – it’s an online boutique, so geography doesn’t quite matter; profession – irrelevant. I needed to look elsewhere.
After several iterations, I came up with a market segmentation that was a little more satisfying in terms of information needed to take my project further.
The result of my target market segmentation efforts looks like this:
For MLC1948, the main target market segment is younger, well-educated, moderate to high-income fashion discerning individuals, who understand that true elegance is never loud and who seek a touch of understated sophistication to match their personalities.
We will need to emphasize:
- the craftsmanship
- the attention to detail
- the modern design
- the use of high quality materials (fine leather and semi-precious stones)
- Swiss made
- limited editions and unique pieces vs mass production
I have to say, at this point, I’m quite proud of the result. I have a good idea of who my customer is and what it’s important for them (or so I think for now).
Only time will tell what other “small detail” I forgot to take into account.
Next post will be about bringing it all together and attempting to create a well-rounded MLC1948 brand identity. So, stay tuned.