Monday, July 18, 2005

Outside the Book - W.O.W.!

Now for the (marketing) words you wait a whole week to read: market segment.

A market segment is defined as "a group or sector within a heterogeneous market consisting of consumers or organisations with relatively homogeneous needs and wants; those within a market who will respond to a given set of marketing stimuli in a particular way."

What's that in Enlish? Segmenting your market basically means breaking down your target patrons into groups based on common characteristics in order to serve their needs better. Usually, segmentation relies on carefully identifying the demographic, behavioral and geographic variables common to your target market. Of these, behavioral is the best segmenting dimension, so the more you can learn about your patrons' habits, the better.

One foundation has a wonderful web page, complete with worksheets, for getting you started with segmenting. Also, check out other libraries to see how they break down their patron base and what services they offer each group. For example, the New York Public Library offers a wide ranging suite of services all aimed at particular audiences (readers & writers, adult learners, teens, etc.).

The bottom line is, you can't serve all of your patrons equally well with the same set of services. Most segments will require a unique marketing mix. Your marketing efforts will have more effect if you make sure that they're directed at the right people in the right way.

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