The concept of segmentation is important to us as marketers. We use segmentation to help us focus our strategies so we can do a better job of marketing to a specific group rather than poor, generic marketing to the masses. However, it’s easy to fall into the trap of equating stereotypes and segments.
This cartoon from marketoonist.com illustrates this concept as it relates to millennials. Millennials represent 25% of the US population and have buying power in excess of $1 trillion so it’s no wonder that companies want to find a way to tap into that demographic but “millennial” isn’t generally a good definition of a market segment. In Essentials of Marketing we define a market segment as a relatively homogeneous group of customers who will respond to a marketing mix in a similar way. Consider that there’s a 23 year age difference between the oldest and youngest millennials and that over half of all millennial households have children. It quickly becomes obvious that further definition is required to truly specify a target market. Try discussing this dilemma with your students. How can companies develop a marketing mix that focuses on “millennials” when that demographic is so diverse?