Most marketers have been trained to use market segments as part of their strategy to approach certain groups of people. Unfortunately when you try to leverage communities as part of your business that no longer works.
Marketers need to move away from market segments, which are based on characteristics, and instead embrace consumer tribes, which are based on behavior.
To understand the difference, let’s use a hypothetical example. Imagine a large health club chain which decides to leverage communities as part of their business. They could target health conscious people, who want a good quality of life and believe in balance between mind and body, as a basis from which to build a community – that would be using market segmentation. Alternatively, they could look at the tribes that typically hang out at health clubs – such as weightlifters or stay-at-home moms. Weightlifters like to show off and enjoy an audience, they are competitive, they like talking about how much they can lift and what their goals are. Stay-at-home moms prefer fewer people at the gym when they go, preferable women, and like to talk about children issues and community issues.
Now which communities will be more successful in this case? Those designed around the market segment or those designed around the behaviors of tribes?
Reminder: If you leverage communities as part of your business and have not yet taken the survey for the 2009 Tribalization of Business, please do so now, or visit the new Tribalization of Business Site.