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Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning

STP And Marketing Strategy

I’ve always found some of the ideas around STP (Segmentation, targeting and Positioning) a bit vague. For example, consider Wikipedia which says:

Positioning refers to the place that a brand occupies in the minds of the customers and how it is distinguished from the products of the competitors and different from the concept of brand awareness.

Wikipedia, Positioning (marketing), accessed Nov 1, 2020

I am usually a bit more of a fan of Wikipedia than many academics. (If nothing else it is a great source for what people think. Even if it is not always a good source for what people should think). That said, I don’t think it is helpful here. Here positioning is described as the outcome of the marketers’ actions.

I prefer a definition that is a bit more related to the process. This links positioning in with segmentation and targeting as something marketers do, not the outcome they achieve. STP are the marketer’s actions, not necessarily what happens as a result of the actions.

Positioning Maps

The teaching of positioning can be a bit vague to my mind. Segmentation has better math and targeting may be a little more intuitive. Often when I see positioning maps I cringe a little. See my thoughts on positioning maps here and here. Marketing Strategy, especially teaching of it, can be improved I think with a bit more clarity.

A Picture of Research, Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning

I developed a picture that I’m hoping might help. The idea being that the picture emphasizes that STP are all the actions that marketers take. How consumers respond is a different thing entirely. (Although hopefully, your actions have some sort of impact upon the consumers.) The picture emphasizes a link back to the idea of a distribution of consumer tastes across dimensions. I obviously use two dimensions for visual ease.

I’ve added research (R) to STP to give students an idea how things link together. You need to get an idea of consumers’ tastes through research before you can do any STP.

Is this helpful? If so please feel free to use it when teaching.

Research, Segmentation, Targeting And Positioning
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