Market segmentation is described as “the process of defining and subdividing a large homogenous, market into clearly identifiable segments having similar needs, wants, or demand characteristics. It’s objective is to design a marketing mix that precisely matches the expectation of the customers in the targeted segment” (Business Dictionary, 2010). This week’s assignment asked the student to select a company and examine that organization’s characteristics for market segmentation. Included is also the positioning statement regarding the company’s brand.
As defined above, market segmentation allows organizations to categorize the consumer into small groups based on different characteristics. These characteristics are behavioral, demographical, psychographic, and geographical segmentation or differences. All consumers are not created equal. Consumers are different in many ways but by classifying similar desires or wants of consumers a target market is created. Market segmentation allows organizations to better understand the consumer and allows the consumer to be better educated or informed regarding a particular organization’s products (Mangement Study Guide, 2013).
Mary Kay Cosmetics
Established in 1963 with only five thousand dollars, Mary Kay Ash and her son, Richard, Mary Kay Cosmetics was formed. Founded on the Mary Kay’s religious beliefs and belief that women’s lives needed to be beautiful, this company grew to become one of today’s top Fortune 500 companies. “Fortune magazine recognized the company as one of The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America and also named Mary Kay Inc. one of the best companies for women” and “with more than 2.5 million independent beauty consultants in more than 35 markets worldwide, the company continues to one of the greatest success stories in business” (Mary Kay Inc., Unknown).
Mary Kay’s direct selling to its consultants and to customers has allowed Mary Kay to become a major competitive force in the cosmetics industry. Mary Kay focuses on skin care for the whole body, make up, fragrances, and sun care. Demographically, Mary Kay focuses on women ages 25-55 years old and teenagers aged 14 and above. This organization also provides products for men. Geographically, Mary Kay is available in the United States, Canada and 30+ other countries worldwide. Online sales make this company successful while allowing the consumer to shop easy. “Because Mary Kay practices direct selling, building a loyal consumer base is a vital factor in determining financial success” (UK Essays, 2013). Since all online sales are directed back to the local sales force, this allows for consultants to build his or her customer base easily, creating a win-win situation for all parties.
Mary Kay’s psychographic segmentation does not specifically gear itself to any particular social class, lifestyle, or personality. The organization does focus on allowing women to try products in the comfort of one’s home. The primary focus of Mary Kay is that women have confidence that her skin is looking and feeling good inside and out, which leads the women to feel confident in their personal and professional lives.
Often women will book Mary Kay makeovers for special occasions such as graduations or weddings. Since Mary Kay offers a complete refund on their quality products, women have a greater confidence in the products available. Typically, an average in-home class will consist of six women. The theory behind this is that “two women will be unaware of the product and probably will not purchase product, two women will be informed and ready to purchase a few products, and finally two women will buy whatever products they want” (Summerer, 2014).
Mary Kay’s marketing mix allows the independent consultant to advise each customer of his or her skin type and what product would best suit that consumer’s needs. The company’s direct sales also allows for the consumer to receive door-to-door delivery and customized service. “One of the goals of Mary Kay attempts to achieve when pricing their products is to fill their makeup bags without emptying their wallets” (UK Essays, 2013). Mary Kay accesses advertising by word of mouth and relationships built by the consultant and the customer bases. Also through community service programs and public relations, allows for even more inexpensive advertising versus typical advertising methods such as commercials and print ads.
Mary Kay has stayed true to its company’s statement in “enriching women’s lives” through supporting women who needed confidence and providing opportunities for enriching lives through financial opportunities to build their own businesses. The organization will continue this philosophy in the future. Future growth is possible by focusing on men’s skin care needs and developing a stronger male consumer base. Mary Kay’s direct selling approach allows for the organization to keep costs minimal by not hosting retail locations and gives the consultants’ incentives that allow growth in the local area.
A few conflicts do arise from the current advertising strategy of Mary Kay. As discussed above, the company needs to look for other avenues for sales rather repeat business. Expanding the consumer base to add more male customers is one way to assist in this process. The marketing and advertising departments of Mary Kay should be aware and concentrating on how to expand their sales base.
As a successful cosmetics company, Mary Kay brings reasonably priced skin care and cosmetics to women all over the world. The typical consumer is a women between the age of 25 to 55 years old. While Mary Kay does not focus on any certain demographic or income status, women are more likely to purchase this product line. Expansion opportunities should focus on creating larger male skin care and other product lines.
Business Dictionary. (2010). Market Segmentation. Retrieved June 14, 2014,
from Business Dictionary: www.businessdictionary.com/definition/market-segmentation.html Mangement Study Guide. (2013). Need for market segmentation-why market segmentation. Retrieved June 14, 2014, from Management Study Guide: http://managmentstudyguide.com/need-for-market-segmentation.html Mary Kay Inc. (Unknown). Remembering her life. Retrieved June 14, 2014, from Mary Kay Tribute: http://www.marykaytribute.com/HerLife.aspx Summerer, L. (2014, June 15). Senior District Sales Consultant. (A. Escobar, Interviewer) Aurora, Colorado. Retrieved June 15, 2014 UK Essays. (2013, November). The marketing strategies of Mary Kay Cosmetics business essay. Retrieved June 14, 2014, from UK essays: http://ukessays.com/essays/business/the-marketing-strategies-of-mary-kay-cosmetics-business-essay.php?cref=1