Slab Segments

Cheap tables are a’plenty.

Being a reformed gizmo glutton, I still receive a number of consumer electronics communiqués … hourly.  Most are for products I have no intention of buying, especially television sets that could cover my living room wall and still provide nothing considered entertaining.  Yet an occasional marketing lesson appears between engorged LED boob boxes and pocket cameras with more pixel resolution than the televisions.

Today it was cheap tablet computers, or what I prefer to call slabs.

cheep-tabletBelow those afore mentioned money wasters were a selection of slabs ranging from $129 to $320, and available with seven to ten inch screens.  This price range is a fair bit below the lowest end of the iPad 2 product line and the poorly marketed Xoom.  These slabs were not insufficient, sporting the same base memory, Wi-Fi and all the functionality of last year’s Android OS.  For customers lacking coolness and not in search of the same, an inexpensive alternative to image-enhancing technology will do quite well.

This is Darwinistic market segmentation in action.

Marketers need to segment, either to find a niche which they can dominate or to find the most efficient path to dominating an entire market.  Sometimes markets start to segment themselves.  In this example, vendors were apparently slashing prices on last year’s model of Android pads in order to prepare for the newer and more capable edition of Android. By doing so they accelerated mass adoption of a newish technology.

In all consumer markets and most B2B ones as well, there are strata for price and functionality combinations.  A company that dominates an entire market does so by altering their offering to meet the mix appropriate to each segment.  No single vendor can do that, which is why Apple prefers to create consumer techno-lust, charge higher prices and make fatter margins.  Google is taking the opposite approach and providing the foundation for 1,000 other companies to fill every market segment imaginable … including the low end.

This strategy leads to ubiquity, which leads to mass familiarity, which leads to becoming the de facto choice.

Given choices, market segments will begin to define themselves.  Proactive marketers can define and conquer segments, but doing so is a long process, expensive and invites competition.  Facilitating other companies to identify and exploit segments is much simpler, vastly less expensive, and rapidly achieves the goal of market domination.


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