Here a firm attempts to serve all customer groups with all of the products they might need. Only very large firms can undertake a full market coverage strategy. Examples include IBM (computer market), General Motors (vehicle market), and Coca-Cola (drink market). Large firms can cover a whole market in two broad ways: through undifferentiated marketing or differentiated marketing.
In undifferentiated marketing, the firm ignores market-segment differences and goes after the whole market with one market offer. Focusing on a basic buyer need, it designs a product and a marketing program that will appeal to the broadest number of buyers. To reach the market, the firm uses mass distribution backed by mass advertising to create a superior product image in people's minds. The narrow product line keeps down costs of research and development, production, inventory, transportation, marketing research, advertising, and product management; the undifferentiated advertising program keeps down advertising costs. Presumably, the company can turn its lower costs into lower prices to win the price-sensitive segment of the market.
In differentiated marketing, the firm operates in several market segments and designs different programs for each segment. General Motors does this with its various vehicle brands and models; Intel does this with chips and programs for consumer, business, small business, networking, digital imaging, and video markets.32 Differentiated marketing typically creates more total sales than does undifferentiated marketing. However, the need for different products and marketing programs also increases the firm's costs for product modification, manufacturing, administration, inventory, and promotion.
Because differentiated marketing leads to both higher sales and higher costs, we cannot generalize regarding this strategy's profitability. Still, companies should be cautious about oversegmenting their market. If this happens, they may want to use coun-
tersegmentation to broaden their customer base. Smith Kline Beecham introduced Aquafresh toothpaste to attract three benefit segments simultaneously: those seeking fresh breath, whiter teeth, and cavity protection. Next, the company moved deeper into countersegmentation by launching flavored toothpastes for children, toothpaste for people with sensitive teeth, and other toothpaste products.
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