This product-centric view of market segments has been long discarded as being inadequate for very logical and plausible reasons. For any given product or service, there are usually at least four or five different segments of prospective customers that may utilize that product to solve a particular problem or satisfy a specific need. Each one of these segments will have different needs and values. But companies with a product-centric view cannot even sight these differences not to approach the issue of comprehending them and using them to advantage in their marketing plans. They end up treating the various segments with a one-size-fits-all, generic solution. This fixated view is virtually a chink in the armor which competitors are waiting to pounce upon. In fact such an approach works to leave entry gates to the various segments wide open to the competitor. This competitor quietly enters in, reads the market segments and positions his products attributes and qualities with requisite differentiation to make up a most relevant product bundle to the most valuable segment and skim it merrily. Therefore it is a prudent marketing stance to examine in depth not only one's own products and services but also the market of users for such products and services.
Who buys our products, for what reasons and puts them to what uses are three critical questions that must be asked to broaden marketing thought away from generic fixation. Market segmentation is an oft used marketing tool just to do this. This paper has chosen the airline travel as a generic service and Singapore Airlines (SIA) as the business which offers such a service.SIA consciously recognized a new market segment and strategically aligned its marketing plan to benefit from this segment. The events triggering recognition of new market segment are also covered in the following paragraphs.
Information on Singapore Airlines (SIA)
SIA is considered by those in the airline industry, its travelers as well as its competitors, as one of the very best airlines in the world. In the time period to which this marketing event belongs, SIA was arguably Singapore's and Asia's best-known company, and rated consistently as Asia's "most admired company" (Asian Business, 1997). It is reinforced by the fact that it has won numerous industry awards. Nast Traveller magazine celebrating the tenth anniversary of the readers' choice awards, presented it's first-ever Hall of Fame awards to four individuals one of them being the CEO of SIA for" a decade of outstanding leadership and for transforming the standards of in-flight service in the 1980s" (Straits Times, 1997). In 1997 SIA also won The World's Best Airline for the fourth year running in the Zagat Airline Survey. SIA has had a continuous profit track record since it took to the skies more than 25 years ago, a track record almost unheard of in the brutally cyclical airline industry (Asian Business Review, 1996). Its beaming, lithe flight stewardess, outfitted in tight batik sarong kebaya marketed as the Singapore Girl, is a globally popular international service icon. It not only serves as an effective unique selling proposition for the airlines but has also earned substantial legacy differentiation leverage over similar icons of