The concept of dividing a mass market into homogeneous segments and targeting one or more with a distinct product offering and unique marketing communication is a fundamental precept of marketing theory. Market segmentation recognizes that different customer groups have different wants and needs that justify the development and offering of different products and services. The process of segmentation theoretically results in a much better understanding of users' needs, their decision criteria, and their approaches. Although much of the theory of market segmentation is appreciated and understood by sport marketers, it remains one of the more difficult marketing concepts to turn into profitable reality.
Consumer segmentation can help the sport marketer in the following areas. First, it allows an analysis of the marketplace, including a knowledge of competitors as well as how and why customers buy. Second, it can contribute to the strategic management of an organization in that it allows marketers to make intelligent choices about the fit between their company and the products and needs of each segment (Bonoma & Shapiro, 1983). "Those segments that fit the organization's capabilities are chosen for penetration. Those segments that do not suit the company's capabilities are left for others to serve" (Bonoma & Shapiro, 1983, p. 2). Third, market segmentation provides a key to improving the sport organization's competitive position. Choosing market segments that match the strengths of the sport business allows the organization to further develop its competitive advantage and fend off attacks from competitors
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