1. There is no doubt that marketing is a great part of the operations of any business. Indeed, marketing is rapidly becoming a priority for many companies in the modern world. In this regard, all businesses are coming up with more innovative ways of achieving their marketing objectives. Market segmentation is one of the most reliable marketing strategies, with social class being very useful in segmenting markets. Essentially, every society has a defined structure based on social class. In this respect, most societies are composed of the upper class, the middle class, and the lower class. However, some scientists have come up with different social structures. Studies have shown that social class influences an individual’s lifestyle, a factor that further informs about his/her tastes and preferences relating to certain products and brands. For instance, when considering concerts, games, social events, and other cultural activities, social class plays a significant role in determining whether one will engage in the same. In addition, the rich will have several social interaction aspects as a result of their social position within the structure. As much as social class is an important concept in market segmentation, a combination of various market segmentation criteria will be helpful in identifying a target market (Lancaster & Reynolds, 2005).
2. All the methods used in market segmentation have their individual strengths and weaknesses. Indeed, experts recommend that marketers use a combination of several criteria. It will enable them to come up with realistic marketing objectives.
Social class has a number of strengths as a method of segmenting different markets. First, secondary data are readily available from government sources. For this reason, marketers will not have to collect the data again. Second, social class can be used in mature markets where the social structure is clearly defined. In such cases, marketers will use social classes to determine how to increase consumption among different groups of people. Since social class is a good indicator of the purchasing behaviours of different groups, marketers will know how to handle non-users and medium users or whether to switch their target market. Studies indicate that there is a strong correlation between social class and the lifestyles of individuals within the same social level. This link shows that social class is useful for segmenting markets.
On the other hand, when used for market segmentation, social class has several weaknesses. First, it may not be easy to determine why customers are attracted to and willing to buy a particular product. As such, marketers will find it difficult to establish whether the commodity is purchased to satisfy needs or lifestyle demands. Second, marketers will require detailed information when using social class for market segmentation. The details may demand much input and time. Third, many scientists have been unable to define the different social classes that make up the social structure of any society. Lastly, this method is based on the assumption that members of the same social class will have the same patterns and attitudes when it comes to purchasing and consuming various products (Dibb & Simkin, 2008).
3. Social class cannot be applied to all products or brands. The strong correlation between social class and lifestyle is an indicator that this method is more appropriate for segmenting markets when considering lifestyle products that impact the image of an individual. For instance, an upper middle class family is likely to spend more on expensive products such as clothes, furniture and a house in a prestigious location. A middle class family will spend money on decent but less expensive products. Meanwhile, working class families are more likely to spend more on essential commodities and less on luxuries (Sumathi & Saravanavel, 2003).