forms of laundry detergent shoppers encounter. Detergents are differentiated not only on format
(powder versus liquid), additives (with fabric softener, with bleach, etc.), or cleaning power
(tough on dirt, gentle, etc.), they also are differentiated on smaller and smaller distinctions, like
scent. While the fresh scent of lavender may be a distinct attribute, it may not motivate
purchase. So, as the differentiation between products became less significant, more advertising
was focused on differentiating consumers rather than products.
Market segmentation. Another advancement during the 20th century was the concept of
market segmentation. Rather than market a single product to a broad audience, advertisers began
focusing on how a brand could uniquely satisfy the needs of a specific group of consumers.
Consumer needs vary by lifestyle, attitudes, or even aptitudes. An urban teenager obviously has
different wants and needs than a suburban soccer mom, so they likely use different criteria when
evaluating cell phones, athletic shoes, and fast food. Depending upon the advertiser’s intended
audience, its “target market,” the advertising message may promise different benefits or even use
different language, graphics, and media.
As media became more fragmented, for example going from the three or four television
stations in the 1960s to hundreds just four decades later, targeting a message to a specific market
segment became easier. And the emergence of “addressable media” such as direct mail and
Internet marketing made “narrowcasting” – targeting a narrow audience – an increasingly
efficient and effective way to target specific groups. Then, effectively combining segmentation
with the USP approach, in the 1970s Al Ries and Jack Trout introduced the concept of
Positioning. The idea here is to place the product in a specific context, or position, in the
consumer’s mind. For example, rather than compare gas mileage or acceleration, Volvo