The Disadvantages of Mixed Markets

No consumer market is homogeneous.
No consumer market is homogeneous. (Image: Ryan McVay/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Marketers are faced with all sorts of nuances that must be addressed as they develop marketing plans for a brand. The character of the "market" itself is one that must be understood and taken into consideration. However “market” may be defined – a geographic location or consumer group – having a mixed character to the makeup of the market is rarely advantageous. Mixed means different and different in marketing means extra attention, extra effort and extra money.

Mixed Geographic Markets

Many companies do some part of their business in different geographical areas of the country. Depending on how diverse the geographical makeup of the company’s markets is, there may be operational issues that arise that require extra money and effort to manage. Small geographic areas can often be handled adequately by one or two salespeople. However, one or two salespeople can quickly become overwhelmed with a territory consisting of geographically mixed markets that span several states or even regions. Worker burnout and diminished client service and support are only two of the disadvantages. Extra money and additional operational personnel may be needed by the company for a dedicated travel or fleet department to facilitate far-flung market coverage.

Mixed Consumer Market

Marketers are rarely blessed with a homogeneous consumer market. Mixed is the norm, so in an effort to be efficient, marketers direct their efforts and budgets at reaching the largest demographically-defined group as its target consumer. Difficulties can arise when, even using a broad definer like age, the marketer is confronted with viable groups within that definition. For example, computers were once thought to be used primarily by younger consumers; however, older adults are one of the fastest-growing users of online social networking. A marketer of a new computer might develop messaging directed to an 18-25-year-old target only to find out the 50-64-year-old group is as viable. The marketer may need to spend additional funds and create different messaging to appeal to its mixed consumer market.

Mixed Cultures

The growth of multicultural consumer groups like Hispanics and Asians has created a new level of responsive need in marketing for many products. Many ethnic groups hold onto traditional culture and language, creating the challenge of addressing mixed cultural markets when executing a marketing program. The company may need to call in ethnic marketing specialists. This is an additional expense that otherwise might not be required if the consumer group was homogeneous. Without the help of experts, the brand message might fail to communicate adequately, or even worse, offend the group by some innocent oversight or cultural insensitivity that could prove costly.

Mixed Performance Results

We often hear about mixed results in industry. The problem here is that performance trends point in two or more directions. The financial markets are an example of an industry where performance indicators are frequently mixed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average might be showing positive gains, while the NASDAQ does not. Or the Tokyo index is down but the EU index is up. These types of mixed performance results create situations of investor uncertainty. While financial markets never operate in ways that even astute investors can predict outcomes, mixed signals in the marketplace only heighten the uncertainty in the predictability of future outcomes.

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