Define the major steps in designing a Customer-driven Market Strategy, market segmentation, targeting, differentiation and positions.


CSS Solved Business Administration 2021 Past Papers | Define the major steps in designing a Customer-driven Market Strategy, market segmentation, targeting, differentiation and positions.

The following question is attempted by Miss Nimra Masood, the top scorer in CSS Business Administration papers. Moreover, the answer is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. This solved past paper question is uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.

Topic Breakdown

Topic: Placement Strategy
Subject: Marketing

Marketing is one important aspect of business activity. Unless a product or service is promoted, people remain unaware. In the CSS paper on Business Administration, marketing is a compulsory portion. It should be prepared comprehensively with relevant examples to score good marks.


Marketing is divided into four broad areas, including Product, Placement, Pricing and Promotion. All four are crucial in developing a successful marketing strategy. The topic of marketing strategy falls under the umbrella of placement. In this area, the company needs to decide on the customer segment to be targeted and the branding for the product. Unless this area is complete, companies do not and should not move towards the pricing strategy.

What is Marketing Strategy?

Marketing strategy is the foundation around, which the whole marketing policy is built. A comprehensive marketing policy illustrates the target customer, it’s needs, location and ways to reach it. In addition, it also discusses the psychological aspect of customer positioning. Hence in order to sell a product successfully, companies need a multi-dimensional and diversified strategy to create customer value and achieve profitable customer relationships.

Picture by Miss Nimra Masood

Steps in Customer-Driven Marketing Strategy:

1- Market Segmentation:

The first step in devising a marketing strategy is market segmentation; meaning dividing customers into different groups having the same wants and desires. Once grouped together, this segment reacts in a similar way to the marketing effort. Market segmentation can be done on the following basis

  • Geographic Segmentation:
    Dividing the customers according to their geographic locations, such as nations, cities and neighbourhoods. For example, multinational like MacDonald’s differentiates customers according to their locality.
  • Demographic Segmentation:
    Another area of segmentation is based on demographics such as gender, age, income, occupation and family size, to name a few. For example, cosmetic products are focused mostly towards the young female segment of society.
  • Psychographic Segmentation:
    These segments are classified on the basis of lifestyle, social class or personality characteristics. For example, brands like Louis Vuitton focus on the elite class of the world.
  • Behavioural Segmentation:
    This segmentation is done on the basis of customer knowledge, uses and responses to a product. For example, products like air conditioners are seasonal, and their sale varies accordingly. Similarly, there are some products fixed for certain events.

2- Target Segmentation:

The next phase in devising a marketing strategy is to analyze all the segments and decide, which segment to cater to. For most companies, it is impossible to cater for all segments; therefore, one or more particular segments are targeted, which could be served best.  There are three different types of target segmentation

  • Mass Marketing:
    It is also known as undifferentiated marketing, in, which the company goes after the whole market instead of targeting a particular segment. For example, everyone needs products like tea, soap and food items.
  • Differentiated Marketing:
    A marketing strategy that focuses to cater many different segments with separate offers for each.
  • Concentrated Marketing:
    Also known as niche marketing. It focuses on gaining a large chunk out of one market segment. For example, KFC is a brand that focuses on the niche of chicken lovers.

3- Positioning:

In this phase, the focus is to build a clear, concise and distinct concept of the product as compared to competitors in the minds of customers. This is the most crucial and defining phase in the whole marketing strategy. If the whole image of a product or service is distorted in the customer’s mind that it is next to impossible to be successful.  In order to ensure successful positioning, companies develop positioning statements. Once this statement is clearly built, the company must take every action possible to deliver and communicate positioning to its target market. The value proposition is a mix of offerings based on, which the product is positioned. It is the last step in the positioning phase of the marketing strategy.

4- Differentiation:

The last step in formulating a marketing strategy is differentiation, meaning distancing the product from the competitors. Doing this not only helps in branding but also in penetrating the market quickly. For this, the company needs to build profitable relationships by understanding customer needs. This results in a competitive advantage.

  • Competitive Advantage:
    Differentiating from the competitor by offering greater customer value. It can be done in many ways, either by offering lower prices or providing greater benefits to justify the pricing. Once competitive advantage is achieved, it becomes almost impossible to penetrate the company’s customer base.
  • Unique Selling Proposition:
    It is the branding that how a company’s product is better than that of its competitors. While creating the USP company needs to account for the following characteristics: important, superior, communicable, not easily copied, profitable and distinctive. If any of these characteristics is missed, the unique selling proposition does not serve the purpose.


Without awareness, a product cannot be successful. It is for this purpose that the companies formulate a comprehensive marketing strategy. Marketing strategy is declassified into four steps: market segmentation, target market, positioning and differentiation. Every step is crucial in its own way, and unless one step is complete next phase cannot be initiated. Extreme care and knowledge are required to put forward a comprehensive marketing strategy.

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