Category: Product Marketing

Marketing

9 Product Category Marketing Examples to Inspire Your Own

Stores and websites aren’t a mishmash of products with no discernible organization for a reason. People want a sense of direction and a positive customer experience, even when they are “just browsing.” They also want to know they are in good hands when it comes to the product category they’re exploring — whether that’s kitchen tools, breakfast cereals, or winter coats.

Product category marketing helps your brand stand out among related items, so your company’s products wind up in the shopping cart — whether real or virtual.

What is a product category?

A product category is “a particular group of related products,” according to the Cambridge Dictionary.

Your distinct offerings and customer personas should guide the organization and grouping of your product categories.

For example, REI Co-Op offers a wide range of outdoor gear. To guide customers, they split their products into interest-based categories, such as running, climbing, and snow sports. For fashion retailers, it makes more sense to organize categories by product type, such as shoes, shirts, and pants.

Product category marketing amplifies why a company is the best choice within that group of products. Why should customers opt for your offering rather than your direct competitors?

Gaining brand recognition and appreciation across a product category means greater returns for your marketing efforts. When consumers have positive experiences with a specific product category it also builds brand trust, which often expands to other categories through the halo effect.

Product categories are sometimes confused with product classification. Both are organizational strategies and both help guide marketing decisions, but classifications are much broader (think convenience goods, shopping goods, and specialty goods).

Let’s take a look at nine product category marketing examples to inspire your own.

9 Product Category Marketing Examples

1. Fenty Beauty

Product category: High-end foundation makeup

Admittedly, it helps to have singer and business powerhouse Rihanna at the helm. But Fenty Beauty innovated the idea of foundation makeup “for all,” and its commitment to inclusivity made the brand an instant hit.

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Beyond foundation, the Fenty Beauty Face products include bronzer, highlighter, powder, and concealer in shades that work for everyone. The launch was an industry transformer, with established brands expanding their foundation color lineup in response.

The marketing for Fenty Beauty Face products zooms in on the wide palette of available colors, and features models and influencers across the shade spectrum.

2. Orvis

Product category: Dog beds

This Vermont-based retailer has been a big name in fly-fishing and outdoor gear since 1856. But they’ve also carved out a product niche with dog gear — and dog beds in particular. The brand draws people who want comfortable dog beds for their furry pals in styles that enhance their home decor.

 
 
 

 
 
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A post shared by The Orvis Company (@orvis)

The marketing images of dogs sleeping or lounging on Orvis beds is enough to inspire a nap. They’ve made their site a resource for dog health and behavior topics. And their social feeds are chock full of irresistible images and videos of dogs, including puppies in a hammock (!).

3. Ikea

Product category: Bedding

Putting together their furniture may be a tough task, but at least Ikea supports your relaxation too. The marketing of their bedding shows off playful sheets and prints for the kids and a mix of bold designs and neutrals for adults. The bed linens product category is grouped under ‘home textiles’ together with curtains, quilts, pillows, and towels.

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A playful Ikea ad campaign in the UK even featured bottled bedding and pillows, connecting the dots between a restful night’s sleep and health. In the current pandemic, the company marketed the idea that comfortable bedding was essential — especially when your bed is doubling as your office.

4. Swarovski

Product category: Jewelry

For more than a century, Swarovski has put the sparkle in gowns, tiaras, jewelry, and decorative sculptures. For their jewelry product category, Swarovski puts luxury within reach with a mix of modern and classic crystal necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and watches.

 
 
 

 
 
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A post shared by SWAROVSKI (@swarovski)

They sustain brand awareness with seasonal collections, collaborations with designers and celebrities, such as Karl Lagerfield and Penelope Cruz, and pop culture-inspired releases. This fall, their #SparkDelight social media campaign featured influencers sharing tips for finding joy in the little things since big events were off the social calendar.

5. Target

Product category: Grocery essentials

Target is known for its positioning across product categories, including affordable fashion, electronics, and cleaning supplies. Though they’re grocery section is smaller than most supermarkets, they cover all of the ‘must-haves’ on any shopping list — from milk to salads to pasta.

 
 
 

 
 
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A post shared by Target (@target)

In 2019, Target added its own brand of grocery essentials with their Good & Gather line, which includes frozen berries, cereals, snack foods, and eggs. Their Instagram Stories showcase easy snack and meal ideas, and feature foodie influencers like TikTok and Instagram sensations Tabitha Browne and Lisa Lin.

6. Dove

Product category: Skin care

Launched in 2004, Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign was far ahead of other brands in promoting body positivity and self-acceptance. Their ad campaigns for body lotions and soap have long featured women with a wide variety of body types and skin colors.

Rolls, wrinkles, cellulite, and stretch marks are all on proud and beautiful display across their social channels. Today, their skin care brand identity is equated with self-confidence, and Dove body lotions and soaps are frequent flyers on ‘best of’ lists for affordable skin care.

7. Michaels

Product category: Holiday and seasonal decor

The company known for DIY is also a go-to spot for holiday and seasonal decorating. Michaels stores transform every month or two with festive decor for spring, summer, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, July Fourth, Mardi Gras, and Pride Month.

Their social media and weekly ads herald each season with ready made decorations galore.

8. Patagonia

Product category: Eco-friendly outerwear

Patagonia’s tagline is “We’re in business to save our home planet” and the company’s marketing efforts lead with their commitment to sustainability across product lines. Their website urges consumers to “Buy Less” and prominently features a section of “Used Gear.”

When you visit their Facebook or Instagram pages, you have to hunt a bit to find posts highlighting particular products. Instead, the feeds focus on pressing issues, such as environmental stewardship and fair labor practices.

 
 
 

 
 
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A post shared by Patagonia (@patagonia)

When you do need to purchase a new (or used) piece of outerwear, consumers know they are supporting a company actively minimizing their negative impacts.

9. Grove Collaborative

Product category: Green household cleaning supplies

Grove Collaborative is another company focused on sustainability. Their goal is to make it simple and affordable for people to choose green household products that are non-toxic, sustainable, and cruelty free.

The company offers eco-friendly cleaning supplies, including concentrated soap and detergent refills and reusable glass bottles, which they send out in recurring monthly shipments.

Their marketing reflects their minimalist ethos, with images of their cleaning products at the ready in pristine kitchens and bathrooms. Grove uses Instagram Stories to attract new customers with product images, cleaning tips, and even humorous videos.

 
 
 

 
 
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A post shared by Grove Collaborative (@grovecollaborative)

The company also shares ideas for holiday meals and decorating, and releases a monthly ‘Sustainability Snapshot’ of their environmental impact, such as the number of single-use plastic bottles they keep out of land-fills.

Each of these brands has clarified where their products fit in larger retail categories. This helps them market their distinct value to target customers and, ultimately, earn a greater market share within these product categories.

Marketing

The Marketer’s Guide to Segmentation, Targeting, & Positioning

I once heard a new business owner define their target market as … wait for it … “everyone”.

*cringe*

While it’s nice to believe that everyone would be interested in purchasing your product or service, it’s not wise to define your target market as such.

Not only does this definition (or lack thereof) create way more work for you; it also does a disservice to your actual target market — by over-widening your scope, you fail to inform and educate your audience about how your product or service can improve their lives.

This is where segmentation, targeting, and positioning come into play. We developed this guide to help you understand how and why you should invest time into better understanding your audience and targeting your marketing. Let’s dive in.

At its core, STP helps you to better target your marketing messages and better serve your customer base.

The model can also reveal niche markets, uncover new customer or market opportunities, and, ultimately, make your marketing efforts more efficient and cost-effective.

STP allows you to take a large, anonymous audience and define how your different products (or different components of the same product) relate to specific consumer segments within that larger audience — thus understanding how to position your product(s) and messaging to grab the attention of each segment.

Let’s unpack each part of the segmentation-targeting-positioning model.

1. Segmentation

Segmentation refers to the process of dividing your audience into smaller groups based on certain characteristics. This process allows you to group your individual audience members into similar groups so you can better communicate your products, features, and benefits that may be most relevant to them.

You can segment your audience based on one or more of these criteria:

  • Demographics, which typically answer the question of who your buyer is (e.g. age, gender, education, location, and profession)
  • Psychographics, which answer the question of why your buyer buys (e.g. priorities, personality traits, and beliefs and values)
  • Lifestyle traits, such as hobbies, entertainment preferences, and non-work activities
  • Behavior, such as brand loyalty, channel preferences, and other shopping habits

Segmentation may sound a little familiar to another process we often discuss here on the HubSpot blog — creating buyer personas. The two are very similar as they help you drill down the most important factors in your target audience.

But where buyer personas help you create a handful customer profiles that represent your broader audience, segmentation allows you to split your audience into countless segments, each of which you can uniquely target.

For example, let’s say Paws & Tails is a Chicago pet-sitting company that offers pet-sitting, dog walking, and boarding services. Given the vast number of pet owners in the city, they need to segment their audience into smaller groups to better understand how to position their services.

Based on their research and current customer base, they split their audience into three main segments:

  1. Segment A is made up of high-income pet owners who work often and need daytime dog walking and pet pop-in visits
  2. Segment B is made up of middle-class individuals and families who travel and need overnight boarding or pet-sitting services
  3. Segment C is made up of older pet owners and retirees who need help caring for their pets

2. Targeting

With your audience segments in hand, it’s time to move on to the targeting phase. First, however, you must decide which segments are worth targeting with your marketing. To decipher this, ask yourself some questions about each segment:

  • Is this segment composed of enough potential customers to justify targeting? Would it yield enough profits if the segment were to convert?
  • Is it measurably different from the other segments?
  • Is it accessible by all members of Marketing and Sales?
  • Is your company equipped and able to serve the segment? Are there any physical, legal, social, or technological barriers that could prevent that?

Choosing what segments to target is a strategic decision. Thankfully, certain strategic planning models like the PESTLE analysis can help you better understand the viability of each segment.

It takes a lot of work to successfully target a segment of your audience. Whether you’ve identified two segments or ten, don’t feel the need to target more than one segment at once. Plus — targeting one at a time will help you better position your marketing for each specific segment much better.

Following our example from before, Paws & Tails conducts research to better understand its Chicago audience. Paws & Tails finds that Segment A makes up 60% of its market size, Segment B makes up 30%, and Segment C makes up 10%. Moreover, Segment A has a higher average income and is willing to pay more for pet-sitting and walking services. Because of this, they choose to focus on Segment A.

3. Positioning

At this point, you should understand the demographics, psychographics, motivations, and pain points of the segment(s) you’ve chosen to target, which can provide a place to start when it comes to positioning your product or service.

First, take a step back and examine your product or service through the perspective of your chosen segment. If you were in their shoes, why would you choose your product over a competitor’s? What features or benefits are most relevant to you, based on the motivations and pain points you’ve identified?

This information is important to defining your brand positioning and understanding how it stacks up next to your competitors. One way to understand where you, well, stand is by building a positioning map, which is “the visual plotting of specific brands against axes, where each axis represents an attribute that is known to drive brand selection.”

The segment you choose to target should dictate what two attributes you plot on your positioning map. For example, let’s say Paws & Tails decides Segment A selects pet-sitting brands based on two attributes: service area and reliability. Here’s what a brand positioning map (with fictitious brands) may look like.

By understanding 1) what the target segment deems most important for brand selection and 2) where its competitors succeed (and fall short), Paws & Tails is able to identify an open market opportunity and position its marketing to best fit the needs and goals of its audience.

What is segmentation, targeting, and positioning in marketing?

The STP model is a priceless addition to any marketing strategy, regardless of your industry, product, or audience. It prioritizes efficient and effective marketing and ensures you’re delivering only the most relevant, targeted messaging across the board.

It also plays an important role in developing other strategies, such as your buyer personas, customer lifecycle stages, and core brand proposition.

segmentation targeting and positioning

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By leading with a consumer-centric approach like STP, you can be sure that every inch of your marketing is relevant to your audience — thus, increasing the likelihood that they convert, purchase, and become lifelong customers.

Examples of Great Market Segmentation and Positioning

Brands are segmenting, targeting, and positioning their audiences and marketing constantly, oftentimes without us (consumers) even noticing. Ever seen a brand or product and thought “Huh, that’s perfect for me” or “Wow, right place at the right time”? Yeah … you’ve been subject to the STP model.

Let’s review a few examples of great marketing segmentation and positioning.

1. Panera Bread

With countless fast casual restaurants on the map, it’s hard to decide where to eat when you’re in the mood for a quick meal, But, for some reason, Panera Bread always comes to mind (at least for me).

Panera has successfully cornered the “health-conscious” and “climate-conscious” segment of the fast casual dining industry. Is Panera’s food so different from other fast casual options? Not entirely.

But by branding themselves with the perspective that “we believe that good food, food you can feel good about, can bring out the best in all of us”, Panera remains top-of-mind as a place to get high-quality food, fast.

2. AllBirds

Like dining opinions, there are so many shoe brands on the market. But AllBirds didn’t let that stop it from carving out a new niche in a busy space full of comfortable, active shoe options.

How did AllBirds position itself to set itself apart from the competition? By elevating it’s eco-consciousness and placing that front and center in its marketing. According to the AllBirds website, the brand “crafts with planet-friendly natural materials, like merino wool and eucalyptus trees, because they’re our best chance for a sustainable future.”

At first glance, AllBirds shoes don’t look too terribly different from other running or walking shoes. However, its audience segment that cares about sustainability and earth-conscious products knows the difference.

3. Billie

No longer can businesses simply segment their audiences by “men” and women” — the individuals within each broad gender group vary too much, and razor brand Billie took note of this.

In an effort to extinguish the “pink tax,” Billie markets cost-friendly razors and associated products. Moreover, they work to normalize body hair and other forgotten or shamed parts of women’s bodies.

Through this positioning, Billie is able to set their products apart from competitors and create a strong, positive community around their brand.

4. Hinge

The world of online dating is a busy, strange place. From Tinder to FarmersOnly.com, there seems to be a place for everyone to meet, well, anyone. Hinge came on the scene only a handful of years ago, yet it has skyrocketed to the top of the list of the most popular and reliable dating app.

Time and time again, I’ve heard that Hinge is a favorite because it works — meaning it helps people meet people and make real relationships. You wouldn’t think a dating app would position themselves to eventually be unnecessary, but that’s exactly what Hinge has done. In fact, it’s mission statement is “we built an app that’s designed to be deleted.”

By putting the needs and desires of its audience front and center, Hinge has created a more trustworthy, in-demand online dating experience and set itself apart from its competitors.

The segmentation-targeting-positioning model is designed to help you better target your marketing messages and better serve your customer base. It’s a win-win for you and your customers!

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