The reports from Open Family Australia suggest that over 80% of their clients are in the scenario due to family conflicts and family abusing. These cultural aspects along with the diversity in ethnicities in the population of the homeless youth make it difficult for handling their related issues. The other risk of racism that may occur while treating a young child can be damaging to the company. On the other hand, Sedig et al. (2014) suggested that economic pressures among families lead to conflict and that in a way has an impact on the mental aspect of the child. This results in them leaving their homes to achieve security. The homelessness issue that the company deals with involves regular funding and economic pressures may not allow the business to function properly. Reports suggest that in 2012, the need for donations and funding made the company resolve in selling ribbons and key rings to accumulate enough finance to deal with daily operations (Melbournevictory.com.au, 2016). Being a private organisation, funding from government sources is a bit difficult to achieve and makes the caretaking operations difficult. Moreover, it can be assumed that political pressure and interventions through various taxes and rules can hurt the free operational services that the company aims to achieve.
These issues highlight the various pressures that companies must endure while undertaking business operations. The technological and nature issues have little impact since the dealings are mostly based on human interaction.
According to Veselinovic and Drobnjakovic (2015), market segmentation is an essential tool that allows a business to properly identify and segregate its business propositions so as to achieve both competitive and business advantage. In the case of Open Family Australia, their attempt to promote mobile youth outreach services to reach an audience base that ranges from 18 to 35 years needs to be assessed and if any changes are needed to increase or decrease the age range. The segmentation strategy that can be adopted by the company can include the segmentation bases of Demographics, Psychographic, Behavioural and Geographic.
As per Anderson and Xie (2014) geographical segmentation initiates the better chances of spreading and dividing the existing market into regions or other variables so that they can target the exact location with a more specific approach. In the case of Open Family Australia, their major areas of functioning include New South Wales and Victoria. Their mobile youth outreach service functions clearly in Melbourne and Sydney. They must expand business in Queensland as well keep the population factor in mind. The service also called as the Chatterbox is designed to meet and help youth in distress by travelling with resources on a bus. This mobility allows a wider audience reach that is good for business (Openfamily.com.au, 2016).
Coming to the second base of demographics segmentation, the age bracket of 18-35 years is logically the best age bracket that can be targeted by the company. However, as per survey by ABS, the proportion of people coming in the age bracket of 15-64 years is expected to decrease from 66.2% to 64.9% between 2015 to 2020 (Abs.gov.au, 2016). This figure suggests that the age segment that they have kept in mind should be reasserted and imagined. It can be assumed that tackling the age bracket of people in the 5-14 year bracket can also be a successful option. It should also be noted that the total male and female population of the age group 0-14 years comprises of 17.84% of the population. Thus keeping age groups as:
· 5-14 years
· 15-25 years
· 25-40 years can help the company reach out to around 72.35% of the total population of Australia (Indexmundi.com, 2016).
Travelling in the various locations using the service of mobile outreach, the company can easily evaluate the response from the homeless youth and make necessary adjustments regarding the various needs that they face.
Banker et al. (2015) argued that the behavioural pattern along with their preferences can allow easy understanding of areas that need focus and improvement from the company perspective.
Keeping in mind the age brackets that are to be targeted, the service must cater to understand the personality and lifestyle traits of the homeless youth. As per Alhaddi (2014), psychographic segmentation allows a clear understanding of the mindsets of people as it directly influences their actions and preferences.
Table 1: Four market segments for Open Family Australia
(Source: created by author)
According to Caiazza (2015), a target market is clearly achieved after careful segmentation, and it is the final step before any decision-making procedure can commence. In the context of the four segments discussed earlier, the geographical segmentation can be adopted by Open Family Australia for business. This can be advised because it automatically integrates the factors of demographic segmentation as well. Since the company already operates in New South Wales and Victoria, it already has business settled business in both states having a combined population of 8,873,720 people. They must keep both cities as their target markets, and it is suggested that they include Queensland as well. This decision must be made keeping the geographic factor in mind along with the demographics of the state which suggests that a population of 2,189,878 people is capable enough for expanding business opportunities (Geonames.org, 2016).
Keeping in mind the fact that all the three states are geographically connected closely regarding distance make the involvement of Queensland an important target market. Considering the fact that the growth trend for Queensland from 2011 showed that the dominant age groups were 25-29 years and population under the age of 15 (Profile.id.com.au, 2016). This information shows the range of youth population that the company can target.
The growing competition in New South Wales and Victoria makes it important to select a new location to broaden reach and viability of the service. According to Tsai et al. (2014), an already established market requires less marketing efforts as compared to a new market. It also gives a chance for venturing into the new business territory.
The new target market of Queensland provides a different opportunity for Open Family Australia to reach out to further homeless youth within the states of Australia. As per Anderson and Xie (2014), differentiation allows businesses to make themselves distinctive among the other rivals who are in a similar business mould. The five major factors of differentiation include product, image, service, people and channel. Among all these bases, the relevant base that can be used is the Service, Channel and Image. Ultimately the volunteers need explaining about the kind of service that the company will provide. The mobile service is a unique and easy way to reach out to the needy youth. Firstly, the cost of transportation will be minimal for the volunteers. Secondly, the promise of diligent service is essential since the business aims at aiding the needy youth. This brings us to the last base of the image of the company. According to Alhaddi (2014), volunteering for a noble cause is always a happy prospect that people are willing to undertake. In the case of the company, Open Family Australia has been one of the oldest and reputed companies and have been dealing in servicing the homeless for many years. This positive image can create the willingness to be a part of such a noble task. The services are of minimal effort and can be undertaken very easily; it also allows them to learn about the outside world and issues.
Figure 1: Perceptual Map for Open Family Australia
(Source: Created by Author)
The following study carefully suggests the various industry overview of the outreach services for homeless people in Australia. It significantly uses the case of Open Family Australia to outline its services and the various micro and macro environment such as demographic, economic, cultural, company, customers and competitors that influence operations. Accordingly, the market segmentation states that the use of age brackets other than 18-35 years if the company is to prosper. The target market of Queensland is suggested keeping the high range of youth population growth and the vast population. The service, channel and Image base is suggested to be most successful in positioning the service of mobile youth outreach. A perceptual map is used to illustrate the company’s position as well.
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