There was an interesting article in Business Week a couple of weeks ago about Best Buy taking their marketing "micro".  It describes how Best Buy have moved away from requiring their stores to focus purely on corporate identified market segments such as "soccer moms" and "home theater geeks", and allowing each store to be flexible in targeting segments which are strong in their local community - or in the words of the article, they are encouraging their stores to "go off script".  One example was from Baytown, Texas:

Eastern European workers from cargo ships or oil tankers, temporarily docked at Baytown's busy port, are spending their precious shore hours scouring the store's aisles. They take a 15-minute cab or shuttle ride to stock up on iPods and Apple laptops priced cheaper than back home. To speed their shopping, the Baytown Best Buy has moved the iPods from the back corner of the store to the front, paired them with overseas power converters, and simplified the signage. Since the changes were made over the holidays, cash register receipts for the boat workers have ballooned by 67%.

This technique is designed to allow Best Buy to leverage local ingenuity to compete more effectively in tough times.  Which is where this is an inspiring story for HR - just as Best Buy look for opportunity in their local consumer markets, so we should be looking for opportunity in our local talent markets.

Talent segmentation (just like market segmentation - but of the talent market, not the consumer market!) is a great competitive differentiator and a key technique in Aruspex's strategic workforce planning model - but it seems that many HR organizations are very slow to implement it.  Are you looking for labor market opportunities in your local areas to combat tight talent markets?  You should be!