Insight Day (c) Jake Goretzki 2009Sarah King writes:

At The Futures Company we do a lot of segmentation work, for organisations trying to get really new insight into their audiences – who they are, how they behave, their attitudes and values. Segmentation helps our clients to drive genuine customer orientation across their businesses, with a shared perception of customers resulting in far more relevant offers. We shared some of our current thinking on how to get the most out of any segmentation project at a breakfast briefing for clients earlier this week.

Here are some tips from the presentation:

  1. Understand what you’ve already got – companies have plenty of data already, and it’s almost always more cost-effective to build on this. Add it to our insight and it can give you a real head start.
  2. Make sure you know what business question you’re trying to answer with the segmentation.
  3. Plan how you’re going to implement the segmentation before you begin – make sure you have a clear view of the end from the starting line and design your segmentation accordingly.
  4. If it’s your first time or there is a lot of change in your category, consider whether you need some exploratory qualitative research to help you understand how people divide and what questions you need to ask in your survey
  5. Remember that the segmentation work sits inside the business, which needs to be engaged in the process – before, during and afterwards. Bear in mind that you will have to resource embedding it in the business – both socially and in your daily business processes. You might need to access budgets other than the Market Research one.
  6. Avoid “the big reveal”. Get senior sponsorship for your project and take people along with you as you go, rather than trying to surprise them with the brilliance of the insight at the end. Less dramatic, more productive!
  7. Keep the segmentation story as simple as you can, without compromising the quality of the insight or the data. It makes a big difference if people in the business can keep the segmentation in their heads.
  8. Choose names for the segments which show respect for your customers and don’t caricature them. As the segmentation gets used by the business, the names will end up framing the way you think about customers.

It’s also worth looking at the post about segmentation in the public sector, based on an IIPS event held in the spring.

The cartoon is by Jake Goretzki.

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