Smarter Segmentation Research – The Time is Now!

Filed Under: Quantitative Research, Segmentation


Paul Metz

Chief Executive Officer, C+R Team

Segmentation studies are usually big, complex, time-consuming and expensive.  And the insights should provide implications for significant impact on a company’s business and marketing strategy for years to come.  It’s important to do all research right, but this is especially true for segmentation studies.  Does your company put the right amount of priority, attention and resources behind your segmentation research?

Since C+R’s earliest days, we’ve conducted large amounts of segmentation research and consider ourselves experts.  In fact, one of C+R’s founding partners, Stephen Turner, was credited in the Journal of Advertising Research (March/April 1992) with being the “father” of occasion-based segmentation methodology!  Ever since, C+R has been a go-to provider for many companies across many sectors for segmentation research.

Over the years, we’ve adapted and innovated our approach to doing segmentation. And in just the past year, we’ve made a significant investment and advancement in how we do segmentation for Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) categories.  Are you ready to do smarter segmentation

We’ve dubbed our new approach, “360-Degree Segmentation,” and here’s how it’s done:

1. We start with behavior — purchase behavior, that is.  Using robust purchase data that has already been collected through receipt-capture, we examine the category of interest for obvious purchase patterns.  From this data, we create a set of behavioral segments that are meaningfully different in the way that consumers buy the category.  Then we dig deeper, using this segmentation framework as a lens, leveraging additional data that is available to us through the same consumer panel. 

The Outcome:  We accomplish a lot and learn a lot before we even begin to design a survey.

2. Before we jump to fielding a survey, our next step is often a phase of qualitative research. In most cases, we’re going to opt to do some online journaling of usage occasions to uncover decision drivers, motivations, benefits and barriers — all the dynamics at play across a variety of consumers in a variety of potential usage situations.  We often rely on inundation and deprivation exercises to push consumers to think deeper about the products they use.  

The Outcome:  A fresh, comprehensive view of consumers’ motives and the jobs they want the product category to perform.

3. Next, we field a survey that focuses on collecting attitudinal data from the same consumers for whom we already know their purchase behavior — the same panelists that we used for our first-step analysis.  And this is the key to our 360-Degree Segmentation approach:  we already know what consumers are buying, when, how much and from where.  We simply use the survey to add attitude measures: product category and brand perceptions, motivations, barriers, priorities and lifestyle characteristics. 

The Outcome:  A powerful dataset that includes accurate behaviors from consumers’ grocery receipts + attitudes from a survey that is not nearly as long as a typical segmentation might require.

4. In addition to the survey, we fuse a bunch of available data from Experian to develop an even more robust view of the consumer segments. 

The Outcome: A full-circle view of each consumer based on accurate purchase data, attitudinal data, lifestyle, psychographics and media behavior.  We analyze this multi-faceted data to uncover the factors that correlate and discriminate across our behavioral segments, to both explain the “why?” behind each segment’s behavior and to identify levers and opportunities to influence certain segments to buy more. 

We believe that this new approach to segmentation research represents a significant leap forward in the ability to provide both accurate and actionable segmentation.  We no longer need to rely on consumers to tell us what they buy with what frequency or in what amount (because who really accurately remembers this?) –  we can now leverage accurate grocery receipt data instead! And by integrating Experian data, we get access to rich respondent profiles that are easily targetable.  In turn, our segmentation surveys are shorter, and only focus on attitudes, feelings, and motives.  Together, this is a winning formula for respondents and researchers alike — shorter surveys AND better data — and more of it! 

Are you still doing segmentation the same way that you did it 10 years ago? 

I hope not!  Because now there’s a better way.  Contact us to learn more about it!

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