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BSG's Perspective on: SEGMENTATION

Creating focused and effective marketing and communications starts with understanding and segmenting your audience. BSG shares its views on segmentation, and examines the client benefits of letting values lead the way.

Companies must make choices when it comes to engaging with, marketing to, and servicing consumers. A strategy built for the masses often leads to organizational ineffectiveness and a marketing arsenal of blanket messages and offerings that are irrelevant to consumers and quickly dismissed. 

Well-versed on the dangers of a one size fits all approach, companies today prioritize creating specific customer groups, or segments. To do so, many implement large-scale market segmentation studies which divide a broad consumer base or business market into sub-groups based on some type of shared characteristics. These studies then help companies determine which of these segments are viable target markets.

Understanding what drives specific segments—their attitudes, values, lifestyles — as well as the size and make-up of each helps brands match the needs and wants of customers more precisely and develop a focused roadmap for business growth. To that end, a segmentation enables them to eschew mass marketing for a targeted approach that connects with audiences and makes their marketing and communication efforts more efficient and effective.

The BSG Approach

In conducting segmentation studies for some of the world’s leading organizations, our experience has taught us that the strongest segmentations are based largely on the values and attitudes of individuals. Stated needs, demographics, and purchase behavior are important inputs. But, on their own they leave brands with a superficial grasp on their audiences and unnuanced consumer groupings.

Brands need their audience segments to reflect the deeper individualities and psychographics that act as the true drivers. Uncovering individuals’ personalities, fears, aspirations, and how they define themselves produces superior insights. These deep-seeded beliefs frame and drive consumer choice, and understanding them ensures well-defined segments and a forward-looking and actionable strategy.

Beyond the importance of leading with values, our work in this arena points to three “to-do’s” that can make for a strong segmentation.

  • Differentiate Generic, broad segments lead right back to mass marketing. A main goal of segmentation work should be to come away with highly-differentiated audience groups constructed from rich, layered insights. Combining qualitative and quantitative exercises in an iterative fashion to inform the next step of the process produces deeper and tested learnings that ultimately lead to a more distinct and dimensionalized segmentation.

  • Collaborate Segmentations are lengthy, complex studies that require all hands on deck. Internal alignment around key objectives as well as a download of pre-existing insights to ensure the research team builds upon existing knowledge, is important. Researchers should work closely with the client to identify the criteria to be used to create and select the segments that are most relevant to the client’s business and situation. Finally, work sessions with the different function areas as well as partners and agencies can help “bring the segments to life” and ensure all those who need to develop products and services, pricing, media, and communications, are all aligned.

  • Integrate While attitudinal insights are vital, Big Data does have its benefits. Traditional research methods should be combined with Big Data to unearth more specifics about individuals’ lives and assist with targeting. At BSG, we have a unique method for marrying identified segments with Big Data. Our access to a database of over 225 million Americans allows us to profile segments across all other variables to get a fuller picture of any audience, and to micro target them.

Our Goal:

Our objective for each segmentation study is to go beyond categorization to provide clients with a deep understanding of consumer drivers and a strategy for engaging the most desirable audiences.

Specifically, we seek to:

  • Identify attractive segments – those segments that are likely to be the most profitable, are persuadable, have growth potential, etc… so that these can be selected for special attention (i.e. become target markets).

  • Paint a clear picture of these segments to better understand their needs and purchase motivations.

  • Provide a roadmap of how to reach each segment: Uncover the media habits and content consumption behaviors of the different segments, providing the information needed to effectively communicate with them on the platforms they use and from the sources they trust.

The Value for Clients:

Our segmentation strategy identifies the segments a brand needs to win by providing:

  • A forward-looking values & attitudes-based segmentation that helps client’sunderstand what truly drives people’s opinions, what impacts how they think and feel, and how to predict behavior to develop an effective targeting strategy.

  • Deep understanding of your audience’s mindsets, underlying values and attitudes, what makes them tick, and how to appeal to them in order to build messaging for them.

  • 360-degree persona development, showing the relationship between underlying values and the behaviors that distinguish them as your primary targets.

  • Clarity on the underlying barriers and needs of your targets, and identifying strategies to overcome them.


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