At their best, market segmentations can serve as blueprints for brand strategy, messaging, and targeting – almost every aspect of a brand’s engagement with its customers. But as sources of data multiply exponentially, every market segmentation needs to work doubly hard to overcome a common affliction: Isolation.
Too often, a segmentation is the brain child of the research department – or even a single researcher; however insightful and well designed, this vision of a brand’s key consumers may linger on a shelf because it lacks support. Many people who might help bring a market segmentation to life may not even know that it exists.
Such is the fate of the “lonely” segmentation – one that fails to reach out and connect, whose potential is never known or realized. These unfortunate research recluses become wallflowers at the dance of marketing effectiveness, staring at their iPhone 5s while other research projects strut their insights on the gym floor.
The torrent of Big Data now at almost every marketer’s fingertips makes the lonely segmentation’s predicament even more unsettling. There are so many more data sets to interact with, insights to align with. It makes a shy segmentation want to crawl away to a quiet corner with a very big book.
Sometimes, as the developer of or advocate for a segmentation, we may have trouble realizing that our creation is feeling left out. To be sure our insights get the recognition they deserve, we need to be clearly aware of the signs and symptoms that a segmentation is running the risk of sitting on the sidelines when it should be coming into its own.
When you ask your respondent to remain engaged, alert, and providing accurate descriptions of their attitudes and behaviors for 45 minutes straight, you will likely have a problem. Weak data may face questions about validity and have trouble winning stakeholder support.
The Achilles heel of “hidden” methodologies lies in socialization of the approach and findings. When “trust me” is the central rationale for convincing stakeholder teams of the solution’s validity, the chance of skepticism and tune-out grows.
Given the sea of data sets available to complement a market segmentation solution, not building bridges to other sources is a real lost opportunity. Fusing to your segmentation can make the difference between a segmentation that is merely “interesting” to one that is actually a “game changer” for the business.
The absence of consistent stakeholder acceptance can be crippling to the effectiveness of any study—regardless of how well conceived or flawlessly executed.
The issue here is insight granularity. We need to ensure that we are collecting detail at a low enough level to give clear guidance on very specific tactical executions on the back end. Otherwise, the relevance of your study will be compromised.
Making sure that market segmentations deliver maximum value for the business means, first of all, staying vigilant to the signs of disconnection. Keep your eyes peeled for these symptoms of isolation, and you can help assure that your project is poised for real-world success.
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