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Segmentation: a stats challenge that needs art to solve

Segmentation is the first lesson at marketing school yet so few businesses get it right.

The skill is to create them around your strategic goals. The alternative is to throw every conceivable dimension into the mix giving you the equivalent of a mushy meal of a thousand ingredients.

Appending segments back to customer databases is, in the era of big data, an essential – this is technically challenging and requires careful planning from the get-go.

But even the best segmentation will be ignored if it isn’t embraced wholeheartedly. So, high-level support, a world of bringing to life and ROI are key.

Segments are only the start:

We use a three-stage approach with commercial activation always the goal.

#1 Establish

The foundation stage where commercially important segments are derived – only achieved with very close collaboration between brand and agency.

Your business goals

Like so many business challenges it’s key to begin with the end in mind i.e. your strategic goals, how the segments will be used and what they’ll replace.

Database audit

This identifies hook database attributes which can be turned into survey questions – this ‘bridging’ information allows customer and survey data to be used in tandem.

Segment drivers

A qualitative exploration of all factors which potentially influence the behaviours we want to build the segments around.

Build segments

The all-important stage of survey creation, fieldwork and modelling to create segments – always an iterative process with close agency/client collaboration.

#2 Illuminate

Where we bring each typology to life and reveal the role your brand can play in their lives. By the end of this phase segments will feel intuitively ‘right’, and those close to project can already see commercial applications.

Segments names

A family of names and icons will help the business remember the segments and keep their key characteristics top-of-mind.

Segment outputs

Definitive guides to each segment – including ‘pocket films’, whose power to provoke emotions makes them a key part of this collateral.

Database attribution

Two tools for allocating people to segments – golden question and an algorithm which uses proxy attributes on your behavioural database.


Immersive events to create buzz and make sure everyone intuitively knows each segment and the role of the brand in their lives.

#3 Activate

The all-important phase where business ambitions for each segment are established and it becomes an important planning tool across all relevant departments.

Establish £-value

The strategic value of each segment vs. your current market share will let you establish where growth potential exists.

Target segments

A key goal i.e. gain agreement on the brand’s current and growth segments (and the threads which bind these together).

Win strategy

The actions the business will need to take to get noticed, get considered and then convert this into (repeated) usage.

Drive innovation

The end-game – for all customer-facing initiatives to be designed with the segments’ emotional and functional needs in mind.

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