WELCOME TO OUR BLOG!

The posts here represent the opinions of CMB employees and guests—not necessarily the company as a whole. 

Subscribe to Email Updates

BROWSE BY TAG

see all

Wear Your Brand Hat to Ensure Segmentation Adoption

Posted by Brenda Ng

Tue, Sep 24, 2019

Wear Your Brand HatThe best segmentation is wasted if your internal teams and agencies aren’t using it.  Compared to a one-time launch event, an adoption campaign takes place over time, and allows for new behaviors and an understanding of the target segments’ lens to groove.   

Brand Hat

Create and have fun with an adoption campaign by putting on a brand and product management hat.

  • Target: Which groups should adopt the new segmentation?  Marketing, sales, product, executive leadership, agencies, finance, customer service?  This determines the scope and reach of the campaign.
  • Goals: Focus on deep understanding of your prioritized, target segments, not necessarily every category segment.  What behaviors do you want to see?
  • Duration: Like any product launch, the campaign could be broken down into three parts: pre-launch to anticipate and raise awareness; launch to introduce; and post-launch to provide reinforcement.
  • Naming: Own it!  Create a name for the campaign that links to the segments or the benefit of transitioning to a new segmentation.  It can be activated during the pre-launch, teaser phase.  For example, “Coming soon.  A Fresh Perspective.”  Or “They’re arriving.  The Fabulous Four.”

Fun. Fit.

A bevy of fun, engaging ideas can be modified to fit your company’s culture or industry.  Everyone has a different learning style, so mix it up to dial up the reach.  A few jump-start ideas:

  • Create each segment’s LinkedIn profile. Or create Tinder profiles.
  • If each segment had an Instagram account what would that look like? If you have the budget, provide instant cameras, assign a segment to a team (or better, have a team member complete the algorithm to determine their segment), and have them complete a scavenger hunt using snapped pictures.  Use cellphone cameras for a no-budget option.  Or create a Fun Friday where each team dresses up like a segment, brings a segment’s favorite foods to share, plays their anthem in the background—and the other teams guess the segment.
  • Create an internal website or database that has the facts, figures, sizing, valuation, etc. to be used in estimates, forecasting, and modeling.
  • Rename conference rooms by segment name, for 3-6 months. One conference room per segment. Further bring the segment to life through decorations, and interactive experiences.

Brief Details

Small details matter to reinforce adoption of the new target segments. 

Refresh templates for creative briefs, new product briefs, and market research briefs to include a trigger:  Which target segment is this effort for?  Leave space to include important insights and numbers.

Now, you have the keys to a successful segmentation.  We’re happy to help.


Brenda NgBrenda Ng, VP of Strategy and Account Planning, spearheads CMB's engagement solutions from product development to strategic planning.

For more insights, please follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Topics: product development, marketing strategy, market strategy and segmentation, brand tracking, experiential marketing, engagement strategy

Socialize your Segments to Inspire Action

Posted by Kathy Ofsthun

Wed, Aug 28, 2019

Blog_Ofsthun

My segments are defined, my typing tool is working, and my personas are created … and you’re telling me I’m not done yet?!

Yes, the end of the research is really the beginning of your segmentation. Once you’ve landed on an excellent model and algorithm for defining and distinguishing your new segments, you need everyone to know them!

At CMB, a standard part of our Segmentation program is to workshop with our client’s internal teams to obsess over the persona behind each segment, e.g. understand more deeply what can motivate “Defensive Donna” or how to pin down the “Explorer”. For B2B and B2C segmentations, the process is very similar, though all workshops are customized to account for the uniqueness of your segments and the needs of your stakeholders.

Typically, we plan and facilitate workshops of 2-4 hours, depending on the needs of the participants. The goal of the workshops is always the same: socialize the key insights about each segment, then apply that learning to real business needs.

For one large client, we brought the entire 100+ Marketing staff through an interactive 2-hour workshop (four workshops of 25-30 people each, over two days). After a discussion of the pre-work (there is always a creative homework assignment to inspire participants), the groups were split into diverse functional teams who rotated through stations focused on one segment each. The stations included video that brought the personas to life, infographic-style banners depicting the key elements defining the segment, take away “baseball cards” with key stats and insights, and more.

Once everyone has had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the archetypes for each segment, small group breakouts focus on one segment each. They are tasked with developing messaging for this person, choosing or developing fitting products for them, as well as tackling other business issues. Often, we will look to adjacent industries to examine how they appeal to this target. As appropriate, we may fill backpacks or briefcases with products fitting the persona. We then look across all breakout groups to see how distinct the segments are in vivid detail.

There are myriad exercises that we can and do engage in—from in-person workshops to VR experiences. All of them deepen and hone your understanding of the segments and compel you to apply your learning to critical business issues. Our clients solve for their targeting needs, including and especially for messaging and product development, but also for perfecting pitches for your sales team.

Participants walk away from the workshop with memorable and actionable insights, and as enthusiastic evangelists.


Kathy OfsthunKathy Ofsthun is CMB's VP of Qualitative Strategy + Innovation.

For more insights, please follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Topics: qualitative research, market strategy and segmentation

The 5 things to do BEFORE you Begin a Segmentation

Posted by Athena Rodriguez

Tue, Aug 13, 2019

planning

Segmentations can be big endeavors—organizations investing time, money, and people, need to see meaningful outcomes. While it’s tempting, especially for seasoned researchers, to dive right in, solid up-front planning is critical when it comes to building a segmentation your organization will accept and implement.

With decades of segmentation experience, we’ve found the key to a successful outcome lies with engaging stakeholders early and often.  Follow these five steps to ensure alignment prior to questionnaire development.    

  1. Set expectations. Engage with end-users early in the process to clarify what the segmentation will and won’t do. Often time, LOBs have competing priorities which one segmentation may not be able to satisfy.  It’s much better to identify and address potential disconnects prior to getting started.  To ensure data quality (i.e., keep your questionnaire a reasonable length), you’ll likely need to negotiate trade-offs.  Consider using additional follow-up studies to gather additional insights that aren’t crucial to segmentation. 

  2. Understand relevant initiatives. Questionnaire real estate is at a premium so use it wisely. Examine relevant existing research to make sure you’re building on rather than replicating it.  Are there ongoing initiatives that could provide some direction?  For example, what marketing campaigns are planned, who are they targeting, and why?  Alternatively, is there upcoming work that could benefit by examining through the lens of segments—product development comes to mind here.

  3. Learn from the past. Understanding how your organization has used (or not used) segmentation in the past can help you to avoid potential pitfalls. Examine past segmentation efforts in your organization.  What worked—and perhaps more importantly, what didn’t? 
    • How was the segmentation used? What decisions were made? 
    • If it wasn’t used, why? Was it overly complicated?  Was it too simplistic? Did it lack face validity or contradict how the organization currently sees the market? 

  4. Define success. It’s crucial to know how end users want to use the results prior to questionnaire development and analysis. What does success look like?  The answer will differ based on the end-user.  A product manager may want to develop products designed to meet target segment needs (an if you build it, they will come approach) while your marketing team might expect to pinpoint target segments within an existing database—two very different uses. 

  5. Identify your audience. Are there portions of the market that don’t make sense to include in your study? Alternatively, are there people that might not currently use your products or services but have the potential to in the future.  One obvious example of this is in the financial services sector.  Young investors might not have enough investable assets to be profitable, but given the stickiness of the relationship, it’s important to attract young investors who have the potential for future profitability (well after they’ve paid off student loans and saved up for a down payment).

Making the most out of your segmentation investment means more than choosing the right scheme—it means translating insights into decisions. Ask the right questions from the beginning and you’ll be on your way to helping your organization gain the clarity and focus the best insights initiatives provide.

Athena Rodriguez is CMB's Senior Project Director and leads our Senior Resource Team.

Are you headed to TMRE this fall? Use TMRE19CMB to get 20% off your pass!

TMRE_pruteaser

 

 

Topics: market strategy and segmentation

A User's Guide to the “Perfect” Segmentation

Posted by Jay Weiner, PhD

Mon, Jul 22, 2019

iStock-628987676 (1)

A really good segmentation benefits many users. The product development team needs to design products and services for key target segments. The marketing team needs to develop targeted communications. The data scientists need to score the database for targeting current customers. The salesforce needs to develop personalized pitches.  Last, but not least, the finance department uses segmentation to help allocate the resources of the firm. With so many interested parties, it’s easy to see why getting buy in up front is critical to the success of any segmentation.

A "perfect" segmentation solution would offer insights for each user to help them execute the strategic plan.  What does this mean from an analytical perspective?  It means we have differentiation on needs for the product development folks, attitudes for the marketing folks and a predictive scoring model for the internal database team.  That sounds easy enough, but in practice it is difficult.  Attitudes are not always predictive of behaviors.  For example, I’m concerned about the environment.  I have solar panels on my roof.  You’d think I would drive a zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) and yet I drive a 400HP V8 high octane burning gas powered car.  I don’t feel too bad about that since I don’t really drive much.  That said, my next car could be the Volkswagen I.D. Buzz, an all-electric nostalgic take on the original VW van, but I digress.

Segmentation is not a property of the market.  It is an activity.  It’s usually helpful to evaluate several potential segmentation schemes to see how well they deliver the key objectives.  We do this by prioritizing the objectives.  Getting nice differentiation on attitudes to help create more effective marketing campaigns might be more important than getting a high accuracy on scoring the database.

My colleague, Brant Cruz recently listed leveraging existing data sources as one of the keys to successful segmentation.  This is often one of the biggest challenges we face in segmentation.  How well can we classify the customer database?  What’s in the database?  Most often it’s behavioral data like month spend, products purchased, points redeemed.  These data are the most accurate representation of what happened and when it happened.  What they don’t help explain is why it happened and in some cases who did it.  For example, many families subscribe to streaming music and video services.  If you don’t remember to log in, then the behavior is correct for the family, but not necessarily attributable to a specific user.

Appending demographic and attitudinal data to the database can help provide the links.  When such data are available, we have to verify the source of those data.  Many companies offer the ability to populate demographic and potentially attitudinal data. If this is the source of the append, then is it an actual value for the specific customer or is it a proxy for that customer based on nearest neighbor values.  In either case, we would still need to determine the age of the appended data.  How often do these values get updated?  Are some values missing?  For example, if you have recently signed up for an account, then your 90-day behavioral data elements won’t get populated for some period of time.  This means that I would need to either remove these respondents from my file or build a unique model for new customers.  How well we can accurately predict the segments is contingent in part on how accurate our data are.

The most accurate solution would be to simple segment using only information in the database.  If our ultimate goal is to help the client with prospecting for new business, a segmentation of customers is not likely to be too helpful.  This means that I need to collect primary data and ask surrogates for the values in the database.  A concurrent sample of customers would help with any need calibrate the survey responses for over/under statement.

When we start to mix database values with primary survey data, we typically do two things.  First, we dilute the differences in attitudes and needs.  Second, we reduce the accuracy of scoring the database.  There are ways to improve the scoring accuracy.  We can provide a list of attributes that could be appended to the database to increase the correct classification.  Sometimes, the data scientists may be able to identify additions variables in the database that were not provided up front.  Other times, it’s simply a matter of figuring out how to collect these values and have them appended to the database.

One part of the evaluation is to determine how many segments to have. Just because you have a segment, doesn’t mean you have to target that segment.   You should have at least one more segment than you intend to target.  Why?  This lets you identify an opportunity that you have left in the market for your competitors.  Just because there are segments of folks interested in zero-emission vehicles, or self-driving cars does not mean you need to make them.  Most companies can only afford to target a small number of segments.  Database segmentations with targeted digital campaigns are often easy to execute with a larger number of segments.

How long can you expect your solution to last?  Typically, segmentation schemes last as long as there are no major changes in the market.  Changes can come from technological innovations.  ZEV and self-driving cars have changed the auto industry.  Shifts in the size of the segments over time are just one indication that the segmentation could use refreshing.

Dr. Jay is CMB’s Chief Methodologist and VP of Advanced Analytics and is always up for tackling your most pressing questions. Submit yours and he could answer it in his next blog!

Ask a Question!

Topics: advanced analytics, market strategy and segmentation

Maximizing Segmentation Impact with Smart Trade-offs

Posted by Kate Zilla-Ba

Thu, Jul 11, 2019

choose

Every day we help our clients solve for as many needs possible while staying laser-focused on business objectives and decisions. It can be a tricky balance, but there is no better time to be in research—mobile stitching, AI, agile qual, etc.—are helping us extract more value in less time. So, with all that is available to us, why do we believe it’s so critically important to focus on best and highest uses?

The ability to make smart trade-offs is critically important in segmentation initiatives. The investment of time, money and resources mean stakes are often especially high. Here are a few recent examples of how we’ve helped our clients make appropriate trade-offs to get to a solution that maximizes impact.

What works:

  1. We can’t say it enough: communicate early and often. Our lift-off workshops spend a good deal of time surfacing stakeholder input that may indicate potential disagreement about the use of the insights and decisions that must be made. Often, once the different needs, wants, use(r)s are brought into the light, stakeholders can see and reconcile themselves to a greater good.
  2. “We know we need this segmentation, and we want it to be ‘actionable’ but our business handles customer type A through one department and customer type B through another, can we segment after splitting on this?” Yes, of course. But recognize you may be trading off tactical implement-ability against an incisive view that could change the way you approach customers—including not treating them in these silos. In other words, it may be fine, but let’s try to think through all the downstream implications and make the most informed decision.
  3. “We want to be able to track people by segment in our database.” Of course you do! We need to build in the elements that will create those linkages. Customer databases typically do not have some of the types of data we would include in a comprehensive segmentation—attitudinal and even behavioral can be quite sparse. We often find ourselves helping businesses determine what is critical now vs. what can be done in stages, later. Creating a smart segmentation that can be used immediately for marketing but will need more work to develop an implementation plan for back tagging your database for the longer term is something we address often.

And what doesn’t:

  1. Looking through only one lens. True or false: running a demographics only model because that is the only way the business believes they can find the people later. False! We often need to work in some demographics, but more often they will lead you down an overly simplistic (and non-strategic) path.
  2. Underestimating how much time is needed to socialize the segments. We have been a part of some amazing socializations in our day. Keep the engagement and excitement building through a multi-faceted, communications plan that begins at project inception and continues well past the release of the new segments. Have a release party, where people can “type” themselves and see, feel, hear, what it is to be the segment. In one of my favorites, posters were placed around the halls, updated over time to go from fuzzy to sharp images—to show how the business was gaining clarity on who its targets were but also just to build excitement through basic human curiosity. A common thread for successful socialization is to keep conversations going, planting seeds, and listening for pockets of resistance, so that when the full release is ready it has allies, and has lowered the risk of unexpected roadblocks. This is sometimes a hidden investment of time that researchers don’t adequately factor in.
  3. Overestimating accuracy. We will often find a desirable solution that resonates and feels actionable and sensible, but then in implementation, panic! Some of those typing into segments don’t feel exactly right. It’s important to deeply consider how a learning segmentation that has firm roots and a clear strategic vision, may need to be fine-tuned to become fully incorporated into business practices.

Smart trade-offs take careful planning, communication, and partnership. Taking the time to focus will make all the difference! Let us know your thorny trade-off challenges!

Kate is a CMB Account Director.

What's driving and deterring consumer adoption of Autonomous Vehicles? Listen to what people are saying and download the ebook here.

 

 

Topics: market strategy and segmentation