We know that not everyone speaks the language of data, but we, as humans, all speak in stories.
In a nutshell, that’s what qualitatively illuminating a market segmentation does. It turns important and complex data into clear, powerful stories that speak to the human in all of us and inspire us to take action.
Creative methodologies can illuminate your market segments
Illuminations bridge the gap between quantitative data points (the who, what, where, and when) by answering the all-important why.
We know that target segment “A” skews younger, is likely to own a dog, and thinks it’s important to buy local. With these insights, we can make an educated guess about what leads them to these behaviors — but do we really know?
Why do they believe X, do Y, and strive for Z?
To get these answers, we need to encourage real humans in the segment to open up, be introspective, and think creatively. This means we need to think creatively, too — here’s how:
- Understand the context – We don’t look at data in a vacuum; we deep dive into the category, brand, and segmentation data. It’s important to ask questions, generate hypotheses, and identify areas to expand knowledge and fill in gaps, even before activity design.
- Get distance to see clearly – People are more willing to let us in when they remove themselves from their everyday. We build frameworks that construct new realities to get respondents to confront their values, mindsets, and behaviors from a fresh, creative, and less judgmental lens.
Why ask home improvement segments about their latest DIY projects when you can ask them to create their own home improvement reality show, letting us into the highs and lows of their unique journey?
- Exercise your brain in new ways – We have a toolbox of cognitive techniques that help people reflect on situations and problems differently. From a Mad Libs-type exercise to Cribs Closet Edition videos to Chutes & Ladders journey mapping, we help people share their authentic selves and stories through atypical expression.
Approaches for using market segmentation data to shape segment storytelling
The average person can recall, at most, a set of seven digits. What about the lyrics to a song? A favorite movie?
By telling more holistic stories supplemented with real sensorial multi-media alongside quantitative proof points, we give your organization both inspiration and belief in your target segments: they’re no longer just a number — they’re a muse.
How do we build segment stories that span the big picture of who your segments are while also offering more granular, meaningful “nuggets” directly related to your business?
- Broaden the frame – No one wants to be put in a box. We start broad and get to know segments holistically, exploring their lifestyles, long-held beliefs, and cultural context — all of which shape their attitudes and behaviors within specific categories.
- Highlight the proof points – We merge quantitative and qualitative insights in a perfect balance of detail supported by measured validation; that way, you can get all the segment intricacies without worrying if it holds true on a larger scale.
- Let them speak for themselves – Real human stories bring insights to life in a way that data can’t. Rather than just “interpreting” what “respondents” say, we embed their voices, faces, and words in illuminations, so your team can truly visualize and absorb your target segments.
- Compare and contrast – Illuminations dissect similarities and differences uncovered in quantitative segmenting; this way, we can further define and differentiate your target segments while leaving out ambiguity.
“Selling” your market segmentation illumination internally
A market segmentation is only impactful if people use it. Illuminations paint pictures for easy recall, build empathy that resonates, and offer strategy that provides a clear path forward.
Does a story matter if there’s no one there to truly listen? How do we get your stakeholders to absorb, not just hear?
- Build empathy – Connect with the person, not the segment. Human-centered stories make it easy for stakeholders to understand each segment’s needs, motivations and challenges, so they can make business decisions that win.
- See the future. Because illuminations move from what to why, we have the ability to understand future segment perceptions and behaviors, helping your product team create new products to fill unmet needs, or your marketing team to build campaigns that truly resonate.
- Spread the word – Segment illuminations should live beyond the confines of a PowerPoint. In fact, the most successful illuminations make sharing easy, fun and interactive. Whether it’s an infographic that clearly defines and differentiates each segment or a robust microsite that lets your teams explore videos, photos and insights from each segment in detail, illuminations only stick when they live on beyond a deck.
Market segmentations aren’t static, check-off-the-box structures. They’re as fluid and ever-evolving as the people in them. With these segmentation illumination strategies, you can evolve and grow alongside your target segments by revisiting and continuing to build upon their unique stories, embedding a deeper human connection between you and your segments.
Co-written by Tiana Sahadeo, Senior Research Manager, Material.