After two long years we were really excited to host a physical Lunch & Learn!

We were talking about Hybrid Segmentation, a new approach that fuses market and CRM data to deliver a rich, single view of your customers. We were joined by Insights and Analytical leaders from some major global brands such as Octopus Energy, Harrods, Virgin Red, The National Theatre, Shell & more. It was great to share stories, advice and problems. Here are three key takeaways from the session…

1. Most brands are refreshing their segmentation

We asked everyone who signed up to the event where they were in their segmentation journey and found that:

“When should we refresh our segmentation?” has been a key question for every brand in the last two years. The pandemic massively disrupted the way that we reach and communicate with consumers. Whilst most predicted that new behaviours would have been established for some time to come, it was difficult to map which behaviour for which consumers would ‘stay’ and those that would ‘revert back’ once restrictions had eased.

Our advice throughout this entire period was for brands to squeeze the data they already had. To see which past studies might get them someway towards an answer if they were not yet ready for a refresh. We also highlighted the importance of basing future segmentations around the Needs and Motivations of consumers as this is an attribute which is far less prone to change…even in turbulent times.

While the world is certainly far from being stable today, it is perhaps a sign of growing confidence that of the people who signed up, most were either discussing or in the planning stages of a segmentation refresh. It was interesting how their needs/expectations for these programmes have been influenced by the last few years.

“A lot of clients are telling us that they need their segmentation to feed into their tactical/agile research and that understanding how different segments may be affected by external changes is key” Leigh Morris, Strategy Director

Brands are looking at solutions like Insight Communities or online panels as tools to capture the voice of different segments and also to bring them to life in new and interesting ways.

2. Brands have split priorities

The problem for a lot of the brands in the room, was that they were looking to understand their customers, they were looking to understand how cultural trends would affect those customers…but they didn’t have confidence that their customers reflected the rest of the market.

“Many insights teams we work with will naturally have a focus on their existing customer base. This makes a lot of sense as time is limited and existing customers represent the quickest return on investment, but the problem with this approach is that they may be missing out on innovation opportunities by not taking into account category or cultural trends.” Paul Jackson, Head of Advanced Analytics

This is where our hybrid approach to segmentation was particularly interesting. We’re combining market and CRM and by using powerful algorithms we can incorporate all of the relevant factors from both sets of data. We then tag these segments to your database so you can use them straight away.

Whilst some compromises do have to be made, this represents a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario that a lot of brands were looking for.

3. Activation beyond marketing is still a challenge

While its easy to get hung up on customer data (or your lack thereof) one of the most common problems which was touched on in our Lunch and Learn was internal. Insight & Analytical teams are often small in resource, but have big expectations placed upon them. In order to be effective, they need to reach every part of their organisation, but getting people excited about metrics and stats is no mean feat. A 2021 survey* of 64 global brands found that…

Too often segmentation projects are started with fuzzy ambitions around ‘getting closer to customers’ and many businesses are guilty of focusing too much on the ‘why’ and not enough on the ‘how.’ Most brands recognise the benefits of being able to anticipate consumer needs better, but how will this affect different teams and how will they actually use the data?

“Insight teams get caught between a rock and a hard place. The business wants insights faster and faster but in order to be effective, they need to involve more stakeholders which naturally slows things down.” Leigh Morris, Strategy Director

We would recommend that while more stakeholders inevitably leads to more work upfront, it’s vital that different functions are involved in your segmentation programme early on. While it may be useful to understand which parts of your customer data different functions use, we would always advise starting with problems and not with the data.

What are three problems that a department has today? Where could data help these issues? What tools/systems are they currently using? What would a possible solution look like? What are today’s wins and what are longer-term strategic aims?

Focus on doing three things well, rather than trying to do a million things averagely.

In conclusion

It was really great, seeing people face to face after such a long time!

While many people came to the session wondering what was ‘new’ in the world of segmentation, one thing we all agreed on was that many of the problems brands were facing were the same five or ten years ago. Getting the balance right between that wider market understanding and getting the most out of first-party data is hardly a new problem, but one many brands were looking to address. Hopefully our session on our innovative Hybrid approach to segmentation will have provided some food for thought…and the food was pretty good too!

If you missed out on the big event but would still like an informal chat about your segmentation refresh, be sure to get in touch with the team today.

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Get in touch today for a no-obligation meeting with a member of our team. All information is treated as confidential and we are happy to offer our opinion or point you in the right direction.