The first starting point with any successful segmentation programme is the business problem/question you are trying to address. Most often you'll need to use a range of different techniques for data gathering and analysis. Market Research techniques are generally divided into Quantitative and Qualitative. Qualitative methods bring segments to life by understanding the context and drivers in which they are engaging the category and includes the following methods:

Surveys

Quantitative data sources are readily available, but it’s rare that you already have all the information you need to truly understand your consumers. This is why surveys are still the most popular and effective way of getting to the heart of what consumers really want. Surveys are relatively inexpensive to conduct, can be put together quickly, and the ease in which people can complete surveys online has meant large amounts of data can be collected.

There is of course an art to putting together an effective survey. Too many questions can easily lead to fatigue, and thus inaccurate data or respondents skipping questions. It is also important to consider where you will find respondents and what will motivate them to take part. The right set of questions/answers are critical.

Interviews

In-depth interviews are one of the most comprehensive ways in which to conduct research with your target market. By speaking directly with an ideal customer, you’ll gain greater empathy for their experience, considerations and you can follow insightful threads. The problem with this form of research is everyone has their own bias, and by sampling a smaller section of your audience you may not get a majority view.

Focus Groups

Focus groups bring together selected group of people who fit an organisation’s target market to ask them a series of questions and record their discussion. A focus group allows participants to speak freely about the ideas presented and offer their opinions in a way that supports what the survey is attempting to discover. An interesting aspect of the focus group is how answers tend to build on top of each other. This is unique to focus groups as participants are able to consider different answers and opinions other than their own, and so their personal views begin to evolve.

Strong and objective moderation is key in the running of focus groups as it is very easy for a more ‘forceful’ participant to influence the group or for different moderator personalities to bring about different results in the same study, thus skewing data.

Insight Communities

An insight community is a way of conducting research with a group of people over a period time. With an insight community you can conduct several different types of research with a controlled group. This could be surveys, focus groups or user testing. Insight Communities provide an agile, ‘always-on’ customer voice into the business and help close the feedback loop between an organisation and its customer. The advantage of using Insight communities when thinking about segmentation is that it ensures a long-term relationship with different segments, keeping the insights fresh and gives you the ability to find out segment responses to stimulus quickly & efficiently.

There are many methods and places that you can get data these data but one thing is important above all else...quality. Everyone promises it but few deliver! If you put bad data in, you'll develop bad insight and make bad decisions. It's as simple as that. Don't trust just anything with your key segmentation programme...trust the experts, Bonamy Finch.

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