Use Big Data To Sharpen Your Segmentation

Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of a three-part series on how Big Data can be exploited to enrich market segmentations.

French novelist Marcel Proust is particularly famous for saying, “The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes.”  That sums up the way I see Big Data and its role in segmentation: It doesn’t necessarily point us toward undiscovered markets, but it can greatly enhance our ability to see our existing market in new ways.

How? I asked my colleague, Dr. Raymond Reno, to join me in creating some practical examples of how Big Data can sharpen your segmentation lens. In this first installment of our three-part series, we’ll show how Big Data can add value to creating market segments for a new product launch.

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Three Ways to Conduct Smarter Segmentation Research

One reason many segmentation studies are underutilized is that market researchers and their research partners fail to understand the many ways this rich information can be leveraged.

After a segmentation study, we tend to focus on putting individual members into specific buckets. Sounds logical, right? But, there are a number of ways to determine segment assignment, and, if pushed, these tools can provide us with even more information. The more we can get from a segmentation study, the more useful it can be across an organization.

Here are three ways your segmentation can make a greater impact in your organization:

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Does Insight Have an Expiration Date?

A client recently raised an interesting topic: How long are market research results valid?  Is it safe to rely on a segmentation study from five years ago? How fast do behaviors and attitudes change, and how long does it take for a researcher’s insight to expire?

If we look at the market from a product perspective, then undoubtedly markets change as soon as new, revolutionary products come out.  For example, tablets changed the digital market; hybrids changed the automotive industry; social networks transformed the way people connect and communicate.

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