Consumers might seem to have the same problem. So does that mean they all need the same solution? Segmentation can reveal very different needs of consumers that can drive messaging and solutions. Here’s how it works.

Consumers may say, “I have a water problem.” Seems pretty clear cut, right? Now, let’s segment those consumers based on where they live. One group lives in a desert. Another group lives in a seismic coastal zone and fear devastating tsunamis. The third group lives on houseboats surrounded by salt water and has to pay high fees for fresh water. Based on these characteristics, does it seem like the consumers all have the same "water problem"?

This simplistic example demonstrates how grouping people who share characteristics empowers innovators to envision solutions to problems. The first group clearly needs an irrigation system. The second needs a tsunami warning system. And the third group needs a desalination system. Yet, they all say they have a "water problem." 

Effective segmentation starts with potential solutions in mind. Group design and moderation are structured to probe possibilities, informed from experience in listening to consumers and industry knowledge. The golden nuggets of insights into similar groups of consumers that result can springboard strategy, product design and the way you talk to consumers.

The Explore Edge

Explore segmentations are inspired by the topics. After meeting precise recruiting requirements, Explore Qualitative™ Research participants are placed in homogenous behavioral and/or attitudinal groups. This laboratory setting approach enables research to better identify differences across groups. While segmenting is common practice in consumer marketing, it is relatively new to saving and investing. This approach can illuminate important nuances in consumer segments and result in a deeper understanding of the topics of the future and even breakaway insights. 

For example, when visionary senior executives were just starting to wonder why consumer reluctance to tap prudently into capital during retirement is so strong, even though 401(k)s originated with this in mind, we went beyond the traditional drawdown fund solutions, using segmentation to reveal real consumer needs. Our segmentation asked: What makes “spender” retirees different than “frugal” or “calculators?” Do “parents” feel differently than “child-free” people? Do parents who have a strong legacy motive feel differently than parents who don’t? How might design, pricing and delivery of investment products and advice evolve to address these groups separately?