A fresh look at segmentation

Segmentation has long been considered a basic exercise to understand customers, competitors and the operating environment to enable businesses to make the most of market opportunities and minimize threats or business risks. Over the years segmentation approaches have evolved and broadened using a variety of metrics including simple demographics, behavioral, psychographic, needs-based, and profitability-based or a combination of these.

However, these approaches have certain limitations that impede their efficacy. Moreover, the present context of changing consumer behavior, heightened brand competition and growing influence of the digital medium is forcing organizations to rethink their approach towards segmentation. Organizations are looking for models that can help them overcome the challenging task of discerning consumer buying behavior in relation to organizational capabilities and competitive standing.

We believe that organizations need to take a fresh look at their approach towards segmentation. This approach is contingent on a ‘Value From’ and ‘Value To’ criteria that flows from design to action across various stages of the segmentation approach. Organizations should assess their current state comprehensively and then design a multi-dimensional segmentation framework. They should then develop a clear value proposition, define and deliver their capabilities and finally ensure continuous measurement. Segmentation should be spread across the organization; understanding the customer should be a way of life and a fundamental driver of shareholder value.