Jerônimo do Valle
"Segment" is a technical term to express the concept of "customer groups" that are composed of cultural, social and economic factors, among others. Creating "customer segments" is crucial when it comes to understanding the consumer, and therefore a "skeleton key" to generating sales.
Until recently, large companies had an advantage over smaller rivals simply because of the scale of their market research capabilities. Today, surveys that used to take months and cost millions can be done for a fraction of that price and in a few days, using the correct working methodology and, of course, the right digital tools. What matters now is not so much the amount of data a company can accumulate, but rather its ability to connect the dots and extract value from the information. This is ultimately what differentiates successful organizations from the others.
When properly addressing the topic of segmentation, words like “archetype”, “persona” and “segment” arise and are often used to refer to the same thing, but represent different concepts. A persona is more of a design tool, while behavioral archetypes represent consumer motivations, goals and attitudes. The purpose of this type of debugging is usually to obtain group percentages or fractions - numbers that tell you which part of the analyzed population belongs to a specific segment. However, these “segments” are not just a list of metrics intended to catalog people; they are “alive” and the main reason why, to represent real-world data, segments must be created with “archetypes” in mind is this; Archetypes are categories created based on human behavior.
When companies invest millions in surveys to collect information from thousands of people around the world, they forget that this still does not guarantee reliable results, because, contrary to common beliefs, large amounts of data do not mean better insights. The problem with traditional segmentation is that it claims to be behavioral because of some of the questions asked, disregarding that a long questionnaire ends up being counterproductive – asking behavioral questions does not make your research behavior-based, whereas an analysis driven by the actual attitudes of your base of users, yes.
Moving forward, once all the segmentation is done and the data obtained is in place, it is still necessary to continue to implement resources to understand what triggers them and leads the client to act. Therefore, as the number of people who interact with your product or your digital space grows, so will the fidelity and depth of your insights, forming patterns and segments that constantly approach a faithful representation of reality.
Across all industries, including pharmaceuticals, financial services, hospitality and consumer goods, this proficiency in the use of data is an evident trait among high-performing brands - with some companies focusing on going further, even creating groups of dedicated data to consolidate, manage, analyze information, and distribute it throughout the organization.
The inevitable conclusion is that correctly applying the segmentation process means crossing an abyss of difficulties that may be “holding back” your company's progress or, in a slightly worse scenario, condemning it to failure. Correctly applied segmentation is a solid step towards better understanding the consumer and, thus, being able to imagine the products, services and businesses that your customers will need, tomorrow, to start idealizing them, today.