Market segmentation is the practice of dividing a population into smaller, unique groupings of people for the purpose of targeting, product development, customer journeys, etc.
Most of the time, a market segmentation study is done with a balance of rigor and creativity. The rigor comes in how it’s done — typically though cluster analysis of attitudinal, behavioral, and psychographic data. The art comes in how output is analyzed and how clusters are named. It’s a time consuming process that can pay dividends if used correctly.
I, however, have always enjoyed going against the grain and my segmentation of the shoppers at Newfield Avenue’s Grade A supermarket is based purely on observations of what I saw at my favorite store today (the day before a forecasted snow event). Here are the segments I’ve found:
Mothball Marys. If you’ve ever been to daily mass in a Catholic Church, you know exactly who I’m talking about. They can typically be found congregating in the canned soup aisle continuing the conversation they started after the closing prayer at St. Gabriel’s. And yes, they smell like mothballs and have no concerns whatsoever about blocking the aisle and preventing fellow shoppers from moving between Chef Boyardee’s delicacies and the section where Chunky Soups are shelved. To reach them, marketers are advised to place ads in the back of church bulletins or on those little prayer cards handed out in funeral homes.
Catastrophe Carls. These are guys who linger in the aisles where bread, milk, and batteries are shelved. Their basket likely includes ice melt and a snow shovel (or two). They walk around anxiously as if the person in front of them is going to get the last half gallon of 1% and/or the last loaf of Home Pride. These fellas can best be targeted by ads on the paddles of a defibrillator or brief, twitter like messages on labels of heart medication.
Label Lauras. These are women who will stop traffic in the aisle in order to read ever single ingredient on the back of a packaged food. They think they are being healthy but are really only kidding themselves because scrutinizing the label on the back of an Enntenmann’s all butter french crumb cake and comparing it to the NY style crumb cake and selecting the latter because it has fewer grams of sugar does not, nor will it ever, make one a healthy eater. Label Laura’s can best be targeted by placing ads in home workout videos and, of course, subliminal messaging under any label they are trying to read.
Clueless Christophers. These are guys who can’t find half the items on their shipping list but refuse to ask a store associate for help. As a result, they can be found wandering up and down each aisle multiple times looking for something like Shake-n-Bake, which you think would be shelved near breadcrumbs but, for some reason, isn’t. They can best be targeted though basically any TV program or magazine that targets men because, let’s face it, all of us guys are Clueless Christophers.
Feel free to share additional segments in the comments below.