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The reasons for doing segmentations all track back to customers and money. Digital doesn’t change that one iota. What it does do is make the task of successfully building and operationalising segmentations that much more complex and challenging.

We have deep experience of helping clients such as Dow Jones, E.ON, Royal Mail, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs and Manchester Airport Group to build, and operationalise segmentations.

The solutions we build are all bespoke and take account of what data is available. We have no fixed view of how segmentations are best done, save that they need to be properly fit for purpose.

At one level it’s simple. Digital creates more customer data: transactional, behavioural and profiling. And more data – used with research or on its own – improves segmentations.

But it’s not that simple. Digital has added new options for customers – no longer just what and which’ to buy, but now how (mode and device), where (channel) when (24/7) and at what speed. This massively increases inconsistency and complexity in customer behaviour.

The orthodoxy has always been that segmentations need to be stable, and that’s fine for a world that is stable. But in a multi-channel world operating in real time and always on, behaviours are more unpredictable and fluid. That requires fresh ideas. Here’s two.

First, embrace the customer dynamic. The era of stable segmentations that could be built and refreshed every 3-5 years is going fast. In its place, digital gives the ability to use the constant flow of customer and other data into a business to, in near-real time, update and refresh segmentations, so they are never very far out of date.

Second, focus on customers and follow the money: that’s the constant. As well as segmenting customers and linking segments to money, we also create maps of where current and future £-value is to be found and then track this money back to customers.

We call this Customer Value Analysis (CVAs). We offer CVAs as a stand alone product, or as an integral part of a segmentation project.

All our segmentation work is driven by a clear focus on usage. We plan with stakeholders how best to embed and operationalise the work at the start of a project.

We also help clients to, e.g.:

  • explore how to unlock current and future value, or design differentiated solutions to play into segments;
  • use the segmentation to build a shared way of thinking and behaving towards customers in the business;
  • create content – films, workshops, materials, etc. – to depict segments and relate them to ‘what I do’.