Segmentation is a powerful tool. Effective segmentation provides companies with the invaluable context needed to deeply understand and differentiate their customers’ behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs that drive decision-making, resulting in stronger customer connections and healthier businesses.

But like any good tool, segmentation only works if you know how to use it. Too often, robust segmentation efforts fall by the wayside as local markets struggle to scale, comprehend, and activate multiple segmentations across teams and countries. Without a clear roadmap for application, local markets, and brands default to behavioral segmentation, discarding any “squishy” attitudinal elements that feel intangible – elements that could positively shape business efforts if properly applied and understood.

Uncovering that coveted segmentation sweet spot – comprehensive customer representation in a market-friendly, easy-to-adopt package – is critical to a segmentation’s success and is at the heart of Shapiro+Raj’s research approach.

Recently, we partnered with a leading pharmaceutical company to pursue this winning combination for their enterprise-level segmentation. The key objective was clear but tricky: our client wanted to utilize historical data to reimagine a segmentation that would work across tumor types and markets. But we weren’t starting from scratch – the client team was no stranger to segmentation and had previously developed several robust segmentations in the space, meaning that we would need to approach the challenge in a new way.

Looking at the task at hand, we asked the two critical questions:

  1. Rather than looking at segmentation by tumor type, can we leverage oncologists’ philosophies and habits to treating across tumors to inform a foundational, unified segmentation?

  2. Are there certain human-centric variables that bridge the gap between behavioral and attitudinal attributes that can be used to personify segments in a market-friendly and memorable way?

With these questions in mind, we worked with our client team to develop a segmentation that would deliver the following:

  • A foundational, tumor-agnostic segmentation; consistency across all oncologists means no need to start from ground zero and reduces complexities

  • A north star for subsequent, tumor-specific deep diving and resource allocation

  • A human-centric perspective that allows for product-specific behavior and attitudinal overlays as needed. While behaviors change over time, human-centric qualities like personality and philosophies are enduring.

  • A practical execution plan to avoid redundancies, inefficiencies, and needless delays in getting great ideas to market

To tackle this challenge, we rallied a team of in-house multi-disciplinary experts –social scientists, data analysts, and brand strategists – to lead a 3-phase strategic learning agenda, designed to revisit the historical data with fresh eyes and renewed purpose.

We jumpstarted our initiative with a ‘Stakeholder Discovery’ phase. In this phase, we interviewed key client stakeholders with diverse backgrounds to understand how current branded segmentations function, and how to improve segmentation for optimal results. This information provided a critical framework for understanding the client perspective, giving us a targeted lens through which to explore the data.

Then, we dove into the data headfirst in our ‘Analytics Deep Dive’. Here, we deeply considered consistencies among prior segmentations to determine what was important to each segmentation, to see if there were common important variables across segmentations. This fresh way of thinking generated promising findings. We discovered that, while some variables were unique to certain tumor types, two human-centric variables were important across segmentations.

This breakthrough became our guiding light; with the two tumor-agnostic variables defined, we developed a framework to plot similarities across segments. Then, in our ‘Segment Specification’ phase, we used cluster analysis to identify three unique, human-centric enterprise-level segments. These segments checked all our boxes, providing a clear, over-arching understanding of attitudes, philosophies, and behaviors that exist across all tumor types. Importantly, this way of thinking represented a meaningful paradigm-shift from our client’s status quo, resulting in:

  • A single segmentation for teams and market to rally around

  • A segmentation that is easy to adapt and adopt, amplifying impact and stickiness

  • An enduring foundational base, allowing for quick, highly relevant customization

This new segmentation schema was adopted and embraced across key global markets, but more importantly, it has driven effective activation that has helped improve the brands’ equity and business performance.

To learn more about how we can help you spark transformative outcomes to drive growth for your business and brand, please contact us at [email protected]