A successful segmentation study is a true process of collaboration between a client and their research consultant. In a past blog post (secrets to a successful segmentation, https://rsginc.net/secrets-successful-segmentation), we discussed the need to engage in a stakeholder consultative phase. These are essential to launching a successful segmentation within your organization. This enables those who are conducting the research and those within the organization who are guardians of the research to clearly understand what segmentation research can achieve and deliver. Through an initial phase of discussion and alignment, the key users of the segments can understand what information they will have and can start planning accordingly. This phase is key to build excitement, but also to manage expectations.
These stakeholder consultations can take many forms, but we find that the following approaches deliver the best results:
- One-on-one interviews. These are ideal for the most senior members of your organization. It enables participants to talk more freely and ensures the focus of the discussion is on their needs and business objectives.
- Small group discussions. These are often the best approach for talking to marketing teams or brand/product teams. The team can discuss their needs and the group dynamic and conversation can lead to greater clarity around the business challenges they are facing, and the key questions the segmentation research should address.
- Large group presentations. This is an option to inform large teams or frontline staff about what the research will achieve, and how it will help them in their day-to-day work. These often help wider teams feel engaged and excited about the major investment their organization is making in driving the future direction of the company.
Regardless of the approach, a critical output of this phase is a document summarizing the feedback. This enables the central segmentation team to understand the business priorities. There are often common themes/business needs that emerge and the discussion can ensure as much as possible is covered within the project scope and often provide information that other research can cover or is already covering. This document also starts the process of segmentation enculturation as the central team can understand the objectives of each business team, and start to plan reporting needs accordingly.