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Market Research

Why now is the time to revisit your segmentation

August 27, 2021 // 8min read

Learn what the dramatic shifts of the last year and a half mean for your current segmentation and how we can help you to build a plan of action.

As a human experience company partnering with leaders across industries, we have faced a fundamental truth: the human experience has evolved. And while people will eventually bounce back and revert to old habits (to a degree), some changes are sure to persist beyond the pandemic — such as group videos, blended delivery models, media streaming, or working from home.

What’s key is exploring these changes, reorienting around new patterns of behavior, and then formalizing how you operate within this new norm. Per Bruce Temkin, Director of Qualtrics’ XM Institute, these are the three essential phases for heading back to business.

What do these stages mean for segmentation? Brands need to understand whether their current segmentation frameworks are still relevant and whether their target segments are still behaving the way they once did.

Updating your segmentation is an essential step in formalizing how you operate in the new normal (Termkin’s Phase 3). By revisiting your segmentation, you can reassess who matters most, how to best win with them, and lay a solid foundation for the work to come. Most importantly, you can learn what’s changed, plan for what’s next and make strategic investments in future growth.

More: Find out about the different types of market segmentation.

Acknowledge what’s changed

Regardless of how your segments were originally defined, it may be time to rethink your segmentation strategy. The shifts in both behaviors and beliefs have far-reaching impacts on the defining behavioral and psychographic variables of many segmentation solutions.

For example, consumer behaviors evolved with the rapid acceleration of digital commerce and the adoption of new delivery models over the past 18 months.

Even some psychographic traits that served to define segments may need to be revisited. After all, the last year and a half didn’t just change how people bought groceries or the number of virtual meetups they attended. The pandemic greatly impacted people’s sense of security, safety, and trust. Ideals became more entrenched and beliefs became more polarizing. There are new, clearer divides across your consumers and customers — and old segmentation schemes may no longer hold.

More: Find out how to drive product design and profits with customer segmentation.

Don’t wait to start planning

You’ve seen the headlines and read the stats. You understand at a macro level how the world has evolved. But the truth is, your customer base probably doesn’t look exactly like the broader population. You need to contextualize these trends within your customers and business. Different businesses and industries face unique long-term implications that require a more customized approach.

If you’ve invested in a segmentation before, you’re already familiar with the power of a more customized approach. Still, some organizations may be wondering if now is the right time to reinvest in foundational research when it seems like the world still hasn’t solidly landed in our “new normal.”

But consider that the major shocks and shifts have already happened. While some behaviors may continue to ebb and flow with the pandemic, we are unlikely to experience another sea change like we did in the spring of 2020. Companies that aren’t starting to formalize and operationalize their post-pandemic strategy — with a revisited segmentation at the core — may find themselves left behind.

Go from what to why

At Qualtrics, we partner with companies to understand the different aspects of experience that drive and slow success. It’s easy to look at your company’s internal data to understand what’s happening; we help unleash insight into why.

The thing is, market segmentation can be powerful — but only if done right. At Qualtrics, we apply advanced modeling techniques to deliver smart segmentation that is predictive and actionable. And we make it easier for our customers to integrate their segmentation into future research and reporting.

With this level of insight, you can go from simply understanding what’s happening to assessing why it’s happening and how you can meet the expectations of your customers today.

Now’s the time to revisit your market segmentation and identify high-value consumers and new opportunities to improve your brand, communications, and product strategies in the current climate.


Contact Qualtrics Research Services to get started on your segmentation research