Successful consumer segmentation by juelz11



Successful consumer segmentation
Justin Edge, Senior Vice President at Knowledge Networks, on what best-in-class
consumer segmentation looks like.

Q. Why should pharmaceutical marketers continue to focus on consumers             Q. What about the science?
or patients in this time of increased regulatory vigilance?                       A. Sound analytical tools play an important role. The first of these is the ac-
A. Best practice has shown that a pharmaceutical brand can’t be relevant          tual data. Surveys can be informative only if the sample source is unim-
without a focus on the end-beneficiaries. This is not a license to diminish       peachable. Much research today is conducted online, but many online
the influence of professionals like doctors and pharmacists. Instead, brand-      panels do not have the statistical rigor to ensure accuracy. The old mantra
ed pharma therapies have to better manage their interaction with multiple         of ‘garbage in, garbage out’ has never been more relevant.
constituencies, patients/consumers being among                                                                   Many of these online panels are made up of
the most important. The sweet spot for pharma                                                               volunteers who are nothing more than representa-
brands nowadays is the alignment of patient bene-                                                           tives of those who chose to take part, and certain-
fits with those of professionals. The most effective                                                        ly can not be characterized as representative of
stewards of pharma brands understand that pa-                                                               some larger population. In fact, weighting these
tients are not an optional extra when it comes to de-                                                       volunteer data can not make up for the inherent bi-
veloping and strengthening their brands.                                                                    ases. At Knowledge Networks (KN), we have a pref-
                                                                                                            erence for very precise data sources such as our
Q. Given the increased scrutiny of DTC communi-                                                             KnowledgePanel, the only nationally representative
cations, do you see a rollback of consumer brand-                                                           online panel in the US. It is why KnowledgePanel is
ing efforts?                                                                                                used to accurately size consumer segments.
A. No, but the management of brands is maturing.                                                                 Cutting-edge analytical tools in the hands of
The emphasis is no longer on indiscriminate aware-                                                          the right practitioners can also enhance the seg-
ness building and driving traffic into physicians’ of-                                                      mentation solution. KN’s expertise in Latent
fices. We are now seeing a level of sophistication                                                          Class Segmentation is one such tool/knowledge
that was often lacking in blockbuster pharma                                                                combo that helps us build richer, more textured
brands. Patient-directed efforts like compliance                                                            segmentations.
programs and physician locator systems are now             Justin Edge is SVP at Knowledge Networks
                                                           and leads the company’s healthcare and
an integral part of the marketing mix, instead of                                                           Q. What are the biggest mistakes made when
                                                           pharmaceutical practice.
after-thoughts bolted on during the later stages of                                                         conducting consumer segmentation?
a product’s life cycle.                                                           A. The key ingredient to a successful segmentation is focus at the planning
                                                                                  stages with an eye on the issues to be addressed. The first step should be
Q. What does a best-in-class consumer segmentation look like?                     to get all of the stakeholders who will use a segmentation to sit at a table
A. A well-honed segmentation can combine visible elements, including de-          and share their needs and concerns. This may take extra time, but it also
mographics, behavior and other criteria used to reach targets, with intan-        increases the actionability of the investment. I can predict a disconnect
gible elements such as needs, attitudes and concerns. Advanced analytical         when this step is bypassed in favor of just ‘getting the survey into field’.
tools currently permit the fusion of different inputs to create genuinely 360-         Another mistake is to handle the process as an order-delivery model.
degree portraits of market segments. A sound segmentation should also             Arriving at the optimal segmentation is iterative and requires plenty of back
answer questions such as:                                                         and forth. Action planning workshops are great ways to flesh out the data
                                                                                  so that you avoid ‘slide fatigue’. Workshops also provide a forum to en-
• What are my attractive target segments?                                         hance segment insights by incorporating a brand team’s own thinking,
• How large and deep is the opportunity within each segment? And                  rather than serving up the research in a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ style. This
   across segments?                                                               bridges the gap from insights to action.
• How can the brand exploit the opportunity while managing compet-                     One area that is under-explored is gauging the use of non-tradi-
   itive threats?                                                                 tional media for reaching consumer segments. CPG and technology
• What story can we build for our brand that will attract target segments?        firms have led the way with the adoption of non-traditional marketing,
• What communication vehicles and media can we use to have a conver-              but these avenues are rarely investigated in pharma segmentation
   sation with these segments?                                                    studies that tend to play it safe with the measurement of TV, radio and
• Are there synergies across segments that will unlockmarketing efficiencies?     print media habits. I encourage clients to think about online and mo-
• What DTP strategies would work well with target segments versus those           bile tools to reach segments when that segment has those media con-
   that would turn them off?                                                      sumption characteristics .


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