How to name your segments

Richard Walker, director at Mustard, shares his advice on how to go about naming segments derived from market research.

Over a 20 year career, Richard has managed and overseen several segmentation research programmes – nationally and internationally. These have included segmentations in telecommunications, food and drink, financial services, leisure, pharma, higher education, professional services and the public sector.

In recent years Mustard has segmented many diverse audiences – nightclubbers, accountants, physicians, young people, gamers, students and golfers to name but a few.

How to name your segments?

What’s in a name?

We believe there are four golden rules when naming your segments if you want your segmentation to resonate and make a difference.

1. Focus on what derived the segments. Your creative energy should be directed towards finding descriptors that relate directly to statements or factors that pulled the segments apart in the statistical analysis. For a needs-based segmentation this should be something related to the need. Likewise for a behavioural or attitudinal segmentation. Avoid describing segments demographically – or that is what will stick in the minds of those you need to use the segments.

2. Get internal teams involved in the process. The more people from different areas of the business that are involved, the better chance the segmentation has of permeating through and positively influencing behaviour and decision making. Have fun with it!

3. Avoid giving them “human” names. Calling a segment Bert, Reginald, Angelica or Veronica might seem like a good way of humanising segments, but it can be misleading – particularly if the segmentation is not derived by demographics. Rather, we recommend pen portraits that show segments in various contexts and situations – with a range of ages – reflective of the fact that some segments might be more likely to be younger or older – but not exclusively so.

4. Research and road test them! Finally, test and get feedback on the names from more internal stakeholders as you roll-out the segmentation and begin the embedding process. Check they make sense, and follow up with individuals after these sessions to gauge which names stick! Understand not only which names are more likely to be remembered, but also the order in which they are typically recalled. If a name is not readily remembered then it probably isn’t doing its job.

For more information about market research segmentations and the naming process, feel free to contact Richard on +44 (0)161 235 5270.