Market Segmentation Procedure

Marketers use a three-step procedure for identifying market segments:

1. Survey stage. The researcher conducts exploratory interviews and focus groups to gain insight into customer motivations, attitudes, and behavior. Then the researcher prepares a questionnaire and collects data on attributes and their importance ratings, brand awareness and brand ratings, product-usage patterns, attitudes toward the product category, and respondents' demographics, geographics, psychographics, and mediagraphics.

2. Analysis stage. The researcher applies factor analysis to the data to remove highly correlated variables, then applies cluster analysis to create a specified number of maximally different segments.

3. Profiling stage. Each cluster is profiled in terms of its distinguishing attitudes, behavior, demographics, psychographics, and media patterns, then each segment is given a name based on its dominant characteristic. In a study of the leisure market, Andreasen and Belk found six segments:10 passive homebody, active sports enthusiast, inner-directed self-sufficient, culture patron, active homebody, and socially active. They found that performing arts organizations could sell the most tickets by targeting culture patrons as well as socially active people.

Companies can uncover new segments by researching the hierarchy of attributes that customers consider when choosing a brand. For instance, car buyers who first decide on price are price dominant; those who first decide on car type (e.g., passenger, sport-utility) are type dominant; those who first decide on brand are brand dominant. With these segments, customers may have distinct demographics, psychographics, and mediagraphics to be analyzed and addressed through marketing programs.11

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