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Study target group analysis through segmentation – Swissmilk

Dino Demarchi

Target group analysis through segmentation - the key to efficient marketing measures using the example of Swissmilk

Understanding customers better and addressing them more specifically, for example through product improvements and/or communication measures, is the focus of target group analyses using segmentation approaches.

As an example of such target group segmentation, we will show you how Swissmilk works to represent the interests of Swiss milk producers. Who buys Swiss milk and milk and meat products? What are the relevant reasons for buying Swiss products? What is important to consumers? How can the purchase of Swiss products be made more attractive? As Swissmilk is confronted with the trend of foreign purchases and the increase of foreign food in Swiss supermarkets, these are the questions that concern them. intervista supported Swissmilk with a target group analysis through a market segmentation to get answers.

But how are such target group segmentations realised? And how can the segments be made useful?

Step 1 - Segmentation

For such questions, cluster-analytical procedures are suitable, for example, which reveal similarity structures in data sets and are widely used in practice. The goal of segmentation measures is to group customers in such a way that the differences between the customers of a group or a “cluster” are as small as possible (homogeneous clusters) and the differences between the clusters are as large as possible (heterogeneous clusters).

Depending on the objective, the clusters can be formed according to general characteristics on the basis of common socio-demographic and psychographic variables or on the basis of topic- or product-specific variables.

In practice, there are various methods to choose from that are suitable for customer segmentation depending on the question and the data basis. These include hierarchical, partitioning and two-step procedures, which can be combined to determine an optimal cluster solution.

In the case of the Swissmilk study, a nationally representative sample collected via online survey formed the basis for the customer segmentation. A total of 2,000 people from the intervista Online-Panel from German- and French-speaking Switzerland were asked about their general and food-specific shopping behaviour, their values and attitudes, their origin and other relevant topics.

Using hypothesis-based classification and two-step cluster analysis, a total of three buyer types were formed, the distribution of which can be seen in Figure 1:

Step 2 - Profiling

After the final number of clusters or segments had been determined, the next step was to work out the characterising features of the segments. Only when the segments are meaningfully differentiated from each other in terms of content can a segmentation be considered successful and serve as a basis for target group-oriented marketing.
In the so-called profiling of the segments, further descriptive variables are used in addition to the variables used for clustering. With the help of mean value comparisons or contingency analyses, for example, it is examined to what extent the segments differ in this respect.

The results of the study show that the three buyer types differ significantly in their buying behaviour. Through further analysis procedures, precise profiles of these three target groups were developed and intuitively “fitting” names were given to them:

The main findings can be compiled as a profile or short profile. These profiles do not have to consist only of “numbers”, but can be enriched with illustrations (photos, illustrations and graphics), which makes them more tangible as well as more understandable and fills them with life. For Swissmilk, all relevant and differentiating information of the data set was summarised for these three types in the form of a consumer profile, which is shown as an example in Figure 3:

Thanks to this elaboration, Swissmilk has obtained valuable information with which consumers can be addressed in a more targeted manner in the future and offers and measures can be designed according to the needs of the customers.

Would you like to learn more about the possibilities of target group analyses and segmentations? Please contact us for further details.

Felix Bernet
Felix Bernet
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