Date of publication: September 1, 1989


Semiometrics is a speciality which is designed to bridge the gap between the qualitative and quantitative approaches of market analysis. It provides a means of explaining behavioural and attitudinal differences by reference to differential sensitivities projected on a corpus of words. To this end, a semantic field composed of 270 basic word-concepts typical of the French population is employed. Each term included was selected for its representativity and semantic stability. The survey consists in submitting this body of terms to a purpose-built sample asked to rank each word on a scale from 3 to -3 according to its positive or negative impact. The points awarded are used to calculate the "distances" between the words and to position these within a space of meanings. The segmentation process then consists in identifying the words which are notably over- or under-rated by one or other group of the sample population. A semiometric analysis can thus reveal the semantic affinities associated with the behavourial characteristics displayed among that sample. Furthermore, SEMIOMETRICS has a considerable attraction for marketing and communication decision-makers. It produces segmentations and typologies expressed in plain words, i.e. referring to the list of terms representative of the particular perceptions of each population segment or type. This explicit presentation avoids confusion of meaning between the denominations of population types and their real characteristics, as well as any ideological or value- judgement bias which might be applied to the segment definitions. Finally, by defining semiotypes in terms of words and concepts, it provides an effective tool for stimulating the reflection and imagination required for pitching the product presentation in harmony with the specific psycho-semantic imprints of a given target population.

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