Typology versus segmentation

Date of publication: June 15, 1989


Recently psychographic characteristics have become en vogue to typify and to describe groups of people. How fruitful are these psychographic variables, these personal values and value-systems to describe people and to explain behavioural differences such as brand choice? The main question we address to in this paper is how fruitful psychographic variables are to identify market segments and annex to this: how fruitful are consumer typologies for market segmentation purposes. In order to do so, we shall first inventory what approaches there exist to do segmentation research and then evaluate the use of psychographic variables and personal typologies based on such variables. Then the domain-specific segmentation approach, the segmentation methodology and techniques as well as the evaluation of segmentation outcomes will be discussed. In both typology and market segmentation research a number of decisions have to be made. We shall discuss the major decision points involved in such a study, such as: - What person characteristics are chosen to typify people? - What decision to make on the segmentation method? We will also address application issues, such as: - How to evaluate the desioutcomes of a segmentation study. - How to implement the typology or market segmentation results in marketing policy: in product differentiation and communication policy aimed at one or more market segments.

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