I have seen every type of push segmentation known to mankind at this stage. The classic (or not so classic depending on how you look at it) ‘socio-economic’ approach (which in reality is more economic than anything else), to ‘life event’ approaches all the way through to more fad like approaches ‘occasions’ etc.
I am not necessarily saying these approaches are ‘wrong’ but I think it is time to consider turning things on their head and focus on group ideologies as a more human, maybe less fully formed approach to understanding our desires and motivations. I read a lot about the ‘Millennial’ segments and the ‘Gray Pound’ segment and the ‘Occasional Investor’ segment and to me it doesn’t hit the spot. We need to go deeper- all these ‘segments’ are smaller subsets of something bigger.
A different question we could ask is
‘what ideology groupings can we identify across human islands (culturally/socially etc) and how can we create real resonance and meaning within those groupings?
By doing this we can start to explore some of the conflicts and inherent contradictions that may exist between the ideology of the brand and the ideology groupings we are attempting to ‘engage’.
It also enables a broader canvas to find new and breakthrough insights that will lead to unexpected paths of resonance for the end consumer (human being).
To take one sector as an example let’s look at financial services (retail banking if we want to get more specific). Lots of segmentation activity there and we also see huge press coverage on things like ‘fin-tech’. And yet in all of this activity I see a lot less discourse about ‘fin-ology’- what are the new, growing ideological groupings and how do these groupings view traditional or alternative mechanisms to how they might fund their lives. Exploring the inherent conflicts and contradictions based on that statement will move us beyond the usual insights or regorgeitated assumptions. What about a bank for people who are ideologically opposed to the very idea of a bank?
Ideology might be more than just the new segmentation- it may actually be the new marketing- when was the last time you saw a company with their own very clear ideology or a company focusing on resonating with ideological groupings?