The "Science" and "Art" behind a Great Segmentation Study

by Richard Goosey | Mar 24, 2017

A great market segmentation study in healthcare is one that clearly demonstrates the "science" and "art" that's behind its development and execution. In a launch excellence program, market segmentation sits very early in the process, as it defines your value proposition for your target audience and is a prerequisite for positioning and messaging research. However, just as important is the creative approach that's taken to activate and embed the segmentation among all stakeholders within the organization. This is a pivotal key for ensuring optimal success.

Before we take our first step, we need to keep in mind the basics of market segmentation in healthcare – it defines your target market, it tells you what is motivating for your targets, and therefore it helps you create compelling positioning and messaging for your product. Most importantly, market segmentation needs to move with the times. The approach must be a mixture of science and art, and the deliverables need to bring the segments to life in a way that can't be achieved with PowerPoint slides alone.

Meaningful and actionable HCP and patient research needs to extend beyond attitudinal parameters to a more holistic approach. This includes identifying who the HCP and patients are and what beliefs, affinities and requirements shape their decision-making; determining who to target, how to talk with them and how to best tailor your communication strategy to resonate with them; and uncovering where to find them and the drivers of their current behavior.

We believe there are three components for the successful design and implementation of HCP and patient segmentation research:

  1. Segmentation Analysis – Do the segments make business sense? Will they be "recognized' by sales reps and the wider team? Is there adequate differentiation between segments? Are they actionable? Will segmenting in this way have a positive impact on business?
  2. Bringing the Segments to Life - “Finalization & Visualization” – Here we're looking to put meat on the bone. What are they like? How do they behave? How do we message them? What channels do we use?
  3. Embedding the Segments - “Implementation & Activation” – Finally, we arrive at a point where insights are no longer enough, or as we like to say: Insight (substance) + Clarity (style) = Impact.

In order to truly succeed in market segmentation in healthcare, you need to be open to going beyond PowerPoint, as other media will have greater impact! Think carefully about visual content of deliverables, use video and animation.  Go further, and let the marketing team and other stakeholders meet the segments in a form of speed dating with HCPs and patient representatives. Focusing on key values or attitudes of the segment may be more impactful than what the segment looks like on the surface. And remember, naming a segment is always the last thing you do.

Fully integrating the segments into your organization will maximize your success, as the segments need to resonate with every stakeholder that touches the brand and every customer should understand that their needs are the core focus of your organization.  Great examples exist of companies that do this by creating a business structure focused on the needs of the segment and continuous collecting and improving insights which helps the organization understand and meet their needs, leading to significant brand growth and profitability.    


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