New Research Methods
Developing and Validating Useful Consumer Prototypes
This paper introduces a technique called "Customer Profiling," which provides a very clear starting point for psychographic research and for market segmentation. Customer Profiling uses a laddering procedure to describe a very specific member of a target subsegment in detail. The assumption is that the insights obtained from describing and analyzing this individual can frequently be generalized across a broader segment.
To examine the effectiveness of this technique, two groups of marketing managers and account managers were asked to describe three segments of adults who would be most likely to be members of a public radio station. One group was told they could use any segmentation method they wanted, while the other group of managers was asked to use customer profiling.
Those managers using the customer profiling technique were significantly more accurate in predicting membership status than those managers who had instead used conventional segmentation methods.
For more information see Wansink, Brian (1994), "Developing and Validating Useful Consumer Prototypes," Journal of Targeting, Measurement and Analysis for Marketing, 3:1, 18–30 � 1994 Henry Stewart Publications. Reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan. This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript. The definitive published version of this extract may be found at www.palgrave–journals.com.
Brian Wansink, PhD
Food and Brand Lab, Director
110 Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
*The study was conducted at the University of Illinois, former location of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.