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Methods and Measures that Profile Heavy Users

Wansink, Brian and SeaBum Park (2000). Methods and Measures that Profile Heavy Users. Journal of Advertising Research, 40:4, 61–72.

Heavy users can be a critical segment for packaged goods marketers to target. Yet many attempts to profile heavy users have proven to be unsuccessful because of methodological and measurement problems.

This article shows the diagnostic shortcomings of the commonly used mean comparison method of heavy user segmentation, and it presents a clustering method that effectively differentiates different types of heavy users from light users.

Characteristics that differentiate heavy users from light users were collected from academic and commercial studies, and they are shown to relate to five basic lifestyle factors and six personality factors. While providing a key starting point for studying heavy users, they also show the dominant role that personality characteristics (versus lifestyle or demographic characteristics) play in differentiating heavy users from light users.

*The study was conducted at the University of Illinois, former location of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.