LONDON: Three-dimensional audience segmentation is useful up to a point but adding the fourth dimension of the subconscious can turn broad-brush segmentations into much more focused ones, according to an industry figure.

Writing in the current issue of Admap, Heather Andrew, CEO of research business Neuro-Insight, argues that the traditional ‘three dimensions’ of audience segmentation – who people are, what they do, and how they (say they) think and feel – overlook the essential unpredictability of human beings.

“If you are looking at how often people go online or how many pets they have, they’re generally going to be pretty good at telling you,” she notes.

“But, when it comes to understanding attitudes and actions that have a stronger emotional component, ignoring the subconscious – the ‘fourth dimension’ – can be a huge omission.”

Neuroscience can provide a new and different segmentation approach based directly on brain response, she asserts. (For more details, read the full article: Segmentation through brain response.)

So, for example, an initial segmentation of consumers on the basis of their subconscious ‘engagement’ response to a brand can be supplemented with more detailed analysis of their brain responses based on that segmentation to identify which aspects of what they have seen are most polarising, as a way of understanding the drivers of brand affinity.

Similarly, implicit responses in brand perception tests can be linked to brain data, and the audience segmented on the basis of those whose perceptions shifted most with this then being compared to those whose perceptions shifted least in order to determine which elements of the communication drive changes in response.

Such approaches can, in some situations, highlight shortcomings in traditional demographic segmentation, says Andrews.

“In order to gather truly meaningful and actionable insights, marketers and researchers will gain the best results by layering their findings on top of one another, using the intersections and segmentations created to produce the most effective and compelling work,” she concludes.

Sourced from Admap