5
Oct

The Question Remains, Have You Lost Sight of Your Target Customer?

The questions remains, have you lost sight of your target customer?

By: Kea Wheeler, Senior Project Director

Last week we talked about how population subsets identified with the help of segmentation algorithm screeners can help reach out to a target market and target customer in a more personal way.

So what’s the solution to using segmentation algorithm screeners in Qual recruiting?

Segmentations and their series of algorithm questions will not cease to exist. They are a valuable tool to marketers and market researchers alike. But how might one integrate these algorithm questions into qualitative recruitments? I would argue that if you are looking for the perfect target, then the algorithm questions should be the entire screener. If it has already been proclaimed that those who answered the questions a certain way, these are your “Savvy Savers,” and so why ask anything else?

There are instances where the addition of certain types of questions to an algorithm screener cannot be avoided.  For example:

  • Gender:
    • Know the product and the objectives and you will know if you need to recruit only one gender.
  • Household income:
    • Asking household income may be wise, such as in luxury goods research, as the participating consumers need to be able to afford the product or service being discussed.
  • Lifestage:
    • The introduction and/or removal of a spouse or children into or out of the home changes priorities, which changes a consumer’s needs and wants. This ultimately changes how they consume.
  • Age, but sparingly:
    • Age is just a number and shouldn’t be used if it is not relevant to the product or service. This is the same for generational cohorts. Boomers and Millennial Savvy Savers should “look” the same, at least on paper.

But overall, I encourage the addition of outside questions to a segmentation algorithm screener be used judiciously. If it is found that more and more questions are being added to a screener to get to the “perfect target,” it may just be that the screener is not being used to reach the desired customer identified in the segmentation study. The screener has instead become a tool to find consumers who may want the product/service the company has produced.

The greatest advantage of limiting the number of additional questions to an algorithm screener is that it will provide a purer recruit to the original algorithm. A purer recruit will lead to the right target group. And the right target group will provide better and more actionable insights to be gleaned from the qualitative study. That’s a win for the entire company.

Secondary advantages may include:

  • Qualitative projects are easier to recruit as there is a larger number of people that may qualify for the research
  • There may be more recruiters that are willing to take on the challenge of finding the people for the study
  • It may just keep that nagging voice in the back of your head that says “can we even recruit this?” at bay

Whichever of these advantages may speak to you the most, remember, the goal is to get back to recruiting the desired target market to find out the collective opinions about your company’s current line-up of products and services. By doing so, you may just rediscover your true target customer.