Gathering information for segmentation purposes will most likely be done by survey. It may be advantageous to enlist the support of a marketing or Customer Relationship Management service provider in this effort. The most important thing is to gather an effective amount of the most valuable information. Using more than one segmentation method will provide more effective data to work with. Gearing the questions toward the auto repair industry will also improve the usefulness of the data. For example the year, make and model of vehicle driven would be a natural question to include. Following are keys to gathering quality segmentation data:
- Survey the Right Number of People – Statistical analysis guidelines tell us that anything over 25 is a ‘large sample’. However in statistical information gathering – the larger the sample the more accurate the results. Taking into the consideration the cost of gathering and processing the data the largest sample possible will be the most effective.
- Gather Information of Value – Information utilized for market segmentation can be extremely valuable but can sometimes be sensitive. For example, some people may not want to divulge their age or income level but may be OK with answering a question based on a range such as 20-30 years old. Also, since segmentation data is used in a summarized fashion it can be solicited anonymously.
- Analyze Existing Customers – Gathering segmentation data on existing customers will present one or more profiles of the target market that you’ve been successful with. This information can present a picture of a preferred customer or it may depict unintended consequences of marketing efforts employed in the past.
- Segment Prospective Customers – Segmenting the marketplace will yield a picture of potential opportunities. Segmentation data will allow identification of areas of a high or low degree of commonality thus defining the greatest market potential. For example, if segmentation data shows that 50 percent of the market is in the 40-50 year age group with income of 80-100K then developing marketing programs to attract these people would bring positive results.
- Offer Incentives – In today’s world people are very pressed for time. Asking them to fill out a survey is an imposition on what little time they have. Offering an incentive such as a discount on service in exchange for supplying information will encourage more people to participate.