3 reasons most segmentations fail

For years, segmentations have been a hot topic of conversation within the healthcare space, as every stakeholder and organisation grapples to understand the best way to maximise their return on segmentation investment. With a whole host of options available, we thought it would be useful to approach several of our top biopharmaceutical clients to understand the three main barriers they have faced when working with a variety of suppliers.

1. ‘Interesting’ but NOT actionable

An effective segmentation bridges the gap between insight and action. It becomes an invaluable tool to pinpoint, prioritise, and target the most important segments – actionable, not just interesting.

A large proportion of our biopharmaceutical clients reminisced on segmentation studies that unearthed segments that were difficult to recognise and resonate with at a global and local level. A lack of what we refer to as ‘brand hooks’, which made it difficult for them to inform and provide clarity across their messaging, promotional activities, and channels.

Without a clear audience portrait broken down into manageable segments, implementation is often ineffective with most clients citing “too many moving parts” as one of their biggest gripes. In many instances, this ‘unified cross-region segmentation’ translated into a flawed study that was often at the expense of crucial local nuances.

2. Too focussed on current attitudes and behaviours

Without fail, every client we interviewed highlighted the need to future proof their segmentation, with many complaining that studies can quickly lose their relevance. When questioned further, it became obvious that, as an industry, there has been too much of a focus on current attitudes and behaviours. At worst, this can cause a repeat of the study which will impact the return on investment.

As we all know, behaviours can change based on environment and context, which in turn highlights how a study driven by current attitudes and behaviours won’t stand the test of time. This tunnel vision makes it harder to reveal the whole picture for clients – a crucial step we use to create meaningful and long-lasting behaviour change.

A successful solution allows stakeholders at every level to understand how to optimise brand messaging across their desired segments, driving behavioural response across all or most segments.

3. Segments don’t resonate with internal stakeholders

Adoption remains the biggest stumbling block for segmentation studies, with many pharma clients reporting fighting an uphill battle. Without buy-in from all key stakeholders within the organisation, a segmentation study doesn’t live beyond the end of the project.

To bear fruit, our clients recognise the value in us creating a core client-side team who are fully invested throughout the lifecycle of the segmentation development. The benefit of this approach means all the other relevant stakeholders become part of the kick-off sessions and key milestones, but equally aren’t inundated with meeting requests and the wider process.

Equally, without an established client-side team who are invested in these valuable segments and behavioural responses, many segmentations become static pieces of work that just didn’t live up to the hype. These findings need to remain at the core of business decisions and influence marketing decision making across the long term.

At Hall & Partners, we are passionate about designing segmentations that are actionable, prioritise longevity, and are championed by a wide team of key stakeholders. These are built upon our wealth of experience rolling out segmentations, industry best practise and, crucially, thinking from Behavioural Science. This tried-and-tested approach sets us apart, as we help our clients uncover the biases that drive that drive healthcare professional beliefs and behaviours. We recognise that client satisfaction and long-lasting impact comes from informed segment development and meaningful behaviour change all whilst avoiding the three most common segmentation mistakes.

Learn more about Hall & Partners’ work in the Healthcare space

Claire O'Grady
Claire O'Grady
Hall & Partners Health

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A monthly newsletter bursting with thinking on how to grow your brand: from in-depth analysis to practical advice. Sign-up for the latest industry perspectives, insight reports, free-to-attend webinars, and exclusive events.

You can view our privacy policy here. By submitting this form you are opting in to receive occasional brand, marketing and communications insights from Hall & Partners