" ` Needs based consumer segmentation | Haines McGregor

Segmentation models abound – attitudinal, socio-economic, typologies, usage – they all seek to throw light on the part of the market we should target with our brand.

But few really take us to the underlying motives which drive brand choice. Often they tell us everything about the consumer: when, where, what, who…but rarely why.

Some purport to – I’ve seen whiskey segmentation describe how certain subgroups drink some brands ‘for a change’, and in the lottery market how some players buy lotto because they feel their time ‘might have come’. Now whilst these may both may describe what a consumer will say in a focus group as a reason for doing something, can they really be considered representative of the true motive?


We have to go deeper to recognise and understand the real motives, or needs, which drive us to do what we do. And this is where NeedMap – a needs-based segmentation comes in.

Through sensitive probing, it traces all motivations back to core drivers in the human condition – drivers which are often unspoken by the consumer. It will find that a large proportion of lotto playing is about permission to dream – many even buy the ticket a week ahead, to lengthen the dreaming process. For others it is a sociable event – bringing family and loved ones together at the time of the draw.

Its benefits go yet further. NeedMap recognises that consumers are ‘modal’…they have different needs in different contexts. So by comparison with other segmentations which pigeonhole consumers as being of a type, it recognises that the same person can on one occasion be discerning and healthy in their choice of food; and on another they can be wildly hedonistic! (Häagen-Dazs consumers over index as being healthy eaters?!).

So the big pay off is this: NeedMap unites otherwise disparate target consumers. In other words, if you target a need, and not a person, you will pick up everyone who has that need. A 20 year old, a 50 year old!…they will self select, so long as you don’t put barriers up within the comms or the brand which deters one of those sub groups.

Now this is not to say that other segmentations have no value – they can all play a role in shining light on our audience. But NeedMap above all takes you to the real motives. And if you set out to target those, you will be getting much closer to aligning your brand with the subconscious motivations of your consumer…the motivations which unconsciously steer the hand to make a brand choice.