Circle Insights

Key hints and tips on making attitudinal segmentations actionable on your database

Louise Foster

Attitudinal segmentations are typically created using data from qualitative surveys. They can be powerful in delivering rich insight into supporter mindsets and provide a framework for charities to engage the public through the in-depth understanding of general motivations.

Being able to treat supporters consistently through the marketing funnel helps to build a relationship with your supporters and deliver them messages which connect, driving their engagement. Once someone becomes a supporter, they want to see the same messages which resonated with them being reflected in their journey with you. With the impact of Covid, we’ve also seen the acceleration of some of the more traditional charity heartland moving to digital channels and it is more important than ever to ensure your messaging resonates with these newly digital audiences to ensure their retention.

With this in mind, being able to make your attitudinal segmentation actionable on your database can be a key part of your supporter engagement strategy. As attitudinal segmentations are usually based on surveying a smaller sub-group and not based on data which can be applied to supporters on the database, bridging attitudinal segmentations can be a challenge and is not always a straight forward process, but it is a great way to provide a consistent supporter experience. We recently chaired a roundtable with the charity sector where our expects shared some of their key hints and tips on how to approach the challenge of bridging an attitudinal segmentation.

Part 1: The challenge of bridging an attitudinal segmentation on to your supporter base

There are no two ways about it – data is the key at the heart of tackling this challenge and making it actionable. We’ve summarised the 5 key questions you need to start with when approaching this challenge:

  1. Where and who created the segments? Were the segments created by your organisation or a media/research partner? This is key to understanding if you can get to the raw data or in understanding what granularity of data you can get hold of.
  2. What data is there? Do you have access to the responder level data or tables by segment, or pen portraits? What data you can reach will determine the method of bridging that can be used.
  3. Were questions posed just to your supporter base or the wider population? What types of questions were asked? Were these really personal to your charity or more generalised questions? These are considerations that may impact on the resulting solution.
  4. Are there any behavioural traits reported within the data that were part of the same survey? Wider data outside of pure attitudes can be helpful to model this back to the database.
  5. Were any demographic questions asked, or was postcode captured? This can be useful to help the process of creating the link between the segments and your supporter base.

Whilst it is a challenge to bridge an attitudinal segmentation, the questions above will help identify how simple or complex the solution will be for you.

CACI is in a unique position with a UK wide dataset on all adults, with more than 600 variables that we can use to profile and create proxy variables to support the possibility of a successful bridging exercise.

We’ve summarised some of the key techniques that can be used to do the bridging based on the granularity of the data that you have access to below:

  • Responder level data – this is the most granular form of data and as such will give the most accurate results. Techniques here include modelling each of the segments out using a mix of the responder data and CACI’s data to score this up against your supporter database, before validating this back against the responder panel.
  • Tables by segment – we can compare each supporter’s results to the segment averages based on a combination of multiple data points. Validation is key through profiling and sense checking the segment distribution.
  • Pen portraits – here we would use a rules-based approach to recreate the segments based on high level views of the segment. You want to capture the different blend of information that you have to bridge the data. As before, the final step of validation is important to ensure the accuracy of the solution.

In the instance that you can’t get to the raw data or don’t have this available there are a few other options that can support:

  1. Surveying the whole supporter base with golden questions – though be aware responses can often be skewed to particular segments and some supporters may be more inclined to answer than others
  2. Adding the golden questions on to market panels – this will provide more demographic and behaviour traits which support with the bridging process

Part 2: Considerations at the start of the journey of an attitudinal segmentation

If you’re considering the benefits of creating an attitudinal segmentation, there are a few hints and tips we would advise to bear in mind before you start on your journey. Our first tip would be to include some supporter traits. Including additional questions such as demographic markers i.e postcode, gender and age band, will support the ability to map the segmentation on to the database.

Engaging with other teams across your wider organisation is a key part of the process to ensure the segmentation will meet your goals and provide value across teams. This will help flesh out what the segmentation will be used for now and also in the future, and support in knowing what you need from the segmentation and building it accordingly. It is also key in getting buy in as early as possible to ensure teams are engaged when the solution is rolled out.

Another solution would be to build the segments first and then use research to enhance them with attitudinal values. This solution can work well with one of the benefits of running focus groups to bring life to the segments, rather than using the attitudes to drive the segmentation.

Ultimately, it’s about finding the right balance that works for you – what does your organisation need and want from the segmentation? Attitudinal segmentations can bring excellent insights but are limited in their applications across a database – fundamentally it’s a process of ensuring that, through engaging the whole organisation, your solution is optimised in order to meet your strategic aims.

If you’d like to know more about how we can support you through this journey, please do get in touch and we can discuss your challenges in more detail.

Contact us now
Louise Foster