Ever wonder about the potential of specific consumer groups in your market? In this article, Tom Jan Ketelaar, market intelligence specialist at Bugaboo, shows you how Bugaboo uses consumer segments to align marketing with their business growth aspirations.
Bugaboo, the brand mostly known for its innovative strollers, started 24 years ago. At that time, the company introduced a revolutionary baby stroller, which turned into a worldwide success. Co-founder, Max Barenbrug, has always been fascinated by wheels. He engrained his vision into his companies' DNA and defined the course for the next 20 years to come: to create mobility solutions to make moving from A to B fun and easy.
Bugaboo always aspired to be more than a stroller brand. The general vision of the company is to be a mobility brand. This vision has recently resulted in the introduction of a new product line: a unique luggage system.
From the start, the company’s product solutions have always been inspired by that vision and to a lesser degree driven by the insights stemming from extensive consumer research.
New products emerged to cater to a potential need and were developed with the goal to improve mobility. This vision resulted in new breakthrough products pushed to the market with a design-driven marketing approach. Consumer diversification was product lead as well: a compact stroller for consumers in the city and a rough terrain version with bigger wheels for consumers living in the countryside.
Over the years Bugaboo was able to position itself as the premium brand for baby strollers that people valued enough to pay the high-segment prize.
Changing marketing approach
As competition increased over time, Bugaboo also had to change their research approach. From a product-driven focus to a consumer-driven focus. In today’s global economy where consumers buy products online from all over the world, it is challenging though critical for a brand like Bugaboo to know who their consumers are. Bugaboo decided they needed to have a tool, a model to help them understand drivers of consumer behavior. Glocalities has proven to be that model. They started working with Glocalities three years ago, as of the time of this interview.
Understanding consumer drivers
Bugaboo realized they needed to know more about the consumer drivers, beyond the post-purchase rationalized choice of specific product features. Over time they learned that people’s motivation to buy a stroller is not just driven by the product benefits.
Before Bugaboo used Glocalities, consumer groups were based on a common sense approach - not backed with lots of data. People may either feel attracted to Bugaboo by its product performance, its sophisticated styling or from a more aspirational angle.
Although that segmentation served its purpose for some time, it was too simplistic to remain useful in today’s global economy – besides for it not being backed up by data.
Glocalities values-based model
Bugaboo decided to embrace the Glocalities values-based segmentation model. Not only did it fit with the culture of Bugaboo – while making use of the ’freedom’ and ‘innovation’ dimensions – but it also offered insights into the potential of consumer groups across various countries.
Bugaboo’s head office is located in Amsterdam, but Bugaboo has additional offices in 15 other countries. The Glocalities segmentation model turns out to be a good starting point for the global level and then translating things to local markets in the various countries.
Consumer segments can be very abstract, and so marketing intelligence had to find a way to make these consumer segments concrete and tangible. The solution was to work with personas. These are real-life descriptions of consumer groups, also identifiable with specific celebrities.
Glocalities allowed the company to understand its internal culture and values as well. By inviting employees to complete the Glocalities survey, they started to understand the model better and learn about themselves regarding Glocalities characteristics. It then became more concrete and made the whole process of working with segments much more fun.
Glocalities not only showed Bugaboo what types of value-based segments the company represents, but also what specific segments were either over or under-utilized in the market.
By combining Glocalities data with a consumer journey project, Bugaboo was able to relate specific orientation and purchase behavior to the Glocalities segments.
It now becomes clear how the segments behave differently and how this best can be addressed to improve overall conversion.
The next step, or challenge if you will, is to translate consumer insights into practical info for sales staff. Ideally shopping consumers are helped according to their needs, and obviously, these are not for all segments the same. Of course, it will be challenging to get things across to the very level of personal contact!
Three tips to make this work
Tom Jan shared three tips for any brand or company that is thinking about using consumer segments for their marketing strategy:
Tip1: “No consumer is the same, but n=1 is not workable. Therefore, accept the limitations each segmentation model has, and use it to help you create customized approaches for specific consumer groups. Using consumer segments, backed by solid data, is much better than working on messaging to cater to the needs of ‘the average consumer’ – as he/she simply does not exist. And be sure to use a model that fits with your company’s beliefs and values. The Bugaboo way of thinking is well aligned with the values-based Glocalities segmentation model, and that is why it is working so well. Even better than expected.”
Tip2: “To get this process off the ground you need to have stakeholders that support you. To earn their support, you need to show them how this process will help them reach their goals. Make it a joint effort.”
Tip3: “Invite your employees to participate in the process. Doing the Glocalities survey helped to create people’s interest in this model and understanding its potential. Bugaboo employees can now identify themselves and their colleagues as one of the Glocalities segments, and specific behavior is even explained by using the model. Doing the survey makes it much more concrete for people – they embrace the model and are eager to work with it. That’s an important condition to be successful.”
Today’s global economy requires brands to know more about consumers than just their geographical location or socio-demographic characteristics. To create consumer understanding, you will need to have insights into their drivers, values, and lifestyles. Why do they make that decision? By aligning your brand values with the ones of your consumers, you’ll remain relevant, successful and will build long-term relationships with consumers. Glocalities has proven to be a beneficial and fun segmentation model to identify five values-based consumer segments and learn which segments offer the greatest potential. By combining those segments with the consumer journey, you will learn what needs to be done precisely at each stage of the journey to move from consumer awareness to action.
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