Editor’s note: Michaela Mora is the CEO of Relevant Insights. This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared under the title “How to Make Segmentation Research Actionable.”

Segmentation research helps companies identify groups of current and potential customers or users with the highest profitability potential. This, along with product positioning and target marketing, is one of the pillars of strategic marketing and product development.

This is broadly called “market segmentation” in marketing and market research because we effectively study current and potential buyers and users of products and services. Buyer and user behaviors may differ depending on the roles they adopt at different points in the user experience journey. For example, in video game purchases for minors, in specific segments of the gaming population, the parents are more likely to play the role of buyers as they are the authority figures. At the same time, their kids are most likely to be product users, but they also influence the purchase decision, often by nagging their parents to grant permission or give them money. Depending on the business goals, we may focus on segmenting customers on their buying or user behaviors or a combination of both.

The division (or merging) of roles between buyers, decision-makers, decision influencers and users can be found in many product categories. It is a mistake to assume that only users play a particular role. The roles change based on many factors including demographics, psychographics, market trends and purchase and usage scenarios.

Addressing the myriad roles a customer can take requires different marketing tactics and product positioning to reach the intended market. On the product development side, it may require the development of features to satisfy different needs.

Markets are not homogeneous. They are comprised of individual consumers/users with unique ...