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Consumer centric package innovation – Part II – segmentation

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Segmentation for Considered Purchases

If you are buying a car, or an appliance, segmentation plays a very important part. For example, it would not be very surprising that BMW buyers are mostly men in their 40s. It would also be not so surprising to see that their income may be higher than average. As a result, BMW targets a certain demographic/segment. We can continue on with this example, but you probably already understand segmentation plays an important part in considered purchases.

Packaging Segmentation

How do you do package segmentation then, especially considering that the package itself is not the product. Typically, with high-value products, (i.e. an iPod) you can do segmentation on the product itself, and have the package match that segmentation.

In the low value, low involvement category (i.e. your yogurt and its package), would segmentation be useful? Well, the simple answer is, it may not be the right tool. Food products are not always best served by this type segmentation. Let’s look at an example:

Jack: 35 years old, male, high income, professional
Jill: 55 years old, female, low income, housewife

Both of these consumers may be eating the same kind of yogurt from the same package every morning, but Jill may also be eating it in the afternoon. They may both fit the profile, as do perhaps billions of people. Low involvement packaged consumer products do not segment well, unless they are very heavily branded. Then the branding drives the segmentation. (i.e. premium chocolate is tailored for high income segments.)

Person, Product, and Occasion

You may have noticed a pattern. We mentioned a product, an occasion, and a person. These three elements form a consumption triangle for low-involvement products. These elements need to come together for consumption to take place.

Instead of doing segmentation, one needs look at occasions, and how products are consumed in occasions with packages suitable for those occasions. Let’s do another example;

Jack from the previous example, drinks orange juice in the morning during the breakfast occasion, but also drinks it on his way back from the gym in the afternoon in the car. So, in both cases, the product (i.e. orange juice) may be the same, and may possibly have even the same brand. However, the package formats for each occasion are totally different.

The morning occasion may call for a family pack, like a quart, a liter, half gallon, 2 liter, or even gallon sized package. The larger sizes may even have a handle. The afternoon occasion may be a portion pack, less than 0.5 liters, and may have a sport cap on it for consumption on-the-go.

Lastly, the person, Jack in this case, is a heavy user of juice. But segmenting Jack by strictly looking at him from a segmentation perspective (demographics, income, etc.) does not work well. Because juice is consumed across segments, being a basic need as well as a low involvement product. So, if you are going to target advertise for Jack, you need to target Jack in one (or more) of the occasions that he consumes the product.

Picking prototype personas and following them during ethnographic work works well in package innovation. For package concept/prototype testing, in addition to heavy users of the product (for example housewives with big families), testing the extremes gives enveloping information. The extremes depend on the person-occasion-product triangle, but it can be anything ranging from children to aging populations to reduced dexterity individuals (i.e. people with handicaps.)

Previous article: Consumer centric innovation – Part I – consumption circle
Next article: Consumer centric innovation – Part III – ethnographic research

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