Customer segmentation as ideology and practice #bigdata #beyondsegmentation

“The use of consumer segmentations is also pervasive. Consumer segments are models, whether we consider them as an example of virtualism (Miller, 2002), or as manufactured (Zwick and Knott, 2009), or in the terms of dividuals” (Deleuze, 1992). Segments are managerial models of “consumers” and “consumers” are not (living, breathing) people, yet segments quite literally are brought to life by virtue of naming and psychological profiling (in this case in the “marriage” of transaction-based data with attitudinal research and the assumptions attached to the segment names). As quasi-people,target segment characterizations afford intimacy; they offer a façade of verisimilitude for actual consumption. From these personalized parameters comes deep attachment. We would contend that such abstractions also adhere because they mesh with reigning ideas of personhood, individual control and personal choice, and corresponding notions that consumption is best understood as a single individual making a choice. Such intuitive models of behavior and consumption are thus also likely to persist because such models offer fewer surprises and therefore accrue greater buy-in from managers (Zaltman and Deshpandé, 2001). Of course these individually oriented models of consumption grate in the context of our own allegiance to anthropological modes of analysis. If consumer segmentation annoys us as researchers, it is not only because of the recruiting dilemmas; it is also because of the analytic frame in which they tend to push our work. They do not facilitate an examination of how consumption actually happens in everyday life. They do not allow for an analysis of consumption that would consider processes that involve more than an individual; they close down the possibilities of examining consumption in other terms, for instance in terms of market-things(see Cochoy, 2007, this volume)” | From “Consumer Segmentation in Practice: An Ethnographic Account of Slippage, by Patricia L. Sunderland and Rita M. Denny. In Inside Marketing. Practices, Ideologies, Devices)

Schermata 05-2456431 alle 18.44.31

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Cosimo Accoto

Research Affiliate at MIT | Author "Il Mondo Ex Machina" (Egea) | Philosopher-in-Residence | Business Innovation Advisor |

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