If you’re reading this, chances are that you’ve been following the Ebony and Ivory series on SEM segmentation. Congratulations! You’ve made it to the finish line. Thanks for engaging with us on this journey back to the future from LSM to SEM.
I’d love to offer you the reassurance of saying ‘that’s a wrap’ but agile market segmentation conforms more closely to the mythical concept of a perpetual motion machine rather than Einstein’s fixed theory of everything. The market shifts. Consumers change. Research methodologies evolve. And all of those things change exponentially in a digital landscape. So perhaps all we can really say is, Congratulations! You’ve made it to the starting line!
I trust that through the SEM Segmentation Series we have enhanced your understanding of SEM segmentation and the Muller Cluster Model and the role it plays in underpinning reliable media audience measurement and reporting. The series has now been consolidated into a comprehensive and really handy eBook which will map out all the key content points.
The Oxford dictionary defines acumen as the ability to make good judgements and take quick decisions. I would like to coin the term ‘sacumen’ as the ability to make good judgements and take quick decisions about segmentation.
So let’s revisit the SEM model using ‘sacumen’ as the summary guideline
Segmentation: The POPI Act and the constraints it implies for personalized data-driven marketing in a post-cookie environment has been the catalyst for a renewed interest in traditional market segmentation methods.
Agile: Using the socio-economic measure (SEM) segmentation model to navigate through all the open-source industry databases provides us with the reassurance that we a have tool which offers a reliable and agile interpretation of the South African marketplace and media landscape. When it comes to purchasing power the SEM model retains a strong predictive capability: the model can provide both broad product and service landscape perspectives, as well as deep vertical insights at a branded level.
Cluster: As with LSM in the past, the SEM model does offer a 10 segment lens for segmenting the market but functional application is best derived from using Clusters. Or as they are more widely known Supergroups. The Muller Cluster Model consists of five clusters or Supergroups.
UX. The Socio-Economic Model EM model is extremely versatile. SEM is fundamentally a data continuum and is most illustrative when insights are narrated horizontally across the spectrum, not just vertically in pre-determined clusters. This inbuilt versatility allows planners to adjust the lens to create brand specific segments and maximize marketing and media effectiveness. Remember though that using SEM segmentation usually implies a trade-off between targeting wealthy “high-incidence” supergroups and the “high-volume” clusters that constitute the middle market.
Multisource: In a fragmented post-AMPS landscape we are increasingly reliant on this multisource data pool to create a meta-analysis for market and media segmentation. There are a number of free-to-marketer industry databases which collectively offer much of what was previously offered in AMPS and in many instances significantly more. Data fusion is the statistical technique we use to integrate all these datasets in order to produce more accurate, agile and functional insights than those provided by any single-source database.
Evolution. The SEM model has a stronger focus on fixed structural items such as building materials and is less reliant on purchasable technology than LSM: but 9 of the 14 variables which are used to construct the SEM are precisely the same as those used to create LSM. At a functional level the SEM typology merely represents the most recent iteration of a national socio-economic segmentation model. If it looks like a duck! And it quacks like a duck!
New: SEM audience insights are available across all media platforms including digital and social media. But we need to move away from the constraints of traditional media planning and embrace a new reality that the Message is Content. To move from Media Planning to Content Mapping. From a Content Mapping perspective it is vital to go beyond “cost out” size-of-audience calculations and embrace the new “value in” contribution of media to ROI.
So there we have it. The SEM model is reliable, agile and simple to use.
SACUMEN in a nutshell. Or in this case, SACUMEN in a fantastic SEM eBook from Ebony & Ivory.
Gordon Muller is Africa’s oldest surviving media strategist. Author of Media Planning – Art or Science. Mostly harmless! Read his Khulumamedia Blog here.
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