Richard Masters                                                  

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Welcome to my personal blog.


In this blog I give my personal views on some of the key business issues facing SME's.


I take the general view that small business is poorly served in this area because it is dominated by people who ultimately have commercial self interest at heart.

By richard masters, Apr 8 2013 11:42AM

The recent publication by the BBC of a new classification of social groups in the UK, including a calculator, has created a huge amount of interest and debate- much of it hugely amusing!

I have to come clean- here is mine. Seems about right to me! (note to myself: must get out more and meet different people)

You can calculate yours here.

Now that the hullabaloo has subsided it is instructive to ask the question: "Is this of any relevance or use in Marketing ?"

Traditional approaches to classifying customers

Classifying customers into groups has always been central to marketing both for understanding customer behaviour and targeting particular groups based on their attributes.

It has been possible to identify four distinct approaches in the past:

1. Socio-demographic groups. Such as Social Class and Socio-Economic Groups (SEG's)

2. Generational Groups ( Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Y, Z etc)

3. Personas ( behavioural characterisations)

4. Hybrid Groups ( combinations of the above types)

( for more details of these types see this Slideshare presentation)

The new Social Types

The three criteria used are based on the concept of "capital" and are:

-Economic capital

-Social capital

-Cultural capital

From a marketers perspective, what is interesting about the new approach is that it is really an extension and refinement of the Socio-demographic approach but with the addition of Culture which I guess either forms a new classification or makes it a hybrid group. Generational and Persona perspectives are largely subsumed within the cultural capital element.

So will this be useful for marketers?

My initial view is that the short answer may well be yes: In more detail

1. It appears a more up-to-date and contemporary basis than Social Class and SEG and could usefully supersede these classifications.

2. For B2C marketers, especially those concerned with promoting lifestyle brands, it could be a useful framework to look at the 3'a's: aspirations, associations and affiliations.

3. It provides a more comprehensive basis for the definition of hybrid groups and can be usefully used in conjunction with generational groups and individual personas to provide more highly targeted market groups.

Clearly, they will not replace the use of personas and generational groups, but where a broad brush approach is required, they certainly should provide useful perspective and are certainly more relevant than existing socio demographic approaches.

Only time will tell if these groups will actually prove to be useful from an operational marketing perspective, but I suspect they may well emerge in the lingua franca of marketing speak over the next few years!

What do you think?

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