Consumer Needs & Segmentation Analysis: Case Study

Client Situation

A leading media & entertainment company had recently launched a new cruise line to complement their theme park business. Despite a well-publicized launch, booking and occupancy levels were well below initial projections. Management was especially concerned since a second ship was slated to launch within the coming year.

Alliance was asked to work with the Marketing & Sales functions to develop a strategy to reposition the cruise line to rapidly improve booking and occupancy levels.

Alliance Approach

Using primary survey data from 1500 consumers and focus group input, the joint team evaluated several consumer segmentation alternatives before settling on a Needs-Based approach.

Consumer Needs & Segmentation Analysis

The Needs-Based segmentation approach uncovered the following insights:

  • The current marketing campaign built around the single theme of the cruise line being a high quality extension of the core theme park and character experience was ineffective – cruise enthusiasts feared being overrun by kids, theme park loyalists were uncertain what a cruise would offer
  • The underlying needs of target consumers varied significantly – one segment sought to find new ways to enjoy the Character Experience; another segment sought a Common Solution vacation that both kids and parents would enjoy; a third sought an Extended Family experience that included grandparents, other relatives and friends
  • Instead of one broad marketing campaign, targeted “mini-campaigns” were needed to address each segment’s underlying needs and misconceptions. In addition, modifications to on-board programming and amenities would greatly enhance the cruise line’s overall appeal

The team recommended that the single unifying marketing message be supported by separate “mini-campaigns” targeted at high potential customer segments. Each mini-campaign would utilize the optimal mix of media vehicles (e.g., television, print, internet) to communicate carefully tailored marketing messages. The team also made specific recommendations regarding on-board programming and amenities.

Results and Impact

As a result of the team’s recommendations, booking and occupancy levels rose significantly and the second cruise ship experienced a successful launch. The cruise line was able to command a price premium relative to other cruise offerings and became a significant profit contributor to the Theme Park division.