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Market segmentation: are you a ‘rural vogue’ or a ‘satellite settler’?

Jane Priest, Teaching Fellow

Faculty Blog

Do you live in the country, have a young family, drive a Range Rover and own a big dog? If so, you might be what marketers like to call 'rural vogue'.

In the UK, more and more professionals with families are swapping urban living for the country, while maintaining their city salaries. Digital connectivity and better commuting options are spurring this trend and creating the new phenomenon of ‘ruburbs’ (rural suburbs), according to Experian. As part of its segmentation tool Mosaic, Experian has identified two new consumer groups: ‘rural vogue’ and ‘satellite settlers’.

Those classed as rural vogue are affluent married couples aged 36 to 55 with young children who live in comfortable village homes, with at least four bedrooms, and are willing to commute long distances to work.

The lead consultant at Experian Marketing Services told Marketing Magazine, ‘This group want to live the rural life but in a sense they are not properly rural. They won’t be driving a Land Rover Defender [typical for farmers], they will have something a bit fancier [like a Range Rover Evoque] and they are more likely to have bigger dogs and be interested in horses.’ In fact, rural vogue has the highest level of pet ownership across all of the Mosaic consumer types.

Meanwhile, satellite settlers are aged between 45 and 65, usually with children who have left home. They tend to live slightly further into the country, typically in three-bedroom houses, often in new developments.

Mosaic is a consumer classification tool designed to provide detailed information on the demographics, lifestyles, preferences and behaviours of the UK adult population. Mosaic synthesises over 850 million pieces of information to segment millions of individuals into one of 15 groups and 66 detailed consumer types. Groups include ‘city prosperity’, ‘suburban stability’ and ‘transient renters’.

Marketers see ‘ruburb’ dwellers as an opportunity, with coffee shops and supermarket convenience stores springing up in more rural locations. Have you noticed any other related developments?

I think this trend highlights the importance and benefits of thinking ‘outside the box’ in terms of market segmentation. Traditional market segmentation variables such as demographics and geographical location clearly give useful insight, but marketers also need to consider other, often more difficult to measure psychographic variables, such as lifestyle and attitude. For instance, does ‘cognitive age’ (how old you feel) perhaps offer greater insight than actual age? Creativity in segmentation is likely to be ever more important as the demographic trends we take for granted are turned on their head (see my previous blog article here).

You can read the full Marketing Magazine article here and read more about Experian’s Mosaic here.