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Whatever happened to the heroes?

The “new” mortgage borrower lifestyle types – “cross-shifters”, “new authentics” and “heros” – described in Standard Life&#39s The Shape of Dreams report (Money Marketing, August 26) are as dangerous as they seem to be enlightening.

Any segment labelling like this always tends to imply that consumer behaviour can be popped into neat pigeonholes and that these pigeonholes describe fundamental and abiding changes in consumer behaviour. Neither is true.

In fact, one could say that such descriptors are constructed only for the convenience of the qualitative market researcher and are not practically useful for the marketer, whether at the intermediary or the originator.

The reality is that each financial marketer needs to examine their particular clientele and catchment in order to develop a targeting strategy that makes sense for their particular circumstances, advisory specialities and product offering.

Anyone who thinks that this process can ever be a simple, off-the-shelf exercise is kidding themselves.

Even more important, targeting profiles need to be refreshed at least every six months. Even small changes in a targeting model can substantially improve the return on investment from marketing activity.

Finally, who says that these behavioural pigeonholes are anything other than temporary? In today&#39s highly leveraged society, a modest movement in the cost of money could see these new “types” disappearing like snow off a dyke.

Market research is all very well but often does not justify seismic shifts in marketing strategy.

Andrew Greenyer

Director of customer relationship solutions & DOC1 product management, Group 1 Software Europe,

Watford, Herts

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