6. 6. Consumer Segmentation in Practice: An Ethnographic Account of Slippage

Patricia L. Sunderland and Rita M. Denny

in Inside Marketing

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199576746
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191724916 | DOI:
6. 6. Consumer Segmentation in Practice: An Ethnographic Account of Slippage

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This chapter uses the dual roles of participant and outsider to contextualize the production of a particular market research practice, consumer segmentation, in real time. The goal is to show that while consumer segments exist as abstractions (and thus come to have a life of their own within marketing discourse and practice), their constitution and persistence occurs within a messy matrix of social relationships, with attendant obligations, attachments, and desires. This is an examination of ways consumer segmentation practices enmesh and sometimes ensnare those closest to their production and whose persistence is grounded by embedded cultural assumptions about consumption. By focusing on the microcosm of interactions — the phone calls, e-mails, conversations, report texts — it hopes to illuminate the fodder with which practice and ideology are co-constituted in real time.

Keywords: consumer segmentation; consumer research; cultural analysis; ethnography; market research

Chapter.  11748 words. 

Subjects: Marketing

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