The Market Segmentation Company

The Market Segmentation Company (tMSC) was established in 1995 by Malcolm McDonald, until 2003 Professor of Marketing and Deputy Director Cranfield University School of Management in the UK, where he is now an Emeritus Professor, and Ian Dunbar*, a leading practitioner in customer focused segmentation. Our team also includes Marcus Clark who has been working along with Malcolm McDonald since 1994 and is a leading practitioner in strategic marketing and business. We provide a centre of expertise and a resource pool for companies wanting to conduct market segmentation projects and then position these segments at the heart of their marketing strategy.

At the core of our work is the only fully documented practical approach to customer focused segmentation, an approach designed to identify which groups of customers the organization should be targeting and the propositions it should offer in order to generate the greatest contribution to a company's shareholder value.

For organizations where profit is not the goal, our approach will identify the different aspirations of their target groups and therefore the most appropriate strategies.

Successful segmentation projects require a rigorously planned structure as well as time. Our approach provides the structure and the detailed framework for your project plan. In addition, our people can either complement your in-company resources, working alongside the selected team on a segmentation project, or take on the segmentation project on behalf of your company (though we would insist on engaging key personnel at strategically important stages of the project).

What we offer

  • Specialist expertise which ensures that the customer insights required for developing successful propositions are secured.
  • A clearly defined and rigorously tested process producing tangible commercial results, backed by academic rigour.
  • Assignments approached as a partnership, working with our client companies as part of a team, enabling our skills to become embodied in the team and the IP resident within the client company.
  • A high level of integrity established through working with our client companies rather than for a consultancy firm.
  • Skills in managing and working with external research agencies ensuring that their segmentation research delivers meaningful results.
  • Experience with the internal company barriers that can stifle implementation thus ensuring they are addressed at their less damaging stages.

Our approach is based on the belief that the objective of segmentation must be to win and retain profitable customers and this clearly requires the company to understand what propositions it must offer in order to attract the customers it wants. This means that segmentation has to be based around a detailed understanding of the criteria customers use to choose between competing offers. You can then see what each segment is looking for, how good you are at delivering it (competitively) and whether this will produce the profits you require, with profitability measured by customer as opposed to product/service. In summary, segmentation is more productive when built around customer needs, with the challenge being to find better ways of satisfying their needs.

Segments developed along these lines become the underlying structure for your business strategy. It is also how customers divide into segments, and they do not change their behaviour simply because a company chooses to segment them another way.

Key people

Malcolm McDonald

Emeritus Professor Malcolm McDonald was until 2003 Professor of Marketing and Deputy Director Cranfield University School of Management in the UK.

Malcolm has written over 40 books in the marketing field, including Marketing Plans: How to prepare them, how to use them (now in its 7th edition, ISBN 978-0470669976, published by John Wiley & Sons) and Market Segmentation: How to do it and how to profit from it, which he co-authored with Ian Dunbar (now in its 4th edition, ISBN 978-1-1184-3267-9, also published by John Wiley & Sons). Many of his papers have also been published.

See Malcolm McDonald's own website for further details on marketing.

Marcus Clark

Marcus Clark has been working along with Malcolm McDonald since 1994 and is a leading practitioner in strategic marketing and business planning, with a special interest in designing and exploiting software to model business problems. Marcus began his career working in Artificial Intelligence, in both research and development, and his roles have included responsibility for large European R&D programs, future systems strategy for a major systems integrator and responsibility for The European Computer Research Centre in Munich.

He developed a keen interest in modelling complex markets in the late 1980’s when he was responsible for taking new technology to market. Marcus is also a non executive director of a highly regarded Medical Services Company and a Trustee in the not for profit sphere. Previously he was also a non executive director of IT and Professional services company which is focused on serving the needs of wholesale banks which was sold at a multiple of 80 in 2007.

*Ian Dunbar RIP

Sadly Ian passed away in 2014.

Jointly founded The Market Segmentation Company with Malcolm McDonald in 1995 and was co-author of Market Segmentation: How to do it and how to profit from it.