This module allows students to access PRISM, a segmentation system that uses geographic location (zip codes) to identify segments/groups of consumers with similar lifestyles. A student activity designed around this system can be used to demonstrate how marketers can use PRISM to identify potential successful consumer market segments for their products. Students are asked to review various zip codes in marketing decision making.
Enable students to:
(1) identify a method to segment consumer markets based upon geographic location,
(2) compare consumption patterns of consumers in different segments using market/lifestyle data, and
(3) determine the value in using geo-demographic segmentation as a segmentation strategy.
Target Student Population:
The module could be utilized with high school or undergraduate marketing courses, and is particularly well-suited to a principles or consumer behavior class.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Type of Material:
This activity is ideal for developing a team in-class assignment to accompany a lecture on market segmentation. There is an assignment already built into the module and this can be assigned as homework on an individual basis if preferred. Students could also work in groups to complete the assignment.
Computer with Internet Access
Evaluation and Observation
Lifestyle segmentation is a topic very well suited to a consumer behavior class. This type of segmentation is somewhat more difficult for students to grasp compared to demographic segmentation and this module helps to clear up any confusion on what lifestyle segmentation entails. Additionally, the module can be used in a number of courses, making it extremely versatile and worthy of repeating.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Students would enjoy this module. The work is simple in design, very thought-provoking and can provide the basis for a lively discussion. The associated website is easy to navigate and the factual information is interesting. By tailoring the questions for consideration, the instructor can get at the heart of segmentation and incorporate the module/assignment in a number of ways. Additionally, the module very effectively demonstrates the need for consumer research and segmentation/target marketing, making an important point in a more casual structure.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The module is already a clearly written assignment with direct links to the associated website, and as such, very little prep work needs to be done. Students would find the instructions easy to understand, would be engaged in the assignment, and would appreciate the interactivity of both the website and a related classroom discussion. The topic is certainly interesting, and the module is well-rooted in a course concept.
By the author’s own admission, the website needs to be reviewed prior to assigning this module, as adjustments to the site are frequently made. This is not a major inconvenience in using the module as written.
Other Issues and Comments:
There are demographic tabs associated with each zip code segment, but the information is very limited since this is information that has a high price tag on the market and therefore cannot be provided free of charge.
Similarly market detail, media detail, neighborhood detail, and lifestyle detail, are available only to Nielsen customers who have a license to access the total PRISM package. However, more information is provided on this web site than many PRISM sites and it is enough for students to intelligently work with.