Designing a Robust Customer Segmentation — Generation of Potential Schemes

April 26, 2018 by Reuth Kienow

Marketers are keenly aware of how important it is to “Know thy customer.” Yet customer knowledge isn’t restricted to the marketing-savvy. It’s also essential to credit risk managers and model developers. Identifying and separating customers into distinct groups based on various types of behavior is foundational to building effective custom models. This integral part of custom model development is known as segmentation analysis. Segmentation is the process of dividing customers or prospects into groupings based on similar behaviors such as length of time as a customer or payment patterns like credit card revolvers versus transactors. The more similar or homogeneous the customer grouping, the less variation across the customer segments are included in each segment’s custom model development.

So how many scorecards are needed to aptly score and mitigate credit risk? There are several general principles we’ve learned over the course of developing hundreds of models that help determine whether multiple scorecards are warranted and, if so, how many.

A robust segmentation analysis contains two components. The first is the generation of potential segments, and the second is the evaluation of such segments. Here I’ll discuss the generation of potential segments within a segmentation scheme. A second blog post will continue with a discussion on evaluation of such segments.

When generating a customer segmentation scheme, several approaches are worth considering: heuristic, empirical and combined. A heuristic approach considers business learnings obtained through trial and error or experimental design. Portfolio managers will have insight on how segments of their portfolio behave differently that can and often should be included within a segmentation analysis. An empirical approach is data-driven and involves the use of quantitative techniques to evaluate potential customer segmentation splits. During this approach, statistical analysis is performed to identify forms of behavior across the customer population. Different interactive behavior for different segments of the overall population will correspond to different predictive patterns for these predictor variables, signifying that separate segment scorecards will be beneficial. Finally, a combination of heuristic and empirical approaches considers both the business needs and data-driven results.

Once the set of potential customer segments has been identified, the next step in a segmentation analysis is the evaluation of those segments. Stay tuned as we look further into this topic.

Learn more about how Experian Decision Analytics can help you with your segmentation or custom model development needs.

Subscribe to our Experian Insights blog

Don't miss out on the latest industry trends and insights!