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Cluster Sampling

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Cluster Sampling

When analysing a set of responses from a sample, natural yet distinctive groupings can often occur, particularly when it comes to the analysis of responses against a range of attitudinal or behavioural statements. Once identified, these groups can then be used to divide the statistical population into these unique clusters of respondents. This technique is often utilised in market research in order to establish, examine and effectively target the individual groups of consumers that exist within a particular market place, or for a specific product or brand.  

Whilst individual clusters should be as exclusive as possible there may be some similarities between clusters with varying levels in the proximity of differentiation between the groups.

Additionally, while some clusters of responses may roughly correlate with particular demographics, others may be more neutral in their age and social positioning. An example of this may include a segmentation of a restaurant brand; one cluster that prefers traditional dishes and to book via telephone may be older and more down market. There may be another cluster that prefers to book via a mobile application and prefers more exotic flavours that is younger and more upmarket. However, there may be a health conscious but spontaneous visit by a customer that sits in the middle of the demographic spectrums.

Not only can clusters vary in terms of demographics and attitudes, they can also vary in size, with larger populations of clusters often being identified as the ‘core’ markets and smaller clusters as more ‘exclusive’ or ‘niche’, allowing brands and organisations to prioritise these groups in terms of marketing and customer service efforts.

Cluster Sampling may be particularly helpful for companies when trying to devise the most effective marketing campaigns or to introduce a product range that is likely to meet the demands or needs of their core market cluster. Clustering may also be helpful when trying to decide on the best approach for handling certain groups of consumers, as once identified these groups can be used for ongoing and more in-depth research into a variety of their characteristics, consumption and preferences.

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