Positioning a Brand through Attitudinal Segmentation
Travel Nurse Across America
Travel Nurse Across America (TNAA) is a leading U.S.-based health care staffing firm and travel nursing agency. It was facing an interesting and unique challenge that was impeding its ability to grow. The firm had more than enough demand (orders from hospitals), but it wasn’t able to secure enough qualified nurses to satisfy the robust demand that was coming from these customers. This supply-side challenge was the result of a broader nationwide nursing shortage and the fact that the demanding lifestyle of a travel nurse results in rapid burnout. Given this challenge, the company was seeking to develop a segmentation framework, targeting strategy and compelling value proposition for the nursing population to help it gain a competitive advantage in securing this valuable resource. In addition, it was looking to develop a go-to-market strategy—including the optimal channels, media types and messaging—with which to reach its newly defined target segments.
FullSurge began by conducting a number of in-depth interviews with nurses to explore the drivers and barriers of travel nursing, including awareness and understanding of the benefits of the profession. This led to the development of several hypotheses for market segmentation and provided important fodder for upcoming quantitative research. We then fielded an online survey among travel nurses to 1) size and profile the addressable travel nurse market, 2) identify unique segments based on differences in demographics, attitudes, and functional and emotional motivations, and 3) uncover how the company could best engage potential target segments. Several interesting and important findings emerged.
First, the research revealed the brand had both a significant strength and bottleneck within the consideration funnel. Specifically, among travel nurses who were merely aware of their and competitive brands, their brand perceptions were mediocre to unfavorable. However, among nurses who have actually worked for both their and competitive brands, their perceptions were unsurpassed in terms of favorability and preference. Additionally, we identified two segments that represent ~43% of the market, consisting of travel nurses who have long-term aspirations to remain in the market and are intensely loyal to the agencies they represent. These two segments are also disproportionately favorable toward the TNAA brand. They were far more likely to claim the client’s brand is one they believe to be of high quality, and the brand they prefer most. With these insights in place, we developed a positioning for the overall brand and individual value propositions for the two prioritized segments.
We identified two segments that represent ~43% of the market, consisting of travel nurses who have long-term aspirations to remain in the market, and are intensely loyal to the agencies they represent. These two segments are also disproportionately favorable toward the TNAA brand.
Using information gathered from the quantitative survey about how nurses consume information (in particular social media), we made concrete recommendations on specific channels and vehicles to use as part of the go-to-market strategy. We also developed market-ready messaging and copy that simultaneously reinforced the overarching brand strategy, while also delivering segment-specific calls-to-action stemming from the value propositions. Finally, we identified a set of strategic imperatives—mostly from an operational perspective—that would need to be addressed for the new brand strategy to succeed long term.
FullSurge clearly grasped a solid understanding of both our business and brand issues. Their quantitative segmentation study helped us identify the market segments that are most lucrative for our agency, and with whom we have the best opportunity to win. Equally important, the value proposition they crafted for us is helping us shape not only our communication and messaging, but our broader go-to-market strategy.