Compusearch debuts new system

After 11 years as one of Canadian marketing's most useful research tools, Compusearch is phasing out its Lifestyles cluster classification system and replacing it with psyte.Jan Kestle, president and chief operating officer of Compusearch Micromarketing Data & Systems, says pyste is...

After 11 years as one of Canadian marketing’s most useful research tools, Compusearch is phasing out its Lifestyles cluster classification system and replacing it with psyte.

Jan Kestle, president and chief operating officer of Compusearch Micromarketing Data & Systems, says pyste is a new cluster system using actual behavioral information rather than a geodemographic base which Lifestyles used.

Also key to psyte (pronounced site), said Kestle in a recent interview in her Toronto office, is new technology that allows the use of more than 200 variables compared with the 50 or so used with Lifestyles; and the need to update a classification system from time to time since Lifestyles was based on types of neighborhoods found in the 1980s.

‘The cluster systems traditionally have been based on taking a composite of demographic behavior that usually comes out of a census, and using factors like age, income, family type, occupation, whether the kids have left home, and so on, [and then] identifying the patterns in which they present themselves,’ Kestle says.

‘It’s one thing to know, as with a two-dimensional perspective on a neighborhood, that the neighborhood has an average age of household maintainer of 45, and, perhaps, an average household income of $80,000,’ she says.

‘But, it makes a lot of difference from a marketing point of view to know whether they have have kids, whether they’re grown up; and every extra demographic you add to the mix makes the definition of a neighborhood cluster more precise.’

Kestle says what Compusearch tries to do when it ‘clusters’ is take all of Canada’s neighborhoods and divide them into categories, so all of those neighborhoods that fit a category are as similar as possible, and all of the categories are as different as possible.

The geographic base for pyste are the more than 45,000 census enumeration areas of the 1991 Census, says Kestle, with vehicle registration information, actual purchase behavior data from Compusearch’s Prospects Unlimited database and media preferences being the three main additions to the Census data used.

There are 60 pyste clusters. Each has a number from one to 60 based on average household income, with cluster number one being the wealthiest.

Each cluster has also been assigned a letter, S, T, U or R to indicate its approximate makeup.

So U1 in cluster one is tagged Canadian Establishment.

It represents 0.21% of Canadian households, is aged 45+, has an elite income level, is university-educated, and so on. The projected five-year growth for this group is low.

Kestle says Compusearch is not withdrawing Lifestyles right away, but will phase out that clustering system during the course of a year.

She says the company began shipping psyte computer tapes Nov. 4.

As for cost, Kestle says psyte is about 20% more expensive than Lifestyles.