Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 226-242

First online:

Using names to segment customers by cultural, ethnic or religious origin

  • Richard WebberAffiliated withCentre for Advanced Spatial Analysis UCL Email author 

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In advanced European economies, it is typical for some 20 per cent of the residential population to be either immigrants or descendants of recent immigrants. By no means are all of these people occupied in menial jobs. Indeed, a recent analysis of the British ‘Rich List’ suggests that these groups are now disproportionately found among the extremely wealthy. Although this 20 per cent of population are likely to have very distinctive consumer preferences, very few organisations have found effective means of identifying the extent of this population on their customer databases or of reaching them with targeted media or communications. This paper explains how, from detailed analysis of personal and family names, it may be possible to profile and target consumers according to their origins in a much more effective way than by including ethnicity, birthplace or religion on either customer or market research questionnaires.


origins social marketing ethnic marketing surnames personal names