The benefits of segmentation: Evidence from a South African bank and other studies

Research Article
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28 September 2017

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We applied different modelling techniques to six data sets from different disciplines in the industry, on which predictive models can be developed, to demonstrate the benefit of segmentation in linear predictive modelling. We compared the model performance achieved on the data sets to the performance of popular non-linear modelling techniques, by first segmenting the data (using unsupervised, semi-supervised, as well as supervised methods) and then fitting a linear modelling technique. A total of eight modelling techniques was compared. We show that there is no one single modelling technique that always outperforms on the data sets. Specifically considering the direct marketing data set from a local South African bank, it is observed that gradient boosting performed the best. Depending on the characteristics of the data set, one technique may outperform another. We also show that segmenting the data benefits the performance of the linear modelling technique in the predictive modelling context on all data sets considered. Specifically, of the three segmentation methods considered, the semi-supervised segmentation appears the most promising.

  • The use of non-linear modelling techniques may not necessarily increase model performance when data sets are first segmented.
  • No single modelling technique always performed the best.
  • Applications of predictive modelling are unlimited; some examples of areas of application include database marketing applications; financial risk management models; fraud detection methods; medical and environmental predictive models.


predictive models; case studies; logistic regression; linear modelling; semi-supervised segmentation
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