22 min read

The MEHRHOFF framework

Published on
January 12, 2023
Patrick Mehrhoff
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Many solutions, products, and services relevant to marketing, sales, product development, and business in general often fail to meet expectations. This shortfall is not usually due to a lack of creativity or engineering skills from the teams and departments involved but because of a fundamental misunderstanding of the audience, they are trying to reach and attract.

Unfortunately, many in business, no matter what industry, rely heavily on demographics and superficial categorizations to understand their clients, investors and partners, resulting in an often distorted view of their audience. 

This approach causes missed opportunities, wasted resources, and a weakened connection with the intended audience. This highlights a widespread issue: many business leaders, marketers and strategists need to be more aware of the fundamental principles of human decision-making, which are the basis for impactful business activities and marketing initiatives.

So, what's the ultimate goal in marketing and sales? To influence your target audience to take action.

For marketing and sales teams to succeed, the main goal should be to motivate specific desired actions within your target audience that align with their user or investor journey. Whether getting them to download a whitepaper, register for a webinar, or eventually form a contractual partnership, the strategy should focus on action-oriented triggers that produce these outcomes.

The MEHRHOFF framework is the solution to the industry's widespread challenge. This innovative methodology goes beyond traditional tactics and carefully examines the four key pillars, Trends, Micro-Moments, Needs, Desires, and Emotions, jointly influencing actions. By incorporating the MEHRHOFF framework into your strategy, you will transform from just reaching out to creating deep resonance, building connections, and, most importantly, driving decisive actions.

The limitation of the traditional target audience analysis

Effective communication with one's audience is crucial for the success of any business. However, understanding the complexity of the audience's needs, desires, and motivations takes time and effort. Previously, companies have relied on traditional segmentation techniques to divide people into manageable categories and customize their offerings based on perceived preferences. But now, there is a growing realization that these outdated methods have limitations that can hinder genuine understanding and connection.


Demographic segmentation often creates broad categories that fail to capture the different preferences of individuals, leading to generic campaigns and products.

  • Age: Age alone cannot capture evolving attitudes, especially during times of rapid change where older demographics adopt younger trends and vice versa.
  • Gender: Gender-based segmentation perpetuates stereotypes. Products or services with a narrow gender focus miss opportunities to reach a wider audience.
  • Marital & Family Status: Basing offerings on marital status or family size leads to assumptions, ignoring the diverse lifestyles within these groups.
  • Income, Education, & Occupation: Such categorizations risk oversimplifying individuals into broad groups, potentially misaligning product offerings.
  • Ethnicity: Ethnic categorization leads to stereotyping, ignoring the individual lifestyles and global influences on ethnic groups.

Geographic Segmentation

Geographic segmentation is restrictive and doesn't consider the influence of global trends on local populations. This limits the reach of campaigns and product appeal.

  • Country/Region, Urban vs. Rural, City Size, Density & Climate: While these parameters influence needs, globalized communication and trade mean that products and trends surpass geographical boundaries.

Psychographic Segmentation

The dynamic nature of psychographics means that companies and businesses must be more consistent with their audience's current mindset.

  • Lifestyle, Personality, Values, Interests/Hobbies & Attitudes: Psychographic profiles are dynamic and influenced by societal changes, global events, and personal experiences. Assuming they are static leads to misaligned marketing strategies.

Behavioural Segmentation

Solely relying on past behaviours fails to predict customer and investor behaviour shifts, leading to missed marketing opportunities and potential product misalignment.

  • Purchasing Behavior, Usage Rate, Brand Loyalty, Benefits Sought & Occasion: This segmentation assumes that past behaviours are indicative of future actions, neglecting the influence of external factors or evolving motivations.

Technographic Segmentation

Not keeping pace with the rapid evolution of technology renders campaigns and products outdated.

  • Device Usage, Platform Preference, Software & Applications & Digital Proficiency: Technographic data is highly fluid due to rapid technological advancements. Depending solely on current patterns, it risks missing emerging trends.

Needs-based Segmentation

A superficial understanding of needs results in products/services that don't deeply resonate or satisfy the target audience's core desires.

  • Functional, Emotional, & Social Needs: Addressing surface-level needs without understanding the deeper desires or the contextual triggers behind these needs leads to superficial product offerings.

King Charles and Ozzy Osbourne are challenging the traditional target audience analysis methods

At first glance, using conventional segmentation methods, King Charles and Ozzy Osbourne's profiles appear almost identical. Both men share remarkably similar demographic information, suggesting they have similar lifestyles, needs, and interests. Business leaders who rely solely on these parameters will group them into the same category, assuming that both would be attracted to the same products, services, or experiences.

However, in reality, this couldn't be further from the truth.

One might traditionally associate King Charles, the third King of England, with state affairs, high-brow entertainment, and aristocratic pursuits. In contrast, Ozzy Osbourne, also known as the "Prince of Darkness" in the rock world, is synonymous with heavy metal anthems, wild onstage antics, and a rebellious spirit.

Demographically, if we walk the conventional route, both men might be offered similar financial products and services based on age, origin, and social status. Standard pension plans, traditional British bonds, or legacy trusts could be presented. But here is the problem: King Charles, with his keen environmental sensibility, might be more receptive to green bonds or sustainable mutual funds. On the other hand, Ozzy, a rock icon, might be interested in investing in projects related to music production or even in newer, edgier entertainment ventures.

Geographically, an advisor who thinks locally might offer investment options closely linked to British markets or assets. However, in today's globalized world, Charles - through his royal engagements - and Ozzy - through his worldwide tours - have developed a taste for diverse experiences. Financial products that diversify their portfolio across continents may be more appropriate for them.

Psychographically, Charles may seem like a traditionalist, so he may be offered conservative financial products. On the other hand, Ozzy might be perceived as a high-risk taker, making him a candidate for aggressive investment options. However, in reality, their lives are more complex than these boxed perceptions. Financial products must reflect their multifaceted personalities. Perhaps Charles is willing to explore avant-garde financial tech startups, and maybe Ozzy is passionate about investing in postmarks.

Behaviorally, basing product offerings on their past financial actions could be misleading. For instance, presenting Charles with charitable trusts, given his past philanthropy, might miss his potential interest in active impact investing. Offering Ozzy luxury asset management, reflecting his opulent past, could overlook his current desire for long-term, legacy-centric financial products.

Technographically, one might think twice before introducing them to cutting-edge fintech products or digital asset management solutions due to their age. But doing so underestimates their potential adaptability. Ozzy's interaction with modern media and Charles' global engagements hint at a comfort level with contemporary tech that advisors might miss.

Needs-based analyses, if too focused on their wealth, the promotion of high-net-worth products could overshadow Charles' environmental values or Ozzy's musical soul. Specialized product suites can cater to both.

The financial sector's business leaders face a challenge in catering to the broad range of individual preferences and histories. The traditional segmentation model has limitations, and the way forward is to ensure that product portfolios are wide and deep. In a world of customization and personalization, no one-size-fits-all and financial services must provide unique experiences to each client.

This exercise demonstrates the pitfalls of relying solely on traditional segmentation and demographics. While sharing similar profiles on paper, King Charles and Ozzy Osbourne are worlds apart in their lived experiences, interests, and influences. 

The story serves as a warning to businesses deriving their corporate strategy from outdated target market analysis methods.

The MEHRHOFF framework

Segmenting the target audience is not just a marketing gimmick. It is a crucial aspect of a successful business strategy. By understanding the different segments of the audience, businesses not only improve their marketing game and refine their entire product and service blueprint, enhance communication tactics, and optimize sales strategies. Moreover, the impact of audience segmentation goes beyond these benefits and has a much more profound impact on the business.

For example, customer support is often reactive, but what if it could be proactive? What if businesses could anticipate issues before they arise based on audience analysis? Similarly, investor relations typically respond to investor queries, but what if they could anticipate them instead? 

This is the kind of comprehensive organizational transformation the MEHRHOFF framework can bring, promoting corporate growth and efficiency.

The benefits of the MEHRHOFF framework

So, why is the MEHRHOFF framework revolutionary?

The modular nature of this approach, similar to Lego blocks, allows businesses to customize their strategies to adapt to various scenarios and sectors. Additionally, this comprehensive approach leaves no stone unturned, ensuring companies stay aware of the apparent trends and the subtle whispers of emotions.

The MEHRHOFF framework guides businesses to sustainable growth, no matter the industry or sector, from traditional wealth- and asset managers managing investments to innovative tech companies launching new products.


The MEHRHOFF framework focuses on creating tailored messaging instead of generic content. It's crucial to reach out and resonate with your audience. Businesses craft marketing campaigns that speak directly to each segment's unique emotions and desires by utilizing audience insights. This can lead to higher levels of engagement and conversions.


Sales strategies thrive on precision. By understanding customers' needs and desires through this framework, sales teams can offer tailored product recommendations, paving the way for more insightful conversations and, ultimately, increasing customer satisfaction. And if it is about Wealth and Asset Management, Assets under Management (AuM).

Investor Relations

Each customer and investor has unique preferences and motivations that drive their decisions. Businesses must take time to understand and recognize these differences to effectively communicate with them. By doing so, they can tailor their presentations and reports to resonate with their audience more deeply.


Operational efficiency and product development are not just process optimization and technically advanced products but audience alignment. Businesses realign their offerings by evaluating the distinct needs of different segments, ensuring heightened customer satisfaction.

Customer Support

The days of one-size-fits-all support are behind us. Because of personalization, recognizing each segment's unique needs and communication details is crucial to enhancing customer loyalty.

Media Relations

In the age of information overload, businesses face tough competition from not just their direct competitors but also from all other attention-grabbing content, such as cute cat videos. In order to ensure their messages stand out, businesses need to craft media narratives that resonate with their intended audience. By tailoring their messages, companies enhance their brand visibility and perception.

The four pillars of the MEHRHOFF framework

Today, relying only on traditional segmentation methods based on demographics such as age, income, and location is insufficient. These one-dimensional tools mislead businesses, particularly in the Financial Services industry, where clients with similar demographic profiles have different financial goals.

What's needed is a holistic strategy that integrates every facet of business operations — from crafting marketing content and shaping sales tactics to making informed operational and product decisions — grounded in a profound understanding of clients and investors. This deeper connection and detailed comprehension genuinely differentiates a business in a competitive landscape.

The MEHRHOFF framework ensures that all business activities - from marketing content to customer interactions, from sales strategies to operational decisions - are all deeply rooted in understanding the target audiences.

It's not just your products and services but how you connect with your clients and investors that sets you apart. The methodology provides a four-fold blueprint to do just that, centring around Trends, Micro-Moments, Investor Needs/Desires, and Emotions.


Simplified illustration of Trends: MEHRHOFF framework

The business world is constantly changing, forced by influential macro trends that cut across economictechnologicaldemographic, and social dimensions. These aren't just subtle trends but tectonic changes that can birth entirely new industries and redefine customer and investor behaviours.

By keeping up with the latest trends and understanding the constantly changing preferences of customers and investors, businesses gain valuable insights that enable them to anticipate and meet the emerging needs of their target audience. This proactive approach helps companies stay ahead of the competition and build a loyal customer base.

Consider the birth and rise of Bitcoin in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008. Economic factors like unprecedented quantitative easing, the erosion of faith in FIAT currencies, escalating global debts, and the broader global economy played crucial roles.

Demographic shifts, with a younger, more tech-savvy generation seeking more financial control, intensified the trend. Additionally, technological advancements provided the necessary infrastructure, while emerging regulatory perspectives influenced its adoption rate.

Bitcoin was not simply a new form of currency. It marked the arrival of a new financial era, which provided a decentralized solution to centralized issues. This transformation is not only related to cryptocurrency; instead, it is a confirmation of the significant effects of macro trends. 

It highlights the need for businesses to be vigilant and responsive to such significant changes, regardless of their industry.

Micro-moments and triggers

Simplified illustrations of Micro-moments/triggers at the example of crypto exchanges: MEHRHOFF framework

Businesses and individuals face numerous unexpected shifts that demand an immediate response. These triggers, known as micro-moments, could arise from sudden market disruptions, unforeseen events, or significant technological advances. In sectors such as Financial Services, where trust is essential, taking timely and strategic action becomes even more vital, especially when reputation and credibility are at stake.

The crypto finance industry provides an excellent example of how micro-moments influence decision-making and actions. A recent incident exposed FTX, a once-trusted name in the crypto space, for having misused customer funds. The consequences were immediate: the founder was arrested and could face a sentence of over a century in prison. As the unsettling news spread, FTX's users panicked. Some checked their account statuses in a hurry, others moved their assets elsewhere out of fear, and a significant number had to come to terms with the possibility of losing their investments.

Micro-moments such as these are ubiquitous in the dynamic world of crypto finance. Economic triggers like cryptocurrency volatility or an exchange liquidity crisis can spur immediate reactions. Technological disruptions, be it from innovations in blockchain tech or security breaches, demand adaptability. Even personal life factors, such as major health events, such as recent COVID-19 or shifts in investment strategies, can play a decisive role.

When a major security breach occurs in crypto or other prominent financial sectors, it presents both a challenge and an opportunity for competing businesses. These exchanges can take swift action by offering security assurance, faster transfer processes for users who want to move their assets, and delivering educational content on digital asset security. 

By being proactive in such situations, businesses can retain their existing user base and attract new users, demonstrating their commitment to maintaining safety and trust.

Needs & Desires

Simplified illustrations of Needs & Desires at the example of crypto exchanges: MEHRHOFF framework

For businesses to succeed, they must be in sync with their clients, investors and partners, constantly shifting needs and desires. This requires a deep understanding of the immediate requirements that clients look for in a service provider and the underlying aspirations that drive long-term loyalty and engagement. By staying attuned to these vital insights, businesses can adapt to changing circumstances and build lasting relationships with clients and investors. This, in turn, can lead to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and a stronger bottom line.


The crypto finance industry has been shaken by scandalous events, particularly in light of the recent FTX incident. The news of FTX's misuse of customer assets has caused concern among the crypto community, highlighting the need for immediate action to address critical issues. In response, several clear needs have emerged among those involved in the industry.

People were primarily concerned about security, liquidity, and transparency during the recent crisis. They felt an urgent need to verify their accounts, consider transferring their assets to safer platforms, and receive clear communication from their service providers. In addition, other critical requirements, such as regulatory compliancesupport, and reliable backup and recovery mechanisms, became even more vital during this time.


Businesses must acknowledge their target groups' deeper aspirations and address their pressing needs. In crypto, traders and investors search for platforms offering high returns and real-time data. The attraction of new token listings, state-of-the-art trading features, and expert insights into market trends reflect the deep desires that users are hoping to receive. They are not just looking for trades with low trading fees but for a comprehensive experience that provides networking opportunities, strategic insights, and diversification options.

In response to FTX's crisis, its competitors had a significant opportunity. Those exchanges that quickly addressed the highlighted needs while aligning with the community's desires established themselves as reliable and innovative leaders.

To sum up, a company must balance meeting their customers' immediate needs and fulfilling their long-term desires, particularly in challenging situations. As the crypto industry evolves rapidly, organizations that can achieve this balance will undoubtedly gain a competitive edge.


Simplified illustrations of Emotions at the example of crypto exchanges: MEHRHOFF framework

The success of a business is not only determined by transactions but also by the depth and resonance of the relationships built. Emotions, which are often overlooked, play a significant role in the decisions made by clients and investors. Businesses can create products and services with personal resonance by deeply understanding these emotions. This strengthens brand loyalty and fosters long-term commitment.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain may be built on advanced technology and complex algorithms, but it is important to remember that they are driven by human emotions. These emotions can range from anxiety during a sudden market downturn to excitement and optimism during a new crypto launch and even the powerful FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) during market surges. In fact, emotions are often the driving force behind the decisions made in crypto finance.

The FTX scandal, where customer funds were misused, caused a strong reaction among the crypto community. People felt various emotions, including disbeliefanger, and trust issues. Some even longed for the reliability of older blockchain technologies. Users felt a sense of responsibility to safeguard their assets and to seek out trustworthy platforms.

Whenever a new cryptocurrency or blockchain project is launched, it evokes many emotions. There is often a sense of optimism about its potential to transform the industry and pride in being among the first to adopt it. However, there may also be scepticism about the lofty promises. Furthermore, the fear of missing out (FOMO) can sometimes cause individuals to make impulsive decisions rather than take a more thoughtful approach.

Businesses have a unique opportunity to make a positive impact amid the chaotic mix of emotions people are feeling. Companies that genuinely empathize with their customers' feelings and offer reassurance during anxiety, tools to combat FOMO, or platforms that promote inclusivity and diversity position themselves as emotionally aware leaders. After the FTX incident, the exchanges that expressed support and understanding of the emotional turmoil stood out, reinforcing their commitment to their users.

In reality, the business world is not just rigid and analytical but a space heavily influenced by emotions and human experiences. Recognizing and understanding these emotions is crucial for driving revenue. By incorporating these emotions into their strategies and acknowledging the users' need to balance the dynamic market and their personal lives, businesses can stay connected to their community's core emotions. Accepting the ties between emotional layers and industry trends can give businesses a competitive edge.


The MEHRHOFF framework has universal applicability that goes beyond traditional business boundaries. Its holistic approach benefits every industry, sector, and department, from marketing to human resources. The framework is not just about comprehending market trends or specific customer needs; it's about tapping into the core of human emotions and micro-moments that influence decision-making in all business domains.

Understanding customer needs and emotions is crucial in marketing and sales for tailoring messages and fulfilling distinct desires. Similarly, it is essential to align communications with the changing investor sentiment in investor relations. However, the potential for understanding trends and emotions is more expansive than these areas. Even in human resources, it can lead to better talent acquisition, improved employee engagement, and a more harmonious organizational culture.

The MEHRHOFF framework isn't just a tool; it's a philosophy that places human-centric insights at the core of every business decision. It inspires businesses to pursue short-term gains, long-lasting relationships, trust, and success. The framework is a compass that inspires enterprises of all sizes and sectors to navigate challenges and seize opportunities with empathy, foresight, and strategic precision. By embracing this philosophy, businesses achieve their full potential and positively impact the world.