Whether you realize it or not, when talking with a friend, you naturally tailor your language to match their personality and foster a stronger personal connection. Great advertising does the same thing. Savvy marketers study the psychological and emotional aspects of consumer behavior, using these insights to forge stronger connections with their audiences.
One effective way to build these connections is to apply psychographics—the study of personal traits, attitudes, and behaviors. Whereas demographic data captures a person’s household income or marital status, psychographic data focuses on their activities, preferences, and motivations. You can gather psychographic data to craft marketing strategies that resonate with prospective customers. Here’s how to use psychographic research and psychographic marketing campaigns to reach your ideal customers.
What is psychographics?
Psychographics is a field of study that tracks the psychological characteristics that influence people’s behaviors and decisions. It looks into personality traits, attitudes, beliefs, personal values, interests, career pursuits, hobbies, and lifestyle choices.
Businesses analyze psychographic data to segment and target customers. Rather than focus your market research exclusively on demographic factors—objective characteristics like age or geography—you can use psychographic profiles to map the more subjective aspects of personality. This gives you a deeper understanding of what motivates your target customer.
With psychographic information about your target market, you can:
- Create highly relevant content
- Create more persuasive targeted paid advertising campaigns
- Develop products that resonate with buyers
- Build stronger brand loyalty by aligning with consumers’ preferences
Psychographics vs. demographics
Businesses use demographic and psychographic information to predict consumer preferences, design new products, and craft marketing campaigns. However, these two approaches differ. Here are key similarities and differences:
- Both psychographics and demographics categorize people into groups, but they focus on different aspects.
- Businesses use demographic and psychographic research to segment the population. By determining psychographic and demographic groups, they can identify prospective customers.
- Demographic information comprises externally observable data, including a person’s geographic location, age, gender, race, household income, and purchase history. Psychographic information focuses on psychological and behavioral data. Psychographic factors include personal values, lifestyle choices, and beliefs.
- Demographic data offers digital marketers limited ad targeting capabilities. It might allow them to use ad targeting to reach potential customers in specific locations, but lacks insights into the consumer values motivating their purchases. In contrast, psychographic profiling goes beyond broad strokes, furnishing emotional and values-driven insights for more precise consumer behavior predictions.
Types of psychographic data
- Personality traits
- Attitudes and beliefs
- Core values
- Personal interests and hobbies
- Lifestyle choices
Marketers commonly segment psychographics into five key categories:
A psychographic profile may include personality traits, such as openness to new experiences, conscientiousness, and a tendency toward introversion or extroversion. For instance, a person open to new experiences might be receptive to cutting-edge tech products, while someone who prefers structured routines might prefer legacy brands that don’t follow trends.
Attitudes and beliefs
This category groups consumers based on their opinions and convictions about various issues, including politics, religion, social issues, and cultural customs. For example, a psychographic profile might reveal an individual prioritizes environmental sustainability, religious schooling, or corporate social responsibility.
Values represent the core ethics guiding a person’s decisions, and behaviors. For instance, they may value long-lasting products or look for the lowest prices. Other values include prioritizing organic foods or fabrics or choosing businesses that employ union labor.
Personal interests and hobbies
You can gain insight into your target audience by studying their interests and hobbies. These psychographic dimensions can guide ad targeting, such as showing a Facebook ad for winter parkas to someone who enjoys skiing.
A psychographic marketing campaign might account for a person’s lifestyle choices, daily routines, and habits. Lifestyle choices can reveal deeper insights than demographic data. For instance, two people may fall into the same income bracket, but one works four days per week at a high-paying job while the other works six days a week at a lower-paying job. Psychographics, in this case, can provide a clearer picture of these two individuals and how they spend their time.
How is psychographic data collected?
- Focus groups
- Social media analysis
- Online tracking
- Third-party data collection
- Market research studies
- Psychographic segmentation models
- Government data and academic research
Researchers and marketers use many methods to find psychographic data about population segments. These include:
Researchers can design online, telephone, and in-person questionnaires to query respondents’ beliefs, interests, and preferences.
One-on-one interviews enable researchers to deeply probe individuals by asking open-ended questions and delving into their attitudes and motivations.
Focus groups involve small groups of participants discussing specific topics. These discussions can reveal psychographic insights through conversation and interaction.
For example, a psychographics focus group might show how participants felt a deep connection to your brand’s eco-friendly messaging, highlighting how it resonates with their values and influences their purchasing decisions.
Observational research entails observing and recording behavior in real-life settings, such as retail stores, social gatherings, online communities, or even individuals’ daily routines, to gain deeper insights into specific groups of people’s lifestyles and decision-making processes.
Social media analysis
You can analyze activity on social media platforms—posts, comments, likes, and clicks—to understand psychographics of specific groups. Use social media tools like the Facebook app or third-party analytics tools like Hootsuite to facilitate this analysis.
Online tracking through services like Google Analytics involves monitoring website visits, clicks, and online behaviors to build profiles of individuals' interests and preferences. Marketers use tracking services to make online advertising more effective.
Third-party data collection
Some companies specialize in gathering and selling psychographic data, including online retailers that collect browser cookies to build buyer personas of website visitors and then sell this data to third parties.
Market research studies
Businesses can employ market research firms specializing in psychographic targeting. These firms have the expertise and resources to design and implement surveys, interviews, and other data-collection methods. As a business owner, you can purchase access to their psychographic data.
Psychographic segmentation models
Academics and market researchers often use established psychographic segmentation models like VALS (values, attitudes, and lifestyles) or PRIZM (potential rating for zip markets, which examines groups by geography) to classify individuals according to their psychographic traits.
The study of ethnography involves becoming immersed in the lives of individuals or groups to understand their behaviors, values, and lifestyles. Cultural anthropology often uses this method, and researchers can sell their results for marketing applications.
Government data and academic research
Marketers can gain psychographic insights by analyzing government research, academic studies, and industry reports.
How to use psychographics in your marketing
- Create buyer personas
- Deliver personalized content
- Tailor product development
- Refine product positioning
- Optimize influencer marketing
- Improve customer retention
- Chart market expansion
Psychographics can play a key part in your marketing efforts. Here are seven ways your business can apply psychographic data to its marketing process:
1. Create buyer personas
Psychographic and demographic data can help you build a buyer persona—a fictional representation of your ideal customer. This can give insight into your customers’ values, interests, and lifestyles, leading to more personalized marketing efforts.
2. Deliver personalized content
Personalized content, like custom emails sent to precise customer segments, can steer more people into your sales funnel and improve conversion rates. For example, you can offer a discount code to customers who demonstrate a penchant for special sales or showcase organic products to customers who prioritize their health and the environment. Psychographics help you tap into the purchasers’ motivations.
3. Tailor product development
Successful marketing hinges on delivering products aligned with customer desires. You can combine psychographics with other data to direct your product development process and create offerings that resonate with your core audience.
4. Refine product positioning
Use your psychographic findings to position your products or services to align with your target audience’s values and lifestyle. By strategically using digital marketing and optimizing store placement, you can convey that your brand values are the same as your customers’.
5. Optimize influencer marketing
Collaborating with influencers whose psychographic profiles match those of your target audience can enhance the authenticity and effectiveness of influencer partnerships.
6. Improve customer retention
Just as you need to market your company to attract new clients, you must also retain those already doing business with you. Psychographics can help you develop loyalty programs and retention strategies that align with the psychographic preferences of your existing customers, which can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
For instance, you can show customers who love seasonal holidays more holiday-themed items in a custom email marketing campaign.
7. Chart market expansion
As you achieve success, aspire to grow. Use psychographics to identify new customers who align with the values, lifestyles, cognitive attributes, and behaviors of your existing client base. You can also use psychographics to expand your client base. For instance, a psychographics focus group may reveal that many of your customers share a trait like conscientiousness or empathy.
What is an example of psychographics?
An example of psychographics is using browser cookies and website analytics to discover that many of your customers like eco-friendly products and tend to purchase items when they go on sale.
What are good psychographic questions?
Good psychographic questions probe a person’s ethics, values, beliefs, lifestyle choices, and interests.
What are the five variables of psychographic segmentation?
There is no strict rule about the number of variables used in psychographic segmentation. However, five variables include attitudes, lifestyle choices, psychological traits, ethics, and personal interests.