Marketing segmentation has greatly evolved throughout the years, coming a long way ever since the concept came into existence and its importance was recognized in the early 50s. From that moment on, especially in the data-driven market of today, the significance of this process of dividing a broad consumer market into smaller segments based on the consumers’ shared characteristics has increased exponentially. In fact, target marketing has become such an important and effective strategy for achieving success in any business that there are a few types of marketing segmentation, psychographics being the latest trend of consumer personalization focused on analyzing the consumer’s lifestyle.
Having said this, let’s explore the reason for psychographic segmentation’s importance, this strategy’s characteristics, its uniqueness when compared to demographics, and its implementation when it comes to your target audience.
What Are Psychographics?
Psychographics is a marketing segmentation method which focuses on people’s personalities and lifestyles rather than on demographic factors like age, gender, income, and so on. This includes information such as what experience the customer wants from the product or the service, how they want to use them, why they need to use them, what other products they usually buy, their habits, lifestyle, and more. The purpose behind this is to better develop and market the product or service so that it appeals to and better matches the needs and desires of each segment.
This being said, psychographics complement demographics, so in order to better understand what psychographic segmentation is and how it’s done, let’s take a look at how it differs from demographic segmentation first.
Difference Between Demographics and Psychographics
Demographic segmentation involves classifying people based on demographic factors including age, gender, income, family size, marital status, ethnicity, education, and more. This is the most used method of segmentation for it explains who the buyer is. For example, if a business segments their market by the customers’ income levels, they can adjust their product(s) or service(s) to be affordable to their target market and increase their sales. If the market is segmented by age, the product(s) or service(s) in question can be developed and adjusted to fit the needs and expectations of different age groups. This way the business knows how and where to focus their advertising activities so they can market the product or service to that specific target audience.
Most businesses still segment their market by demographics while ignoring psychographics, but is using only this method an effective way of targeting and influencing your perfect customers?
To give you a very short answer: of course not. After all, not all married couples should get the same message only because of their marital status, just like not all teenagers are interested in the same products and activities only because they belong in a certain age group, and so on, you get the gist.
There’s a new sheriff in town when it comes to marketing segmentation and its name is psychographics.
Psychographic segmentation is just as important, if not more important than demographic segmentation, since it offers us a better understanding of the differences and similarities among customers. If demographics explain who the customer that buys the product or uses the service is, psychographics explore the why behind the buy, and by doing this psychographics have gotten past the basics of demographics fairly quickly.
An Example of Using Demographics and Psychographics
In order to better understand the different roles demographics and psychographics play in marketing segmentation, let us give you an example. Imagine that you’re trying to sell a meal replacement product. Whether in the form of a powder, a shake, a snack bar, it doesn’t matter, the important thing is that you’re trying to personalize your marketing campaign which will appeal to your target audience. Now, let’s say that you segment your audience by demographics, or more specifically, by gender, age, and, marital status.
You have three women in their 40s, both married with kids. The first woman cares about her and her family’s health and eating habits, while the other two not so much. Let’s assume that the second woman’s interest is to lose weight, while the third one doesn’t have any interest in meal replacements at all. Now this is where marketing segmentation gets interesting.
While the first two women are interested in the meal replacement product, the first one wants to use it so that she can improve her and her family’s health by consuming more diverse nutrients, while the other one’s goal by using the product is to consume fewer calories and lose weight. As we said, the third woman doesn’t have any interest in meal replacement products. Although all three customers belong to the same demographic, only two are actually interested in the product. Moreover, the purpose behind this interest is completely different, almost incomparable, as people belonging in the same demographics have different interests, attitudes, and traits. So, by having the valuable information psychographics offer, you can adjust both the product and the marketing technique in such a way so that it appeals to the people who are most likely to purchase your product.
Why Psychographic Segmentation is Important
It’s no mystery that people can belong to the same demographics and still have completely different beliefs, traits, habits, emotions, requirements, and lifestyles. Therefore, segmenting an audience only based on demographics cannot really pinpoint your target audiences. Consequently, this doesn’t really allow you to mould your product in such a way so it fits the desires of the specific target audiences that will find your product most appealing. Well, information from psychographic segmentation allows you to do just that!
By segmenting your audience based on their interests, attitudes, traits, and lifestyles, you’re focusing on what your customer is really like rather than focusing on shared characteristics such as income, ethnicity, etc. By knowing what your customer is interested in, you’ll know the kind of products they would want to buy or the kind of services they would want to use. This way, you can make your product or service more appealing to the audience you’re trying to direct your marketing focus towards, that target audience that has the highest probability of buying your product or using your service.
How to Obtain Psychographic Data
Now that we know psychographics can help you to select that perfect customer hiding in the sea of potential customers, let’s move on to the part of how to obtain this valuable data. The following three methods can help you discover more information about your customers so you are able to learn more about your target audience and use that info in your marketing strategy effectively.
Interview Your Customers
Obtaining psychographic data is more complex than obtaining demographic data since we’re not dealing with factual information, but rather acquiring the psychological aspect of the customers’ buying behavior. This being said, getting personal with your customers is one of the most effective ways in which you can get to know them better and paint a clearer picture of who your target customer really is.
Instead of simply sending an e-mail, try for a more personal approach by conducting the interviews via Skype, a phone call, or even better in person. This way you can directly ask your customers everything you’d like to know and receive more in-depth information.
Ask them about their interests and don’t be shy to ask more specific questions like what they did over the weekend, what they do for fun, and so on. It’s important to know how your customers spend their time and what their values in life are, as this is crucial psychographic data that can immensely help your business’ marketing strategy.
You can also ask how, when, and most importantly, why they use your product and/or service, what motivated them to buy it, and what motivates them to continue to buy it. If you encounter a satisfied customer that doesn’t mind being publicly exposed, you can use that as social proof that your product or service really works. This way other potential buyers could relate to your customer and give your product or service a chance.
Sending surveys gives you a chance to collect psychographic information from large groups of people that belong to different demographic segments. With a click of a button you can send your questions to your entire email list and/or all of your social media followers, it’s that easy. If you want a higher response rate, make sure your survey doesn’t take more than 5 minutes of your customers’ time since most will lose interest in filling the questions out if it takes too long.
Multiple choice questions are quick and effective, but make sure to include at least one in-depth or open-ended question as these answers will give you more insight and acquaint you better with your customer.
Use Google Analytics
Google analytics gives you access to both demographic and psychographic data regarding your customers. The process of acquiring this data is very simple, just click on “audience” and go to “other categories” where the psychographic information regarding your customers’ interest will be laid out in front of you. You can also check if your product’s sales were on the rise during that gift-card campaign you did a couple of months ago, or try and figure out what happened during the period when the sales were not that good. It’s always good to know what motivates your customers to buy your product as well as what drives them to stop buying it, as this info can make or break one’s business.
How to Implement Psychographics in Your Marketing Strategy
Ever since the internet became a major part of our lives, psychographic data became easier to both obtain and implement. Creating your ideal customer persona will leave out the guessing when marketing and promoting your product since you’ll know where and how to focus your efforts. So, now that we have the psychographic data we need, how do we go about with it?
Simply said, psychographics help you to expose your product or service in front of the right people that are most likely to buy it. So, now that you know your ideal customer, let’s introduce you to a couple of marketing strategies and show you how you can implement your psychographics research.
Social Media Ads
Let’s use our previously-mentioned example and say that you sell meal replacement shakes. According to the psychographic data, your target audience cares about convenience, losing weight, and improving their health. They have busy schedules which is why this convenient product that can be prepared and drank in minutes suits their needs so well.
Now that you know your ideal customer, you can customize your social media ads so they’re mostly shown to your target audience. Speaking specifically about Facebook, you can choose which audiences you would want your ad to be shown to by selecting people who like pages related to healthy lifestyle, losing weight, exercising, and so on. By knowing your customer’s interests and needs, you can not only write more emotionally compelling ads, but also make sure that they will be seen by those most likely to be interested in your product.
Branding is an important part of any marketing strategy not only because it draws your target audience to purchase your product rather than your competitor’s, but also because it represents your company or business as the only/the best/the most effective provider to the solution of their desires and needs. Good branding brings and keeps loyal customers who have the potential to become future brand ambassadors, which is why your brand values are of extreme importance when it comes to the success of your business.
Let’s take the example about meal replacements again since we’ve determined the ideal customer to be a person who cares about convenience, health, and losing weight. Therefore, your company values should include information about the ingredients in your product being organic and all-natural, emphasize the low number of calories each serving has, explain how using this product will save you a valuable time, and so on, you get the idea. Psychographic data can be of immense help when creating and building your brand since you can get your message across more creatively and efficiently.
People buy products in order to solve a problem, whether that is leading a healthier lifestyle, losing weight, or having a fully nutritious meal by not spending time in the kitchen. All these problems can be solved by using meal replacement products, so you would want to use the power of aspirational messaging and tell your customers who they’ll become by using your product. More time-efficient, healthier and more energized, slim and fit, the choice is yours as you can easily make it by using your psychographic data. You know what your ideal customer aspires to and wishes to do and become, so wisely use this persuasive method to set yourself apart from competitors and market your product to the appropriate audience.
Classifying people based on their interests, opinions, beliefs, values, and other important factors gives you more insight and more detailed information about your target audience and your ideal customer. This is why using psychographic data for your marketing strategy can be incredibly effective when it comes to reaching that perfect audience and planning future ads and campaigns as you can adjust your content based on your customer’s interests and desires. Psychographics may be the most important part of consumer segmentation, especially in this day and age, so implement it wisely in your marketing strategy and watch as your customers grow.