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Psychographics and how to use them in marketing and product development

Psychographic data is integral to marketing strategies and product development. It provides insights you can use to make informed business decisions that ultimately affect your connection with your target market. This equals effective marketing, successful business decisions, and product development that appeals to your consumers.

What is psychographics?

Psychographics is the study of people’s attitudes in interests. It’s usually combined with demographic data to understand the target market for a product or service. Psychographic data reveals traits such as values, interests, desires, lifestyles, and goals.

The primary use for psychographics is in market research to add depth to demographic data and help you better understand your customers’ emotions about your brand, product, or service. Psychographic profiles of target audience segments help companies create relevant messaging for each segment.

Psychographic data can be gathered via:

  • Surveys
  • Social media
  • Web analytics (e.g., Google Analytics)
  • Social media analytics
  • Browsing data
  • Focus groups
  • Interviews

Demographics vs. psychographics

When we talk about demographics, we’re talking about the structure of the population. They are concrete characteristics you can use to narrow your market segments by splitting groups into subgroups based on one or more traits.

A demographic survey includes questions about:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Income

Demographic data is generally collected via survey using quantitative questions.

Psychographics looks at emotions, habits, and attitudes. It focuses on understanding customers' feelings about a brand, product, or service. This data can leverage your marketing and make your efforts more effective and accurate.

It includes factors such as:

  • Personality
  • Lifestyle
  • Opinions
  • Values
  • Beliefs
  • Attitudes
  • Interests
  • Habits
  • Activities 

Collection of psychographic data in a survey is done using qualitative methods.

Demographics tell you who your customers are. Psychographics tell you why they buy. Marketers use demographics and psychographics to create various marketing strategies and advertising campaigns.

Example of a demographic and psychographic profile:

Demographic profile

  • Male
  • Black
  • Age 18-25
  • Single
  • No children
  • 4-year degree
  • Employed full time
  • Household income $75K

Psychographic Profile

  • Exercises regularly
  • Cooks few meals
  • Eats out due to time constraints, stress, and social events
  • Uses Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram
  • Listens to music on Spotify
  • Values time with family and friends
  • Desires high-quality items but struggles with budgeting and saving
  • Looks at his current job as a stepping-stone

Psychographic segmentation

Customer segmentation is the general practice of creating subgroups in your target market based on their shared characteristics. It is used in business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) marketing. Customers may be segmented by demographics, psychographics, or other relevant categories, such as customers who have previously made purchases from the company. 

You can use market segmentation surveys to help you understand how the members of your target market are the same and different.

Psychographic segmentation is the process of customer segmentation using psychological characteristics to divide your target market into groups based on similar traits. By creating these subgroups based on psychological characteristics, you can create marketing campaigns that will effectively impact each segment.

Psychographic segmentation is used with demographic segmentation to create profiles of target audience groups.

Psychographic factors

There are five psychographic segmentation variables to consider. You need to be aware of each type to use the data for market research effectively.

  1. Personality: There is a definite correlation between personality and buying habits. Marketers may segment by creative, emotional, friendly, introvert, extrovert, sociable, or other personality filters. Companies can take this information and develop products based on a particular personality segment. 
  2. Lifestyle: This factor reveals how a person lives their life. Lifestyle can be impacted by occupation, relationship status, or life choices. Examples of lifestyle factors include green-living, fast-paced, minimalists, vegans, athletics, etc.
  3. Social Status: An individual’s social status determines the types of products they purchase. Each social class has its own choices in every market, from cruises to clothes. For example, H&M, Zara, and Forever21 carry affordable clothes for their working and middle-class markets. Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Gucci sell luxury clothes and accessories to upper and upper-middle-class customers.
  4. Activities/Interests/Opinions (AIO): AIO focuses on customers’ passions, activities, and how they feel about issues. By identifying your customers’ AIO, you can tell a lot about their buying habits. AIO factors will include factors such as favorite sports teams, hobbies, television show genres, etc. 
  5. Attitudes: This factor is more challenging to narrow down than the other four. It can include cultural background, upbringing, or religion. An example of using attitudes for psychographic segmentation would be a luxury handbag brand targeting female consumers who drive high-end cars from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, etc.

Benefits of psychographic segmentation

Grouping your customers with psychographic segmentation has multiple benefits for your business.

  • First and most importantly, you’ll gain insight into your customers’ buying behaviors as they relate to their needs, wants, motivations, concerns, and aspirations.
  • With this understanding and insight, you can customize your marketing, advertising, and social media strategies to appeal to specific psychographic segments. 
  • Psychographic segmentation informs product development by examining profiles and determining where your new product might fit into a specific segment’s lives. You can also customize the product for various markets.
  • Rather than focusing on your product’s benefits or features, you can draw attention to how your product or service fits into and improves your customers’ lives.
  • You can gather in-depth information about how and why your customers use your product.
  • Increase efficiency and ROI by using marketing, advertising, and development budgets to direct your message to a specific audience.
  • Take your segmentation beyond behavioral segmentation because you’re including AIO.

How to collect psychographic data

Clearly, having psychographic data is vital to your marketing, advertising, and product development. But how do you collect the data? Let’s take a look. 

Interviews

It’s not necessarily easy, but you’ll glean much more information from speaking directly to your customers. You can pick up on body language and vocal cues in person or via video conference. 

The downside is that hiring and training interviewers can be costly, and data collection and analysis are quite time-consuming. That’s why surveys remain a solid choice for psychographic data collection.

Surveys

Psychographic data can be thoroughly collected with open-ended questions and open-text answer boxes. It can be tempting to send a long survey to gather as much information as possible, but your respondents are more likely to complete the survey if it doesn’t take them longer than five minutes, so try to keep it concise.

Hone in on what psychographics you want to know and begin with a high-level question tailored to your business. 

For example, start with a question asking, “What is your biggest challenge in finding clothing for your active lifestyle?” An open-text answer allows participants to identify their personal challenges. This also allows you to look for trends among respondents.

Next, your questions should strive to refine that information. For example, “What brands of activewear have you heard of?” Provide multiple choice answers to narrow it down. Use a mixture of question types in the survey to maintain respondent interest.

Then bring it to your brand with a Likert Scale question like, “How satisfied are you with the options (our brand) offers?” 

And you can close the questionnaire with more open-ended questions, like, “If you wanted to see one new product from (our brand), what would it be?”

You can continue adding open and closed questions to obtain the necessary information. Our examples are not meant to be a template. You can use any type of survey questions, but with psychographic data, you’ll glean the most insight with open-ended questions.

When you need to find the right people to take your survey, use SurveyMonkey Audience to reach your target market quickly and easily.

Website analytics

Dive into your website’s analytics to review how visitors behave on your site. Do they visit certain pages more frequently? Do those that follow a particular path end in a sale or conversion? Google Analytics is a goldmine of information. Use the demographic overview section to drill down into age brackets and interests. Visit Google Analytics Help for detailed instructions.

You can also use social media analytics for likes, shares, and retweets; this will give you insight into the types of people who want to interact with your brand. 

Use social listening. Create business-specific hashtags and follow them, along with hashtags relevant to your target audience and business. Find out who is talking about you and the topics related to your business. Gauge public sentiment about your industry and brand and use that to inform marketing decisions.

Focus groups

A focus group is a gathering of a small group of people in an interactive setting to discuss a specific topic under the guidance of a moderator. 

With a properly trained moderator, a focus group can yield new insights and a deeper understanding of your target audience. You’ll get feedback directly from customers and uncover issues you may not have considered. 

There are a few drawbacks to focus groups, including bias if there are very outspoken participants, costs related to obtaining a trained moderator and adequate neutral space for the interaction, and the time and effort needed to organize and conduct a focus group.

How to use psychographics in marketing

We’ve discussed the difference between demographics and psychographics, psychographic segmentation, and how to collect psychographic data. Now, let’s talk about how to use the data you’ve collected in your marketing strategy.

Reinforce brand values

Take a look at the psychographic data for your most loyal customers and social media followers. You can take that information and tweak your brand’s values to ensure you are aligned. Reflect your brand values in your content marketing efforts.

For example, if you find your core customers are environmentally conscious, you can work your sustainability efforts into your brand’s values. If your customers are interested in shopping locally, emphasize your connection to local communities. Weave these messages into your web copy, social posts, marketing campaigns, and branding.

Motivate buyers based on their needs

Psychographics have revealed what motivates your customers. Use that data to formulate the information they need to make a decision. 

Use customer reviews to prove your product is relevant and reliable if they are motivated by authenticity. If philanthropic acts inspire them, put a spotlight on your charitable efforts. Do your customers want to save time? Tell them how your product will make a chore effortless or take little time.

Generate new content ideas

Your website probably contains several blog posts or articles about your industry. With psychographic data, you can look at your customers’ interests and tie industry topics with those interests. And when you discover a new topic to cover, you’ll be able to expand upon it for even more content.

For example, if you are a Florida roofing contractor and need more content ideas for your blog, start by looking for your customers’ interests. You may find that several of your potential customers are interested in technology. You take that information and start creating content about solar roofing, shingle tech, and new roofing technologies to keep homes cooler in the hot Florida summers.

Create highly targeted campaigns and messaging

Because you now know how your customers feel and what they want, you can tap into their emotions and questions to create customized messaging that will resonate with your target market.

In email marketing, you can improve open rates and click-throughs by using your customers' questions as subject lines, tying your brand values to customer values, and creating content that directly speaks to their psychographic profiles.

Use your psychographic segmentation to create messaging for subgroups based on your chosen factors. Leverage the emotional element of your brand by associating your product or service with a feeling like Coca-Cola. They have used “open happiness,” “taste the feeling,” and other taglines and language that associate joy with their products.

Capitalize on their priorities and interests

Now that you’re well informed about your target customers’ interests, take that information and share related articles, blog posts, social media messages, and advertisements that surround those interests.

For example, if you’ve learned that your target audience of stay-at-home moms with toddlers are frustrated by the lack of adult interaction and need age-appropriate activities to occupy their children, use that information wisely. You could create a forum with expert advice, inviting moms to join the conversation. Experts could guest host video conferences to address issues related to parenting toddlers. Local threads could serve as a place to create groups for grown-up meet-ups. And a Pinterest board or Instagram with toddler activities would round out the campaign to reach these moms.

Improve conversion pathways

If you haven’t already done so, set up conversion pathways in Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of specific goals.

Apply your psychographic data to identify why people fail to convert or drop off at particular points in the sales funnel.

For example, if people leave your site on your About page, look at your page content. Does the page express your customers’ brand values, or is it simply full of dry biographical data for each employee? Change it up by having each person submit a bio based on a particular value, such as sustainability. 

Optimize landing pages

Focused landing pages can optimize conversions. Accomplish this by using psychographics to determine what aspects or properties of your product to focus on, use wording that will resonate, choose images that your customers will relate to, etc.

Fine-tune your audience targeting

Use the psychographic data you have collected to update your buyer personas or create new ones. Your personas will more accurately reflect your audience and be more useful in creating effective marketing campaigns.

How to use psychographics in product development

As we mentioned earlier, psychographic segmentation can inform product development by examining buyers’ profiles and deciding how your product will meet their needs, desires, etc.

Understand the target market

Psychographic information fills out your buyer personas. In addition to knowing who they are, you have added the knowledge of why they do what they do, including making purchases. This allows for fine-tuning your message to a particular target.

Position the product

Product positioning is much easier when you have psychographic data to help you determine the right audience for your product, which benefits are most appealing to them, and what messaging will resonate. You can target multiple segments and create versions of your product to appeal to each segment.

Communicate key product attributes

In your marketing and advertising, use psychographic data to formulate the messaging that will point out attributes that appeal to your audience segment. For example, if your company makes trendy shoes out of recycled materials, you'll emphasize the styles for the segment who consider themselves trendsetters. For the eco-conscious segment, you’ll point out your eco-friendly practices.

Refine product strategy

Use data to understand how a product fits into your customers’ lifestyles. Introduce product features that will fit into their lives and fill a need.

Examples of companies that use psychographic segmentation

Porsche

Porsche added psychographic segmentation to demographics and geographic segmentation to direct their marketing efforts toward new audiences. 

Patagonia

Patagonia sells hiking gear and other apparel and gear to outdoor enthusiasts. They used psychographics to create marketing that appeals to the market’s interests (e.g., the environment).

Snapchat

Psychographics revealed that kids are interested in content that doesn’t hang around online forever. Snapchat delivered with its “vanishing” content.

Comic-Con

Fans of this event want to be a part of their favorite shows, comics, and movies—not just viewers. This experience was developed to deliver on that desire.

Use psychographics in marketing and product development

Psychographics is an easy way to get to know your customers better. Use it in your marketing, advertising, and product development to appeal to your customers’ values, beliefs, lifestyles, activities, etc.

Gather psychographic data quickly with our Usage & Attitudes solution, and find out more about consumer segmentation with a bit of help from SurveyMonkey.

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