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Are You Integrating Psychographics Into Your Marketing?

Recent advances in internet technology have made psychographics more actionable

Psychographics Has Come Of Age

Marketing based on demographics (which focuses on differentiators like age, location, marital status, ethnicity, religion) creates the foundation for most consumer analysis. However, in recent years psychographics has come of age with an added, even more essential layer of assessment that taps into customers’ lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors. This added information sharpens an organization’s understanding of individuals who are most likely to respond favorably to specific product and marketing messaging. Most importantly, psychographics translates directly into increased profits and helps you stay one step ahead of the competition.

Recent advances in Internet technology have made psychographics more actionable, helped clarify the relative importance of different psychographic variables, and made psychographic information much more accessible. In the longer term, careful use of psychographics can also help you develop products and services that appeal directly to specific subgroups.

Social media psychographics analytics help you identify trends in interests, attitudes and sentiments so you can better shape your marketing for different psychographics categories. Also, by monitoring social media, you gain immediate access to online conversations that reveal differences and commonalities between subgroups. This information helps you identify trends in interests, attitudes and sentiments to help better discern psychographic attitudes–giving you a heads-up about emerging issues and psychographics differentiators.

Finally, it’s clear that psychographics has made it easier for consumers/individuals to find like-minded people on the Internet. This has served as a unifier for people that cuts across communities, countries and demographic categories. –In fact, for better or worse, people increasingly identify more with their online interest-based communities than their demographic groups.

What Can You Learn From Psychographics?

Consider the following example–marketers used to buy print and online publications ads that targeted single women in a specific age category. With psychographics, that differentiator can be parcelled out into those women who most strongly align with protecting the environment, physical fitness, progressive social values, etc. With that added information, it then becomes possible to know which venues to select in reaching out to those subgroups and how to better tailor your messaging to match the values of each.

Psychographics reveals areas of previously hidden conflict among groups, even for those interested in the same product or service. With proper tailoring of messaging to subgroups, a company can avoid the pitfall of alienating an entire market segment. For example, a marketing message that focuses on the play advantages of a tech tool for children will not appeal to parents who care more about its educational benefits.

Bottom line–psychographic data alerts you to consumer divisions and sensitivities that are not revealed in standard demographic data. It alerts you to individual interests, attitudes and the range of emotional reactions elicited by different marketing messages for different subgroups.

Going forward, I’ll discuss concrete actions you can take to incorporate Infographics into your marketing.

Psychographics

Arnold Mitchell of Stanford University originated psychographics in the 1960s

There are three ways to understand your current and potential future customers–

  • The first, Using demographic and socioeconomic identifiers (e.g., age, race, sex, income, education).
  • The second is behavioral segmentation, e.g., tracking shopper behavior via retailer loyalty card usage.
  • The third set of differentiators, and the focus of this Insights article is psychographics, e.g., tracking individuals who share values, emotions, personality type, and lifestyle.

The Most Widely Used Psychographic Typology

Psychologist Arnold Mitchell of Stanford University originated psychographics in the 1960s. His typology has evolved over the years but is remains the most popular psychographic differentiator.

His Original Categories–

  • Survivors–Often older, lower income people who are out of the consumer mainstream.
  • Sustainers–Younger, often struggling, distrustful and angry (adjectives especially descriptive of 21st-century Millennials).
  • Belongers–Traditional folks whose lives are focused on home, family and community; generally conform to mainstream culture and patterns of consumption.
  • Emulators–Upwardly mobile, often wannabees, who are focused on material advancement and gaining prestige. Disposable income frequently limited; may overspend.
  • Experientials–Seeking direct experience, inner growth and artistic expression/appreciation.
  • Achievers–Higher socioeconomic, strongly individualistic professionals who are status conscious and materialistic.
  • Socially Conscious–Actively seek a sustainable, low carbon footprint. Support social improvements.

The Current Version Of Mitchell’s Typology Adds The Following–

  • Needs-Driven–Impulse buyers–those, for example, who may watch late night shopping channels.
  • Balanced–A small percentage of the population exhibiting a combination of achiever and socially conscious values and behaviors.

Using Psychographics

It takes time and resources to develop valid and reliable psychographics tailored to your market. However, doing so will give you much more precise data; more focused messaging and improve your sales.

Psychographic Findings Are Based On Survey Analysis, Web Tools, Analytics And Similar Options.

  • Survey Analysis. After identifying your criteria, you can use surveys (usually accessible online via embedded links) to get quick results. The problem with surveys is that response rates are usually low for valid and reliable statistical analysis. The central problem–research demonstrates that those who respond give different kinds of answers than those who don’t, resulting in skewed results.
  • Analytics. Web analytics is indispensable, alerting you to specific information that your readers/subscribers respond to. This includes messaging/information styles they like best.
  • Web Tools. Nielsen’s PRIZM is one of many helpful segmentation tools. However, they require careful consideration of likely categories to avoid missing the mark.
  • Outsourcing. There are many marketing companies and individual freelancers (the latter, found on sites like Upworthy) happy to do the work for you. They conduct psychographic and demographic research using surveys, focus groups and online research tailored to your needs. This is an easy choice, one too costly for many organizations.

Research may confirm that your consumers fall into one psychographic category, helping you focus clearly on that specific audience. However, most businesses offer more than one product or service. Each one will have its own audience/psychographic qualities. Having this information allows you to send tailored messaging to each of your consumer groups.

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Arnold Mitchell of Stanford University originated psychographics in the 1960s

There are three ways to understand your current and potential future customers–

  • The first, is using demographic and socioeconomic identifiers (e.g., age, race, sex, income, education).
  • The second is behavioral segmentation, e.g., tracking shopper behavior via retailer loyalty card usage.
  • The third set of differentiators, and the focus of this Insights article is psychographics, e.g., tracking individuals who share values, emotions, personality type, and lifestyle.

The Most Widely Used Psychographic Typology

Psychologist Arnold Mitchell of Stanford University originated psychographics in the 1960s. His typology has evolved over the years but is remains the most popular psychographic differentiator.

His Original Categories–

  • Survivors–Often older, lower income people who are out of the consumer mainstream.
  • Sustainers–Younger, often struggling, distrustful and angry (adjectives especially descriptive of 21st-century Millennials).
  • Belongers–Traditional folks whose lives are focused on home, family and community; generally conform to mainstream culture and patterns of consumption.
  • Emulators–Upwardly mobile, often wannabees, who are focused on material advancement and gaining prestige. Disposable income frequently limited; may overspend.
  • Experientials–Seeking direct experience, inner growth and artistic expression/appreciation.
  • Achievers–Higher socioeconomic, strongly individualistic professionals who are status conscious and materialistic.
  • Socially Conscious–Actively seek a sustainable, low carbon footprint. Support social improvements.

The Current Version Of Mitchell’s Typology Adds The Following–

  • Needs-Driven–Impulse buyers–those, for example, who may watch late night shopping channels.
  • Balanced–A small percentage of the population exhibiting a combination of achiever and socially conscious values and behaviors.

Using Psychographics

It takes time and resources to develop valid and reliable psychographics tailored to your market. However, doing so will give you much more precise data; more focused messaging and improve your sales.

Psychographic Findings Are Based On Survey Analysis, Web Tools, Analytics And Similar Options.

  • Survey Analysis. After identifying your criteria, you can use surveys (usually accessible online via embedded links) to get quick results. The problem with surveys is that response rates are usually low for valid and reliable statistical analysis. The central problem–research demonstrates that those who respond give different kinds of answers than those who don’t, resulting in skewed results.
  • Analytics. Web analytics is indispensable, alerting you to specific information that your readers/subscribers respond to. This includes messaging/information styles they like best.
  • Web Tools. Nielsen’s PRIZM is one of many helpful segmentation tools. However, they require careful consideration of likely categories to avoid missing the mark.
  • Outsourcing. There are many marketing companies and individual freelancers (the latter, found on sites like Upworthy) happy to do the work for you. They conduct psychographic and demographic research using surveys, focus groups and online research tailored to your needs. This is an easy choice, one too costly for many organizations.

Research may confirm that your consumers fall into one psychographic category, helping you focus clearly on that specific audience. However, most businesses offer more than one product or service. Each one will have its own audience/psychographic qualities. Having this information allows you to send tailored messaging to each of your consumer groups.

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