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Psychographics and a Deeper Understanding of Consumer Behavior

Appropriate segmentation of the consumer market enables the manufacturers, sellers and retailers to target their products more accurately to the desired segments of the society. There are several bases on which the consumer market can be segmented, the most common of which are the following:

  • Demographic bases include: age, gender, ethnicity, occupation, marital status, family size, household income etc.
  • Geographic bases include: countries, regions, states etc.
  • Behavioral bases include: product knowledge and usage, individual attitudes and responses etc.
  • Psychographic bases include: lifestyle, interests & activities, values and attitudes, social class, personality etc.

Out of the above, psychographic segmentation is of much more importance to the marketers.

psychographics-definition image
psychographics definition

However, it is important to know both the demographic and psychographic information about your customers in order to target them effectively for marketing purposes. A combination of both the sets of data enables the marketers to form a detailed picture of the existing as well as future buyers of their products.

The Distinction between Demographic and Psychographic Information:

Demographics and psychographics are two distinct categories of information pertaining to the consumers. Whereas demographics relate to basic facts (such as buyer’s age, gender, marital status, income etc.) concerning the buyer; the psychographics relate specifically to the psychological factors that influence the buyer’s behavior (such as hobbies, habits, values and spending habits etc.).

Here is the sample demographic information about a Nutritional Counselor:

  • Gender: Female
  • Age: Between 40-60 years
  • Marital Status: Married two teenage children
  • Professional Information:
    • Deals with issues of weight gain/loss, Diet and Diabetes,
    • Energy drain, Hormonal imbalance etc.
  • Annual Household Income: £50,000

Following is the psychographic information concerning the same Nutritional Counselor mentioned above:

  • Concerned with health and personal appearance
  • Maintains a healthy lifestyle, though hard pressed for time
  • Finds greater fulfillment in devoting to her career and family
  • Spends much time online during the free time and in the evenings, specially on Facebook and other social networking sites
  • More concerned about the quality of the items that she buys, rather than their cost
  • Prefers to spend quality time with a small group of her friends

The examples given above illustrate the distinct type of information obtained from demographic and psychographic analyses. Demographics alone give a hazier outline about your target audience. It gives you some idea about the social segment to which the person belongs and about the challenges generally faced by the people belonging to such segment. However, the demographic information does not give you a fuller idea about what actually moves the person to take shopping decisions and to act on them. On the contrary, the psychographic information is much more insightful.


(Source: The Evolution of Data #infographic)

Ways of Obtaining Psychographic Information:

Following are two ways of obtaining psychographic information about your target audience:

  • Direct interviews with your existing clients/customers:

Depending on your relationship with the clients, you can ask them, directly or indirectly, about their personal interests and tastes; and what they usually do during the weekends and free time. If required, you can disclose the purpose of your enquiry.

Alternately, you can ask similar leading questions to persons known to you and who, you think, fit with your ideal clients/customers.

In case you want a larger sampling, you can send out a survey questionnaire to your customers. Generally your customers would be happy to cooperate and be honest in their submissions, if you are honest with them. They would respond happily if you tell them that you can serve them better if you understand them and their requirements fully well.

  • Investigating your website analytics

This is behind-the-scene method of obtaining the psychographics about your customers. This is done by investigating your customers’ interactions with your company’s website. It will reveal you the data concerning your customers’ interest in the content of your website and your special offers. It will reveal what moved your customers to click on any particular content of your website, and what moved them to call back or buy the items displayed or referenced on the website.

Applying Psychographics to Marketing

  • While getting psychographic data about your customers is important, the meaningful application of the insightful data to your marketing techniques is what matters most and makes it really effective.
  • Once you understand what motivates the customers to buy, you will have to provide exactly what the customers want. Simply providing deep discounts would not persuade the customer to buy the items they do not need or in which they do not have any interest.
  • Thus psychographic information about your customers can be used in various ways to personalize your marketing techniques.

Psychographics and a Deeper Understanding of Consumer Behavior:

  • Whereas demographic characteristics (such as age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, household income etc.) are more useful in preparing general segmentation of your customers, psychographics help in more accurate prediction of consumer behavior. Psychographics reveal the unique differences among the consumers as to where they shop, what products they buy and what brands they usually prefer or to which they remain loyal.
  • Psychographic analysis helps in understanding the target audience based on their interests, values and attitudes. It gives the advertisers a far better picture of the target audience beyond simply knowing where they live and what they do. It enables the advertisers to target more specific and granular audience rather than those based on sweeping generalizations.

The psychographic analyses have gained more significance with the rise of social media and internet. People now interact more readily with those with whom they share common interests and values despite the geographic and other demographic barriers.

Prior to the arrival of the smart technologies it was not easy to capture the required psychographic data of the target audience. But now various new technologies are emerging to meet such challenges.

Further reading:

If you’d like to learn more about Psychographics, check out these resources:

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Last modified on August 18th, 2023 at 2:35 pm