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Where Marketers Go to Grow

December 26, 2013 // 10:00 AM

How to Use Psychographics in Your Marketing: A Beginner's Guide

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Picture this: You’re running specials every week on Facebook, discounting your 3-day in-house nutritional counseling program more than you can afford, but still, no one is buying your amazing anti-aging weight-loss product. What gives?

Is no one interested in losing weight, lowering their cholesterol and feeling younger? Uh, no. We KNOW that’s not it. It’s probably because you are ignoring psychographics.

Download our free guide to marketing psychology here for more tips on how to use psychology in your marketing.

What Are Psychographics?

Psychographics are kind of like demographics. Psychographic information might be your buyer's habits, hobbies, spending habits and values. Demographics explain “who” your buyer is, while psychographics explain “why” they buy. Demographic information includes gender, age, income, marital status – the dry facts. 

You can only effectively reach your target audience when you understand both their demographics and psychographics. The combination of both sets of data starts to form your buyer persona – a detailed picture of the people you work with now, and would like to work with in the future.

Let’s create a very basic buyer persona based upon what we know about the ideal customer for a nutritional counselor. Here goes!

Demographic Information:

  • Female
  • Aged 45-65
  • Married, with children
  • Dealing with issues of weight gain, diabetes, lack of energy or hormonal imbalance
  • Household income $100K+

Psychographic Information:

  • Concerned with health and appearance
  • Wants a healthy lifestyle, but doesn’t have much time
  • Enjoys going online in the evenings, big fan of Pinterest
  • Tends to favor quality over economy
  • Finds fulfillment in her career and family
  • Values time with a small group of friends

Looking at the two lists above, it’s easy to see why you need both. Use demographics alone, and you have only a very hazy outline of your audience – you understand her challenges, but not where to find her and what really moves her to action. Psychographics gives you so much more insight!

Obtaining Psychographics

So now that we understand what psychographics are, how do we go about acquiring them? We outline two major methods below: interviewing your current clients and investigating you website analytics.

1) Interviewing Existing Clients

Right now, take five seconds and think of your best current client. Next time you talk, ask her a little more about herself. You can ask what she did over the weekend, if she’s seen any good movies lately (no? you’re more of a tv or online entertainment fan?), found any great holiday deals, made any New Year’s resolutions.

Depending on your relationship with the person, you can tell her exactly why you’re asking and be more direct. If you’re not in a business where you have that kind of relationship with customers, do you have any friends who are similar to your ideal client? You could ask him or her the same questions.

When you ask the right questions, you can find out what she does for fun, whether she’s a bargain-hunter, what motivates her and what her personal goals are.

Want a larger sampling? Send out a customer survey and be honest – tell them you want to better understand what they care about. Most people are more than happy to share.

2) Investigating Website Analytics

Prefer a more behind-the-scenes kind of investigation? Look at your existing site content and previous special offers. What has moved people to click, call, or buy in the past?

If you haven’t been paying attention to this, it may require some testing, but can also be extremely effective, as people’s true motivations are revealed by the actions they take. They may not think of themselves as bargain-hunters, but if that discount code really worked, it’s good to know.

Using Psychographics in Your Marketing

Getting the psychographic data is important, but really applying it to your marketing is how you make it effective. How would you do this? Let's continue with our on-going example about the anti-aging, weight-loss product.

We've gathered some hypothetical data using the techniques outlined in the previous section, so now let's apply our data to our marketing strategy!

Once you understand what is important to her, you’ll know where to find her and how to motivate her. You’ll know how to give her what she wants - that offering deep discounts isn’t going to move her.

Instead, she wants to hear that your nutritional counseling service has worked for others and how it will give her better health without a huge time commitment. So, make sure you highlight customer comments to that effect.

When you know that she’s spending her free time on Pinterest, you can stop spending money on Facebook or newspaper and magazine ads. Instead, use her love of Pinterest and share time-saving household and nutrition tips and give her ideas for fun things to do with family and friends.

Watch what gets repined and analyze what that tells you about her. Did she love the one about the smiley-face veggie platters for an after-school snack? Give her more ways to help keep her kids eating well. If the “girl’s night out” inspirational quote went over big, give her more ways to have fun with her friends.

When you know that career and family are important to her, you’ll want to share articles highlighting the impact that good health has on job performance and ways to make exercise fun for kids.

Knowing more about her hobbies and interests will help you when you need to choose a prize for your next contest, what to blog about, and what sorts of images to use in your next ad. Before you know it, you’ll have more qualified leads than you thought possible!

Have you been using psychographics in your marketing without even realizing it? Please tell us how you do it below!

download free intro to marketing psychology

  free guide to marketing psychology

Topics: Inbound Marketing Social Media Marketing Data Content Marketing

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