As voodoo as it sounds, the term psychographics has a deeper value in terms of customer retention and/or customer engagement.

What are psychographics?

Psychographics is a qualitative methodology used to describe consumers on psychological attributes, such as personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests and lifestyles. Since this area of research focuses on activities, interests, and opinions, psychographic factors are sometimes abbreviated to 'AIO variables'.

Where is it mostly used?

Psychographic studies of individuals or communities can be valuable in the fields of marketing, demographics, opinion research, prediction, and social research in general.

You might have heard of demographics which focuses more on statistical data of people in general such as Age, Gender, Sex etc. Demographics focuses on finding business markets and segmenting them where Psychographics focuses on how to actually target them.

Psychographics have been overlooked for so many years and it's the missing ingredient in many marketing campaigns. Psychographics are widely used in marketing and conversion optimisation domains specifically in market research. Marketers try to understand the most they can about their customers, demographics, being one of the most obvious and important areas. Included in this marketing segmentation spread are behavioural characteristics, geography, and psychographics.

Understanding Psychographics!

One easy way to get a head-start on Psychographics is to compare it with demographics. Demographic data is relatively easy to find since these are objective data which can be easily extracted using Google Analytics without creating any custom flows. Psychographics on the other hand, are soft, subjective information which will take a lot of time to interpret and get significant results.

Let's take a look at some sample data which can help us understand this better:

  • Demographics: Alicia, a 29 year old female from Bangalore, India who is single. She is a graduate and earns about 12 lac INR a year.
  • Psychographics: Alicia likes to dance and has fitness goals for the next 3 months since she is going to get married. Alicia like to wear fancy clothes and is a travel junkie.

Now, with this information, how would you as a marketing agency, target Alicia to join a gym/dance classes. You could probably start a campaign which says "Are you getting married soon and want to look stunning for your wedding? Join our classes blah blah blah."

So, this is how psychographics are helpful in targeting customers based on their motivations/personality. Demographics alone wouldn't have allowed for such an agency to start a campaign which meant something to the target customer.

Let's take an example from a company that has top-notch marketing strategies, Apple.

Let's dive a little deeper on how Apple created this ad:

  1. They wanted to market Face ID reach the audience after all the hype when it was first introduced.
  2. They probably brainstormed on the target groups to identify which markets could be easily targeted.
  3. Face ID, simply is an easier way to unlock anything just like its fingerprint unlock.
  4. Now, why would you want to unlock in a simpler way? Because you don't want to remember your password. Who does?
  5. They probably went on to see who actually needed such feature and found out that people/segments who had full-time jobs, had many passwords, business people, insecure people etc were all part of this segment.
  6. Now, when you have the motivation of the target user, it's easy to create a campaign, easier if it's APPLE.

Digging deeper into AIO variables – Activities, Interests and Opinions.

Activities

All of your customers do some kind of activities that they are interested in apart from work. This could include dancing, singing, camping, partying, fishing, trekking and so on. When we conduct a psychographic research primarily through surveys and questionnaires, we can find information on customers' activities. The more information, the better understanding of the customer/segment. For example, you are Amazon and you find that most of your customers are interested in trekking. So, you as a service will probably show more trekking products like hiking shoes, camping tents etc on the first page rather than showing any random product. There are ways to ask your customer about their hobbies and the preferred method would be to throw an open-ended question such as "What do you like to do outside work?". This would give you some valuable subjective answers which is difficult to process but worth knowing it.

Interests

Interests is mind-numbingly broad, both as a term, and as it applies to psychographics. Interests include the information and life experiences that occupy a customer's mind. Interests are shaped by the surrounding culture, socioeconomic status, the current economy, one's upbringing, and one's self-identity. Someone who has just started a business is probably interested in articles on entrepreneurship, networking events, time management and marketing agencies to promote their business. To target them, we need to catch hold of such information prior to creating a campaign or just personalise campaigns to such groups. A person's interests change over time. The person who is, at one point in her life, interested in parenting might, years later, not have as much interest in this area. Her interests have changed. There is no single interest that will characterise your target audience. Instead, you'll encounter a spread of interests, depending on who it is that you're targeting and the product you are marketing. As you conduct your psychographic research, look for trends. Chances are, some interests will be more prevalent than others among your target audience.

Opinions

Attitudes/Opinions are the ways of thinking about a given topic. An opinion is a specific thinking response to a person, a concept, a theory, a belief, a thing. When it comes to discovering your audience's opinions, you'll need to narrow your focus to some degree. What is it that you want to get your customer's opinion about?

For the above example of a customer starting a business, you might want to know his/her opinion on certain government laws being passed that restrict certain businesses? If/not that will affect their business, etc. You could also ask open-ended opinion based questions to better understand your customers. Understanding opinions is one of the most valuable areas of psychographic research. Opinions reveal values. And values are one of the most enduring forms of personal motivation that exist.

Using Psychographics in your Marketing

We cannot just stop with gathering the data, using it in your marketing flows is very important. Otherwise, you're just a company that has information about its customers. That's creepy!

Once you gain insights on your customers' values and motivation, it's easier to target them. Offering just discounts won't help your campaigns if the customers are not even looking for that in the first place.

Some broad examples to look at:

  1. Netflix uses banners of their titles based on users' interests or history of their usage. https://robertkatai.com/netflix-found-power-visual-marketing/
  2. Psychographic methods gained prominence in the 2016 US presidential election due to its use in micro-targeting advertisements to narrow constituencies by Cambridge Analytica.