What is psychographics? Is it the “dark arts” of marketing — as some, including former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, have claimed?
Or is it merely the standard operating procedure for today’s savviest advertisers?
Does it even work?
The topic is certainly catching media attention, with 2018 seeing a drastic uptick in “psychographics” mentions across news outlets, largely because of the recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal. However, it had already started gaining media attention even before its Facebook moment.
In the world of marketing, the success of every strategy depends on how well you select your target audience and what methods you use to target them. This process of audience targeting includes four main market segmentation, the demographic, the geographic, the psychographic, and the behavior of an individual. When marketers are preparing their strategy, they generally tend to give major emphasis to the demographics and the location of their target audience. Psychographics and behavior of an individual are given comparatively less weight. This is because it’s difficult to obtain reliable data on these two segmentations. But that does not mean you ignore them completely. Talking about psychographics, it plays an important role in targeting your audience by giving you data about your target audience’s interests.
Psychographics segmentation can be defined as the audience bifurcation based on the attitudes, desires, and opinions of your audience. This bifurcation, though not definite, does help in building a much better persona of the target audience for your marketing strategy. So let us understand how you can use psychographics to get more customers for your business.
Psychographics is analyzed to understand the opinions, interests and attitude pattern of the target audience. Now, there are multiple factors with psychographic segmentation. Hence, to make psychographics a much simpler concept, it is divided into three factors, activities, interested and opinions. These factors combined together are also known as AIO variables of psychographics. So if you want to collect the psychographic data of your target audience, you need to understand the following factors:
Activities are the actions that your target audience perform. These actions are hobbies and other actions which the target audience often do. So identify what your audience loves to do. Are they into reading or do they love to hear podcasts instead? When you identify the activities that the majority of your target audience loves to do, it helps you create campaigns around those activities. Doing so will help you grab the attention of your target audience towards your campaign. For example, if your target audience is a bunch of sports enthusiasts, you can target this audience by consistently posting videos about different sports on social media.
Coming to interest, do not make the mistake of confusing interest with activities. Though they fall under the same umbrella, they are different from each other. Interests are things, people, places and activities that your target audience are interested in. Interests do not really need to have an action. For example, you can be interested in knowing about eco-friendly products, but that does not mean you only use eco-friendly products. Interest is a factor that is more on the lines of a person’s cognitive choice and not an action based choice.
Opinions is another self-explanatory factor. It refers to thoughts and views of your target audience concerning a given subject or topic. Generally, when people have a set opinion about a matter, and it matches with other people, they tend to form a community. One such example is PETA. PETA a community formed by people who have the love for animals and have strong opinions about animal welfare. So if you want to bifurcate your audience based on their opinions, you will have to ask specific questions to them to know about their opinion.
Understanding the AOI variable and putting it to use will help you create a marketing strategy that will appeal to the interests and opinions of your target audience.
We already discussed how you can cover the three different facets of psychographics to target your audience. Now to find out about these factors of your target audience, you need to decide a method. In the market research process, there is not one but multiple ways through which you can collect psychographic data of your target audience:
Hire a Research Firm
For a business that is not well-versed with the idea of conducting a detailed market research, taking matters in your own hand may not be the ideal thing. Instead, hire a market research firm that specializes in different types of market researches. Market research firms have specialized teams to conduct complete market research from field work to final data analysis. This gives you a direct result without having to take the efforts of conducting lengthy field works and surveys. This not only saves you time but also money as conducting a market research is not free of cost.
A focus group is a small gathering of people from different demographics. This group is formed to gauge the opinions and reactions of the group for a particular topic. The major task when conducting a focus group is to gather the people and accumulate the data. Once you are able to gather the people, you need to put forth to them the questions you have regarding the topic and let them have an open discussion. During such discussions, it is easier to understand the opinions of the people regarding the topic. Do keep in mind to include both your current customers and targeted persona types in the focus group. This will give you an idea of whether you have determined the right type of target audience or not.
Conducting surveys is a form of marketing that not only works for demographic data but also psychographic data. You can create questionnaires to identify the behavioral patterns, attitudes, and opinions of your target audience. Another benefit of conducting surveys is that it is budget-friendly to create and easy to distribute. You could send it across via emails or add the forms on your website, whichever method suits you.
Refer Analytic Data
Technological advancement brought with it the boon of artificial intelligence. With the help of AI, you can analyze the online browsing data of your target audience and utilize it to understand their psychographics. One such tool that helps you analyze audience data is Google Analytics. With the help of Google Analytics, you can get demographic, psychographic and geographic data.
Here is a very small sample of the interests that Google assigns to users – and the interests that marketers can use to create psychographic segments:
Audience personas are assumed personality traits of audiences that you choose when deciding your target audience. For any marketing strategy, identifying the right target audience is essential. Now personas are assumed personalities so they cannot be completely accurate. However, when you understand even the psychographics of your audience, you are able to build better personas. With psychographic analysis, you have a more in-depth persona of the audience. Having a detailed persona enables you to decide how you can target the audience to capture the best of their interests. For example, with the help of psychographics, you will know exactly what are the interests of your audience, and you can frame those interests in your blogs to keep them engaged.
Use Psychographics for Content Creation
Content marketing is an important type of online marketing, especially if you wish to rank high in the search engine result pages. Did you know that the best use of psychographics can be done in content marketing? That’s right! A content creation such as blogging is a process in which you need to identify the pain points of your audience and provide solutions to their problems. To know such details of your audience, you need to know more than their age and gender. You need to understand their behavior, their needs, why they would want your service, how you can help them, why they would be interested in your service, etc. Such questions can be answered when you conduct a psychographic analysis of your target audience. Also, such questions will help you come up with topics that you might not even have thought of in the first place. For example, if you run a legal business and generally write blogs on ‘Wills and estate planning’, you will eventually run out of topics ideas. However, a psychographic analysis will help you find out that there are other parallel topics of interest for your target audience that may not directly be related to your business but do affect them such as ‘tax planning when estate planning’.When you use such data and create blogs on such related topics, you get to keep your audience engaged.
While demographics give you the details about your audience’s age and gender, psychographics gives you a much deeper insight into what your audience thinks, their emotions and their feelings towards a certain topic. You can use the insights to draft emails with emotional value and high level of personalization. Additionally, it will improve your email open rate. The good thing about email marketing is that it allows businesses a high level of customization for a better targeting. You can create any type of subject line and keep your email as conversational as possible to create that connection with your target audience.
Have More Targeted Social Media Content
Major social media platforms such as Facebook has become famous in the online marketing circle for their exceptional audience targeting options. Facebook, for instance, takes many steps ahead by even letting you filter your audience based on the pages they have liked. This type of filtering is, in fact, a very good example of psychographic filtering of the audience. Social media is one place where psychographics does play a major role. This is because people use social media to look up things that they have some emotional connect to, they are interested in knowing about general topics, they want to know what’s trending, etc. Also, they want content that fancies their interests and not just their gender or age. So when you plan to create or curate content for your social media profiles, psychographics is one essential factor to consider.
Create Better Connecting Ads
Online ads have revolutionized over time. With more and more businesses opting for online ads, you need to figure out how you can make your target audience actually click on your real estate ad. If you think of using a plain and simple ad copy which mentions what you have to sell, then you are not going to appeal to the feelings of your target audience. Use the data acquired from the psychographics and come up with ads that talk to the audience and provide sentimental values.For example, if you sell mobile phones, you need to identify the personality of your target audience and identify their role models. Based on the information, you will be able to create ads with the right brand ambassadors or social influencers who will endorse your products for your target audience.
Marketers often keep focusing on demographics when framing their marketing strategy but it’s time you realized how equally important psychographics is to get the emotional value to your marketing strategy. So make sure you make a comprehensive marketing strategy that uses all the different types of market segmentation to form the best strategy for your business.
Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches.
Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.