What are psychographics?

Let’s say that you run a smoothie shop, and you’ve just run several Google Adwords campaigns for your nutritional weight loss smoothies. You’ve spent a healthy amount of money on it and you’re getting some clicks, but nobody is actually coming into the store to buy anything. What gives?

The simple answer is that you may be targeting your customers in the wrong way. How could that happen? Because you might not know them as well as you think just yet. You may have some really good demographic data on them like gender, age, and income, but you’re going to need psychographic data as well.

Psychographics are details about what people think or who they aspire to be. Often, this is a better predictor of why they will buy. Why? Because it reveals their detailed preferences. Two middle-aged and married homeowners who are demographically identical could have vastly different psychographic data and require different marketing. Don’t abandon demographics however, because you’ll need both to form what is called a complete buyer persona


  • Gender
  • Age
  • Marriage Status
  • Income


  • Concerns
  • Lifestyle
  • Habits
  • Opinions
  • Values


Getting to the buyer persona

When you can combine factual data like where people live, their income, and their age with subjective data like their beliefs, values, habits, and lifestyle, you create a buyer persona that can come to life.

It’s the difference between marketing to Suzy, Female, aged 31 who makes $75k/year and marketing to Suzy the advertising manager who’s interesting in digital marketing, is in a long-term committed relationship, volunteers at the Red Cross, and whose guilty pleasure is binge-watching crime dramas on Netflix. One of those Suzies seems like a statistic while the other feels like a living, breathing person who we could market to.

What products of yours do you think Suzy would be interested in? That’s the level of detail that we’re trying to get to.


I want psychographics. How do I go about gathering them? 

To gather psychographics, the best place to start is with your best customers! Ask them for a brief interview and find out why they bought, why they’re happy (or aren’t), where else they shop, and what their top day to day concerns are. Get to know them a little better as people and take notes. Ask how their weekend was, how their kids are doing, and what movies they watch. Take note of everything because it’s often surprising what’s useful later on.

Next, interview your customer service associates or anyone who deals with customers on a daily basis. Ask them to theorize on who their typical customers are, who the best ones are, and what they all care about.

Have you discovered anything surprising? Take the questions you’ve now raised and craft a brief multiple-choice survey (6-10 questions is ideal) for the rest of your customer base. Surveys work well in-person but even better online with tools like SurveyMonkey. If you want to guarantee good results, offer a gift card drawing. Here are some sample questions:

  • What are your interests?
  • What do you like to do on your days off? 
  • What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last month? 
  • What books have you read recently? 
  • When you purchase your product, what problem did it help you solve? 

As answers start flowing in, you now have a database of psychographic information that you can start incorporating this in your marketing. Take some time reviewing the data and writing out several customer personas like the one above for Suzy. They don’t need to be more than a few sentences, but they’ll help guide your decision making for the next step.


Where do I best reach my customers?

Returning to our example of Suzy, we now know that Suzy is 31 and a millennial, so she’s probably savvy with technology. She’s also interested in digital marketing, which means that she probably knows a lot about how Google Adwords works. Why isn’t AdWords capturing her attention? It’s because she knows she can avoid them with a service like AdBlocker and doesn’t ever see them! 

Now is when we need to re-evaluate the Adwords campaign. Maybe, a direct mail marketing campaign will be much more effective at reaching her because it will actually get through and stand out. Make this one change and voila! Psychographics have saved the day, and “Suzy” and people like her are walking in your smoothie shop doors asking about the two-for-one discount.


Psychographics are often what’s missing

The most successful marketing happens with good data. As you can see, psychographics are some of the most valuable data that you can gather from your customers. Going forward, collect it on a more regular basis. Teach your customer service team what it is, why it’s important, and how to report interesting facts about patrons. You can incorporate surveys into your online shopping experience. And you can go the extra mile and go through an agency to conduct focus groups.

All of this should lead you to one question: what don’t I know about my customers right now? You have the tools, you just need to go and collect it.

If you’re interested but too busy, Opportunity Knocks Marketing can give you direct access to psychographic data on millions of consumers in your area, and help you run marketing to them. Give them a call at 877-222-6010 and get started right now!


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