While psychographic marketing might sound like a serial killer advertising, it’s not! Psychographic marketing is actually a very intelligent way to target users. Psychographics is the study and classification of people according to their attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria, especially in market research. It’s based on a strategy of understanding a user’s life stage, value system and behaviors, and using this to target ads. Knowing what the day in the life of your buyer persona looks like is undoubtedly valuable when creating an integrated marketing strategy.
People often confuse psychographics with demographics. While demographic information, (like age, gender, income, race, etc.) can be helpful, they miss out on a larger issue. Demographics explain “who” your buyer is, while psychographics explain “why” they buy. Think about the last time you saw a company’s marketing campaign and thought, “Yep, that’s me. I’m gettin’ that!” Consumers are looking for a brand that speaks to them and confirms their own self-identity. A consumer’s purchase behavior is much more likely to be guided by the thoughts in their head and their self and social identity. Consumers are looking for products, brands and businesses that confirm and/or enhance the version of themselves that they hope to push forward.
Understanding Consumer Needs
One of the most helpful exercises when identitifying a customer’s need, is seeing where they fall on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This model was developed decades ago and is based on a pyramid of needs. The argument is that it’s only when you’ve achieved one level of the pyramid, can you move on to the next. For example, if you don’t have a job, you won’t work about being in a relationship. On the contraty, once you feel a sense of belonging with your family, friends, clubs, etc., you’ll start striving for respect, esteem and achievement.
The members of society in the physiological stage are generally difficult to reach via marketing, so we’ll focus on the other categories.
Safety Needs: Safety is feeling both physically safe, and also financially secure — essentially whatever it takes to live life comfortably. For example, a person should feel safe if they are healthy, have a securely locked home in a safe neighborhood, have some type of job security with insurance and a savings plan, and they are free from stress and violence.
Belonging (and Love): This is where our need for community comes in. Most humans value other human interaction including family, friendship, and intimacy. We want to feel that we are
loved and that we belong to a group, which many find through school, work, sports teams, religious groups, neighborhoods, or with the people you grew up with.
Self-Actualization: Once you’ve reached your full potential, you’ve hit self-actualization. This could be finding your passion and purpose in life, finding meaning, or leaving a legacy. This is why it’s not uncommon for humans to aim for fulfilling careers and/or families of their own. This human need is also very aspirational. Maslow believed that a person must master the previous needs before achieving this final step.
Defining Your Customer
The next step is defining who your customer is. One of the easiest and most fun way to do this is by creating a cusomter avatar. A customer avatar is a fictional character that represents your ideal prospect. When complete, it will help you understand the motivating beliefs, fears and secret desires that influence your customer’s buying decisions.
- Demographic – age, gender, geographic location
- Lifestyle – employment, family, home, transport
- Personality – e.g. generous, determined, optimistic, pedantic
- Interests – hobbies, sports, favorite travel destinations, reading matter, tv programs
- Favorite things – three things they wouldn’t be without right now
Remember it’s all about life stages!
These different tactics can help you segment and target in a way that’s alighned with your business and focus on the right types of people.