Psychographics in Market Research

Demographic data is an important aspect of targeting criteria, but they won’t always provide a complete understanding of your target audience. Typically, it is of interest for researchers to better understand the values, opinions, and beliefs that act as explanations of consumer behavior. Luckily, the collection of psychographics can help market researchers achieve such understandings. Where demographic data will explain who the buyer is, while psychographic data will explain why they buy.

Recognize the Differences

You can only successfully reach your target audience when you best comprehend both their demographics and psychographics. It is vital to understand the variances. Psychographic information might be your consumers shopping habits, hobbies, and beliefs. Demographic information will include gender, age, income, marital status, etc. Let’s review some examples;

Demographic Information:

  • Female
  • Aged 45-65
  • Married, with children
  • Household income $100K+

Psychographic Information:

  •    Primary or equal decision maker when it comes to grocery shopping.
  •    Buys organic food products.
  •    Purchased wine in the past six months.
  •    Owns a pet.

After viewing the two lists above, it is easy to recognize why both can be essential. The use of demographics alone might only provide a very blurred outline of your audience. With just demographics it is possible to understand a respondent’s challenges, but not what really moves them to action. Overall, psychographics provide so much more insight!

How to Collect Psychographics

There are several ways to collect psychographic data; surveys, analytics from third-party resources, focus groups, independently or hire externally. Each of these sources offer useful information, but it is vital to only gather the information you need as some collection methods can be costly.

  •    Surveys – questionnaires are normally inexpensive to create and can be distributed in various ways (online, in-person, etc.). Moreover, customers are usually familiar with this type of research, so it won’t require the explanations that are necessary to conduct focus groups, or other data collection methods.  
  •    Focus Groups – this type of data collection method allows researchers to test audiences that match the ideal consumer and better understand their attitudes and beliefs. Focus groups provide a way for researchers to ask more in-depth and follow-up questions, rather than the fixed set of questions. The use of focus groups is certainly valuable, but the process can be time intensive and expensive.
  •    Third-Party Analytics Data – sites like Google and Facebook offer detailed analytics data. Taking advantage of these information sources are beneficial as the data can be easily collected with little cost associated. For analytics found on Google or Twitter, there is some leg work required, but it will pay off when the data reveals in-depth insight to the behavioral aspects of targeted consumers.

The methods of collecting psychographics can be daunting. If the actual research takes too much time away from other daily responsibility, it is always an option to hire market research companies to do the job for you. Market research companies, like AYTM, specialize in gathering data and can offer a plethora of useful psychographic data.

Putting Your Data to Good Use

Now that the psychographic data has been collected, it’s pertinent to put it to good use. As we’ve learned psychographics unlock a broader understanding of targeted consumers. The best way to visualize these broad psychographics is to create customer personas through the data collected. Even if you’ve already created customer personas for marketing use, it is important to consider how previous personas stack up to the new ones. New psychographic data can provide information that you didn’t previously think of, or maybe add extra details to your current personas. What is certain, customer personas will definitely improve with new data and the more detailed you can make your personas, the better! Developing customer personas may shed light on the fact that diversity exists among your targeted consumers. The marketing approach to one persona can differ entirely from another. Segmenting your data can prove to be a useful step prior to your marketing initiatives.

The Takeaway

Psychographics provide companies an excellent opportunity to thoroughly understand their consumer base. When it’s done properly, a business’s target consumers will feel understood and as a result will establish a brand loyalty. It is fundamental to invest in a good data collection method and ensure that the interpretation is accurate. Largely, psychographics will enhance your understanding of your customers, thus improving your marketing strategy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ariel Hagaman
I was born and raised in New Jersey, and currently work for AYTM as Director of Client Services. I am a graduate of the University of Phoenix, and have always found that I am at my best when working with people. My favorite past-times are reading, skiing, and yoga!