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Psychographics marketing

Updated on February 16, 2011

Psychographics marketing may be a concept that you are not fully aware of, but it is an essential part of marketing. Psychographics marketing involves dividing potential customers into groups, according to their psychological characteristics. This sounds incredibly complicated, but it is actually a relatively simple concept once you understand it.

What is psychographics marketing?

Most marketing involves certain demographics, which refers to factors such as the age, location, marital status, ethnicity and religion of the person in question. Psychographics goes beyond this to ask questions of the lifestyles, behavior and attitude of the person in question to build up a more detailed picture of who they are. These tend to be directly related to consumerism, and the type of products that people prefer to buy based on their lifestyle choices.

Why is psychographics marketing important?

Surveys that ask these types of questions are vital to market researchers, who often use them to gain information on people who have bought their products in the past, or may be tempted to do so in the future. Psychographics marketing can work alongside demographic marketing to allow advertisers to promote their products effectively, in order to sell their products in the long term. As many advertisers concentrate predominantly on demographics, using psychographics marketing as well can leave advertisers one-step ahead of their competition.

In the past, advertisers could easily buy advertising space that targeted the people that they wanted to buy their products. For example, they could buy advertising space which targeted men aged 18-35 who lived in the city. This is done using demographics. With the introduction of psychographics marketing, advertisers can now target specific men within that demographic, such as men who like to work out, or eat healthily. This helps them to teach out to the men who may ultimately buy their products, whilst bypassing the ones who probably would not. They can do this by buying advertising space in a health and fitness magazine, for example. Men who do not have an interest in this topic are unlikely to read these types of magazines, so it is a cost-effective way of targeting the specific people that may buy your products.

What does psychographics marketing involve?

The days of buying advertising space and hoping for the best are long gone, as this is a sure-fire way to eat into your profits, and perhaps even make a loss. These days, psychographics marketing is much more likely to involve detailed research into the newspapers, magazines, radio and television programs, and the Internet, to make sure that advertisers will be reaching out to the relevant people.

If a product caters for more than one psychographic group, there will need to be more than one marketing campaign, as advertising that is aimed at just one psychographic group is likely to only draw in customers from that particular group. Likewise, an advertising campaign that is aimed at a general psychographic group is unlikely to attract customers from the particular group that was being targeted.

Psychographic marketing can take the form of in-person interviews, focus groups, and questionnaires and surveys.

What types of psychographic groups are there?

Marketing experts have suggested that there are certain types of psychographic profiles in the United States - the Belonger, the Achiever, the Wannabe, the Socially Conscious (type A and B), the Balanced/Integrated, and the Needs Driven. These profiles are mostly stereotypical views.

The Belonger accounts for around forty per cent of the US population. Generally speaking, the people who fit this psychographic profile tend to live in a small town in the Midwest, although this is not necessarily the case. This psychographic profile is very family-orientated, and likes the feeling of belonging to a community. Much of their time is spent with friends and family, and they often have a sense of pride for all things that are truly American. Advertisers who want to reach the Belongers usually focus on items that are family-orientated or community-orientated. Advertisers may also need to spend some time gaining the trust of this group, as they can be loyal customers once a rapport has been built up.

The Achiever accounts for between five and seven per cent of the US population. As the name suggests, people who fit this psychographic profile are mostly businesspeople (such as investment bankers or fund managers), who work long hours, but are constantly looking for more success. Unlike the Belongers, they feel little or no need to belong to a community, as they are very independent. Advertisers looking to reach the Achievers should make their message as short as possible, before the Achiever rushes off to complete another task. They respond well to individuality, power, money and profit.

The Wannabe accounts for around fifteen per cent of the US population. People who fit this psychographic profile would love to be an Achiever, but have yet to get into this profile. Most of the products that they buy are often a poor imitation of those owned by the Achiever (for example, fake Rolodexes because the real thing is too expensive). In some cases, it is a particular celebrity that they are trying to emulate, rather than an Achiever. As you might expect, the Wannabe tends to be relatively insecure with only a modest amount of disposable income.

The Socially Conscious Type A accounts for around twenty-five per cent of the US population, and the Socially Conscious Type B accounts for around seven per cent of the US population. In both cases, their concerns are related to the environment, and the effect that their spending has on it. Typically, they recycle frequently, walk or cycle as much as possible, and buy environmentally friendly products. To effectively reach the Socially Conscious, the product being sold needs to be environmentally friendly. As they tend to be well educated, they are often cynical about whether a product really is going to help the environment.

The Balanced accounts for around one to two per cent of the US population, and is often a mixture of the Achiever and the Socially Conscious. Thus, the Balanced want to use their money and power to do something positive for the environment. Often, their labor forces and materials do not come from the Third World (or other poor countries).

The Needs Driven accounts for around fifteen per cent of the population. People who fit into this psychographic profile tend to be impulse buyers, who base their purchases on rash decisions. The way to reach this group is to appeal to their fear of being inadequate, especially when compared to the people around them. The type of adverts that you see on late night shopping channels ("don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity") epitomize the way that this psychographic profile works.

These days, marketing has become much more sophisticated, and advertisers are required to understand their potential customers much more than in the past. Although this may take more effort on the part of the advertisers (in terms of the market research that they have to carry out), they can often count on having more customers as a result of the extra time spent, which ultimately boosts profits.






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    • profile image

      shealyse 6 years ago

      Hello I am a college student working on an essay and wanted to get more information, its complicated because originally I was trying to look more into images and the way objects are placed, but there is much less information that I have found for that topic, and it is more difficult to explain. I am having some trouble trying to tie both of these subjects in together even though part of me knows that they must be able to tie in.

    • lifelovemystery profile image

      Michelle Orelup 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Terrific article, and I would like to add some information.

      Many retail companies deliberately exclude apartment communities when they are segmenting lists for direct mail. The reason for this is because apartment communities are considered mobile because people move in and out so frequently.

      Psychographics as a data element are expensive and few companies actually own this data on their customers. The data is more likely managed by a third party which specializes in collecting and managing this type of information.

    • profile image

      Leliana 7 years ago

      great, fantastic helps so much ...whoooohoooo

    • Avesel profile image

      Avesel 7 years ago

      An excellent article. It's better that more marketers look beyond basic demographics such as "25-30 year old males that live in New York City with income between 50,000-75,000".

    • Vaiebhav profile image

      Vaiebhav 7 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Fantastic article. Often, it is the wannabes that are most ignored by novice marketers. That's a big group to target. Just like early adopters.

    • profile image

      psychographic profiles 7 years ago


      Do you see why demographics and psycho graphics are so important now?

      You are defining who your customer is and what is important to them

      so that when they walk out of your store or buy something from you they get the product and not the commodity.

      psychographic profiles

    • profile image

      Define Psychographics 7 years ago

      This is a great article. I work with psychographic data all the time and it's really one of the least understood aspects of marketing. In my opinion is really one of the most important because it sets premise for all marketing that is done. Without it is a lot of guess work

    • profile image

      Todd 7 years ago

      Great post. Where did you get your info from? I'd like to learn more. Thanks

    • profile image

      charlotte  8 years ago

      hi arnt the groups called aspirers succeders reformers so on so forth

    • ActiveCampaign profile image

      ActiveCampaign 8 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      In my opinion this is a much better paradigm for marketing in an increasingly diverse climate. Focusing on demographics gives us only stereotypes; psychographics provide us with the potential for much richer personality profiles that transcend race, ethnicity, age, SES, etc.

    • profile image

      Melvin Campbell 8 years ago

      It's interesting that knowing information about your customers like their habits, where they vacation, how often they eat out, etc. can help you devise an effective marketing campaign. Good info.

    • Jenny Cakes profile image

      Jenny Cakes 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      very interesting. im not sure which category i fit into lol.

    • profile image

      thinking 8 years ago

      Thanks for a nice read.