We live in a world where internet marketing is the key to your success or failure as a business owner. As trends change and the amount of time people spend online is significantly increasing, you have to be on your game when it comes to internet marketing. Simply having a billboard somewhere and having a so-so website is not enough anymore. Search engines are getting smarter and consumers are getting smarter. You have to market yourself and your business in a way that catches people’s attention and presents an irresistible call to action.
For decades, business owners have aimed marketing campaigns at their “target demographic.” The age, gender, income, and marital status of individuals were enough for marketing experts to present a decent campaign and see a substantial ROI. However, people are getting smarter. Both consumers and marketing specialists are learning that not everything fits into nice categories that are centered around demographics.
Why Is Psychographic Data Important?
Compiling psychographic data is a newer trend in consumer analysis and market research that business owners are finding to be incredibly beneficial and worthy of their time and money. Psychographic data goes beyond the stringent details of consumers and looks at who they are, what they believe in, and what motivates them. While demographics give you the “who,” psychographics give you the “why.” Why do people purchase certain items? Why do people do particular Google searches? Why do people feel a specific way about a certain person or industry?
Let’s look at an example. We have two women: both are 30 years old, both are married with one child, and both work as public school teachers. Their demographics are exactly the same. However, Woman A is incredibly conservative, an avid church-goer, and she spends her free time reading, knitting, and searching Pinterest. She doesn’t like the outdoors, she spends a lot of time couponing, and she loves to cook and bake. Woman B claims no political affiliation, and she loves camping, hiking, mountain biking, and trail running. She hates to cook and loves to go to the bar for football Sundays. If you’re a business owner or a marketing expert who is selling outdoor equipment, would you rather have the demographic data or the psychographic data?
Consider this as well: While woman B is clearly a target market for outdoor equipment, a person with completely differing demographics could also be a target market. A 60-year old man who recently retired and now enjoys spending his free time in the outdoors fishing, mountain biking, and hiking is also a target market for outdoor equipment. His demographic is nowhere near that of Woman B, but in terms of psychographic data, they are both in the same target market.
Without the psychographic data of each individual, you would be spending precious marketing dollars trying to attract someone who has absolutely no interest in what you’re selling. Psychographic groups are generally smaller than demographic groups, and because they are more specifically targeted for a particular product or product line, they are more likely to make a purchase and your ROI will be much higher. Additionally, because the group is generally smaller than our previously used demographic groups, the cost of advertising to and seeking out these targeted people will be much lower.
Just as you need to stay up to date on industry standards and optimization techniques, you need to stay up to date on your consumers and your target audience. Know more than just who they are; know what they stand for and what makes them tick, and your marketing campaign will get your more leads, more links, and a higher ROI than any demographic-based campaign ever has.
How Do I Gather Psychographic Data?
Now that you know how important it is to your marketing strategies and your business’ success, how do you go about gathering psychographic data?
The easiest place to start is with your current customers. If you have a good relationship with a few customers, get to know them. If you feel so inclined, let them know why you’re asking. Explain that you’re trying to understand more of who your customers are so that you can better serve them. If you don’t have a working relationship with any customers, try sending out a survey asking for feedback about likes and dislikes. If you’re honest and tell your current customers that you are trying to improve your customer service and offer more of what they want, most people will be happy to oblige.
A second, more behind-the-scenes option is to look at your website’s analytics. Look at where you’ve gotten the highest click-through rate and what pages or deals have brought people to visit your site and make purchases. By exploring different types of marketing that has worked in the past, you can gain more information about your customers. For instance, if a very emotionally based ad brought in a ton of profit, you know that a lot of your customers are more emotionally driven, and you can focus more on emotional appeal in your marketing campaign.
Another option for gathering psychographic data is to search social media. Especially if you already have some social media accounts set up for your business, simply check out some of your most involved followers or friends. People post large amounts of personal information on their social media accounts, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to gather psychographic data about some of your customers. With this approach, however, you need to be aware that some information on social media sites may not be true, so look for ongoing trends in your customers rather than the outliers.
How Do I Use This Data in my Marketing Campaign?
As with anything else, simply having the information is not enough. You need to be proactive and do something with the psychographic data in order for it to benefit your business. You need to take the information you learned about your customers and show them how your product can improve their lives. Go to the place where your target audience is spending time and meet them there with irresistible selling points.
Meet Your Customers Where They Are
Now that you know a lot about your customers and what they spend their time doing, you can go directly to them. This may mean getting off the internet and doing some marketing at a physical place where your target consumers gather. It may mean visiting some of their favorite websites and making your brand and presence known to your target market via blog comments, retweets, or Facebook likes. If you’re spending large amounts of money on Facebook but your psychographic data reveals that your customers spend more time on Pinterest, then you need to change your game plan and start pinning. Something as small as a repin, a follow, or a like can show customers that you’re close by and that you care about them, which will make them much more likely to return to you when they have a need that you can meet.
Appeal to Their Needs and Desires
Demographics so often target what a customer needs. A mom must need diapers, a husband must need golf clubs, and a child must need notebooks for school. While all of that is good and well, consumers are going to purchase that stuff regardless. So, yes, you should be the brand or the business that pops into their mind when a need arises. However, when you target what a person desires, you appeal to their emotions and show them that someone out there is paying attention and noticing the things that they enjoy.
Offer Irresistible Deals
Since you know what prompts your customers to actually make a purchase, you can appeal to the side of them that is ready to swipe their credit card. Make offers that they can’t resist, not because the price is so low that you’re not making any money, but because you’ve appealed to a particular aspect of their personality that they cannot hold back. If you have a group of bargain hunters in your customer base, offer a special discount or coupon code. If your target market includes people who don’t have time to visit your store in person, offer a variety of ship-to-store and ship-to-home options.
Keep Compiling Data
No matter how successful your psychographic profiling marketing campaign may be, never stop compiling data. Just as everything else in the world changes, your target market may change and the way you reach your customers may change. Keep gathering information so that as your customers evolve, you grow with them and continue to meet their needs.
As generations are becoming more fragmented and as individuals break the ranks and establish individuality outside their demographics, psychographic data is becoming more and more important for marketers everywhere. In the ‘50s and ‘60s, if you didn’t advertise on television, you didn’t have a chance at succeeding. Today, there’s a new “television” in town. If you’re not marketing on the internet using precise psychographic data and profiling, you’re going to be left behind.
- “How a Company Takes Full Advantage of Access to Your Facebook Information” (Forbes)
- “How to Use Psychographics to Improve Demographic Market Segmentation” (Marketance)
- “Psychographics vs. Demographics: Do Financial Marketers Need a New Model?” (The Financial Brand)
- “Psychographic Targeting is the New Black” (B2B Marketing)