Demographics, although important, don’t provide you a complete understanding of your target audience.  It’s often their interests, values, beliefs that act as explanations for consumer behavior. That’s where the collection of psychographics come in.

What are psychographics?

If demographics describe who your target audience is, then psychographics explain why. The “why” will tell you what consumers are expecting and looking for, giving you the opportunity to fulfill these needs.

Demographic information often includes:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Employment Status
  • Location
  • Salary

Psychographics, on the other hand, explore very different categories of information:

  • Activities (work, hobbies, entertainment, etc.)
  • Interests (fashion, food, etc.)
  • Opinions (politics, culture, future, etc.)

Psychographics greatly enhance your understanding of your customers, allowing you to improve your strategy. This information can be used in a variety of ways, which we’ll get to in a second, but first, let’s take a look at some potential psychographic data collection methods.

Collecting Psychographics

There are a number of ways to collect psychographic data: focus groups, surveys, analytics reports from Google, etc. You can collect it independently or hire externally. Each source can offer new useful information, but be sure to only gather information you will use – these methods can get costly.

Surveys/Questionnaires

Surveys are relatively inexpensive to produce and can be distributed easily in-person or digitally. Further, customers are usually familiar with this form of research, so it doesn’t require the same explanation as you would for a focus group, or other data collection method. Unfortunately, there’s often low participation, which may make the data gathered unreliable or inaccurate. Further, some will answer questions in an aspirational way, which doesn’t help you to truly understand their real opinion.

Focus Groups

Focus groups allow you to create testing audiences that match your ideal customer and better understand their mindset. Further, you can ask more in-depth and follow-up questions, rather than the fixed set of a questionnaire, providing a better understanding of what they’re thinking and why. It can be a significant time-drain, however. You have to assemble the focus groups, then spend time interviewing and talking to them. If the answers prove to be un-useful, then that’s a whole lot of money and time wasted for nothing.

Analytics Data

Everything from Google to Facebook is offering detailed analytics data both easily and often cheaply; take advantage of these information sources! They’ll often delve into some behavioral aspects. For analytics on Google or Twitter, you will have to do some work to get things started, but it will pay off when you have access to an in-depth insight into the minds of your customers.

Marketing Research Companies

The above options sound time-consuming and tiring? That’s because they can be. If research is going to take too much time away from your other responsibilities, you can always hire market research companies to do the job for you. Aside from freeing up your time to focus on other tasks, market research companies specialize in gathering data and can offer some additional benefits, like scientifically rigorous data collection methods and methods to ensure the integrity of the data. This option can get a little costly, but the plethora of useful information and your freed up time may be worth it.

Putting Your Behavioral Analytics to Good Use

Now that you’ve taken the time to collect psychographic data, it’s time to put it to use. There are a number of ways to do this.

Create Customer Personas

Psychographics unlock a broader understanding of your customers, and what better way to visualize this than creating a customer persona using all the psychographic information you’ve collected? Customer personas are often used in marketing, so if you’ve already created one, how do your current personas stack up? Are they accurate according to the psychographic data? Do you need to adjust? Perhaps add a new persona you didn’t originally think of? Add some extra details to your current personas? One thing’s for sure: your customer personas will definitely improve with this new data.

The more detailed you can make your personas, the better. For B2B companies, consider business-related psychographics to paint this picture. Someone working in the marketing field, for example, may have interests in technology or psychology as well. Finding out these interest help you to improve your personas, and, as a result, your marketing.

Customer Segmentation

Developing your personas may highlight something: there is some diversity in the types of customers you maintain. You may need to approach marketing to one persona entirely differently from another. MailChimp found that engagement soared when companies used segmentation. Opens were 9.92% higher than non-segmented and un-subscriptions were over a quarter lower. Also, clicks rose almost three-quarters when segmenting, as opposed to not. So not only will more people take the time to look at your message, but they’ll be more likely to convert.

Identify Consumer Steps in the Customer Journey

Behavioral analytics will also tell you where a consumer may be in the customer journey. If they’re reading blogs on your website, they may just be in the awareness stage, familiarizing themselves with the types of products you sell. If they’re looking at products, but haven’t checked out, they’re in the consideration stage. Understanding where they are in the process can help you identify how to move them to the next step.

Focus on Their Emotions

Emotion can often work very well to inspire customers to take action, but it’s tough to do appropriately. Different customers react differently to emotional appeals, and the last thing you’d want is to turn off a customer with the wrong emotional appeal. Psychographics will help you zero in on what your customers care about, giving you the ability to play to that.

Identify New Forms of Content

Understanding the interests of your customers will help you identify which content is most appealing to them and may point out great content ideas that you would have never come up with. This will serve well to keep current customers happy, as well as attract some similar new customers.

Psychographics: Providing Insight Into the Consumer Mind

Psychographics provide business owners an excellent opportunity to understand their customers thoroughly. When you get it right, customers will feel as though they are understood and it will bring them closer to your brand. Be sure to invest in good data collection and interpretation to ensure success.

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