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What is Psychographic Segmentation? The Ultimate Beginner Guide

Psychographic segmentation is a qualitative research method that gathers information about customer attitudes, beliefs, hobbies, and personalities.

Adam R.
March 22, 2023

What is Psychographic Segmentation? The Ultimate Beginner Guide

Psychographic Segmentation

What is Psychographic Segmentation: Definition

Psychographic segmentation places customers into groups based on their shared attitudes, beliefs, and opinions. Unlike behavioral segmentation - which looks at defining customers by their purchasing habits - psychographic segmentation digs deeper into the reason why consumers do what they do.

Before an organization can make well-reasoned judgments about their customers’ purchasing behavior, businesses must first gain an understanding of how they think. Capturing the essence of the customer mindset is crucial for marketers looking to adequately address the needs of their core audiences.

Segmenting along psychographic traits involves dividing up customers based on metrics such as: 

  • Average quality of sleep 
  • Relationship status
  • Dietary choices
  • Political beliefs
  • Physical activity level 

Companies that orient their product/service around the needs and wants of their customers outperform those that fail to consider their core audiences. For businesses that innovate using customer insights, product developments come much more naturally.

Digital platforms provide businesses with more access to their customers than ever before; connecting marketers with individuals all across the world.

5 Benefits of Segmenting with Psychographics

Businesses that utilize psychographic segmentation in their marketing often experience a number of tangible benefits. These include:

  1. Gaining a greater understanding of a customer’s wants, needs, activity preferences, and long-term goals.
  2. An ability to communicate more effectively with customers - both in long-term marketing campaigns and on a day-to-day level.
  3. Improved means of leveraging existing product features in new and exciting ways.
  4. Create more intimate and customizable offerings for your customers.
  5. Generate stronger relationships with your customers; engaging with them and incorporating that knowledge into your designs builds loyalty.

Psychographic Data Collection

Psychographic Data Collection

The best way to start gathering psychographic data is to survey your customers; gathering information about people based on any of the various psychographic segments digitally - even in real-time.

5 Variables of Psychographic Segmentation

To better evaluate their customers’ mindset, businesses must carefully define the types they’re looking to explore. Every customer is unique, and may demand special considerations; measuring these variables enables businesses to connect their products to the specific needs of their consumers.

  1. Personality

Researchers can choose to segment their customers along the basis of shared personality traits. Using defined personality heuristics like: innovative, outgoing, optimistic, minimalist, and so on and so forth. Catering to these unique personality types can be a beneficial endeavor for both the client and the company. The customer receives a highly customized product that matches with their core identity; and businesses are able to keep their customers engaged with what they are producing

Segmenting based on personality traits is a highly effective means of generating customer loyalty, promoting sales, and building brand salience.

  1. Lifestyle

Companies market to prospective buyers that engage in distinct lifestyles. Many different people can all have their own unique reasons for wanting to buy the same exact product. In the example of nitrile gloves: some use them for cosmetics, some for mechanic work, and others for work in the medical field. Surveying these unique customer groups and gathering their feedback on the issues they face leads businesses to uncover new process and product improvements.

  1. Social Class

A customer's social standing has measurable impacts on the choices they make. Each level of the social hierarchy has their own unique considerations when it comes to making purchases: what types of cars they buy, what stores they shop at, and what kind of jewelry they wear. Travel companies explicitly market different experiences to different segments of the population. 

  1. Activities, Interests, and Opinions 

A person’s hobbies and interests heavily influence their purchases. Knowing how a customer spends their free time and how they organize their priorities can shed useful insights. These insights could involve observing a customer’s love of mobile gaming; or something far more substantial - like uncovering political topics and social concerns that are central to a person’s identity.

  1. Attitudes

Customer attitudes are formed by their unique experiences: their background, their culture, and the way they’re raised and taught. Attitudes vary wildly between different customers; being aware of how they differ is crucial for businesses looking to market their products effectively, and without issue. 

Customer Personas/Profiles

In order to develop a clear picture of who your audience is and how they operate, researchers utilize psychographic and demographic data to create what are known as customer personas - or profiles. This linking of segmentation types enables marketers to nail down:

  • Who the customer is
  • Why they’re purchasing the things they buy

These customer profiles manifest as fictional representations of an average customer. John, for example, could represent the average customer for an athletic wear retailer. The consumer profile for John looks something like this.

Customer Personas/Profiles

  • John (Customer Profile)
  • Age: 35 years old
  • Income: $65,000 annually
  • Hobbies: Running, hiking, basketball, cycling
  • Location: Northwestern United States
  • Goals: To spend as much time outdoors as he can
  • Job Title: Data Manager at a Bank
  • Challenges: Caring for young children; securing his family’s future; lack of free time
  • Product Pain Points: Cost, Low Quality Materials

Customer profiles build customer loyalty, generate increased sales revenue, and provide marketers with direction for where to take their designs. For

Using this customer persona, marketers can now visualize a real (fictional) individual to market to. It is extremely important to imagine your customer not as a faceless entity; but as a real person, with goals and desires. Ensuring your imagined customer persona lines up with the real actual is critical for the success of your rollout. 

Examples of Psychographic Segmentation

  • Automobile brands segment customers on the basis of income level and feature needs; releasing multiple makes and models that range in their cost and luxury. 
  • Marketers can utilize psychographic segmentation techniques to investigate their markets and find out what product features are sought after by different segments of their customer base. 
  • Utilizing customer profiles built by researchers during their fact-finding mission, the marketing and engineering teams work together to develop unique product offerings that cater to one or more of their target audiences. 
  • These product offerings can then be customized even further by adding features like: premium color choices, enhanced computerization, and luxury upholstery.

Key Takeaways

  • Psychographic segmentation is a qualitative research method that gathers information about customer attitudes, beliefs, hobbies, and personalities. This data is used by businesses to improve the quality of their marketing and product design.
  • Psychographic data - when combined with demographic information - can be used to create customer personas. These personas are fictional customers that represent the average customer in your target market.
  • When working with psychographic data, it’s important to remain flexible and open to change. Your customers will change their attitudes and behaviors regularly; so remain vigilant, and survey your audiences regularly.

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