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What Is Psychographics?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 16 March 2014
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Psychographics is a term used to refer to data collected about groups of people which involves how those people think, feel, act, and believe. It could be thought of cultural data, in contrast with demographic data, which focuses on things like age, geography, race, gender, and annual income. It is also distinct from behavioral data, which documents things like brand loyalty, behavior in groups of similar individuals, and so forth.

People in the marketing industry use psychographics extensively, and it can also be a part of the social sciences, with people like sociologists being interested in the culture of the people they are studying. Psychographics includes things like opinions, values, beliefs, interests, personality, and lifestyle, looking not just at who people are and what they do, but at the culture which informs their attitudes and choices. It can be studied in a variety of ways, including through surveys, interviews, and study of the media they consume.

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For marketing, psychographics is important because it allows people to identify and target a specific group of people. Just looking at demographics is often not narrow enough when it comes to a good marketing campaign. For example, if a company wants to market to 20- to 25-year-old women, that's a broad category which includes a lot of psychographic groups. If instead the company looks to a specific group within that demographic range, it can develop products which speak to the psychographics of the customer, appealing to values to make a sale. For example, a company might decide to position itself as "green" to capture people who are environmentally conscious.

Profiles of individuals which discuss their psychographics can be prepared, and companies can also profile much larger groups. Surveys which are designed to test new products and to explore marketing possibilities often use psychographics as part of their structure to understand who people are, what influences their buying decisions, and how a product could be designed to appeal to them. Psychographics can influence things like product size, packaging design, and where products are sold.

Lifestyles and attitudes can have a profound impact on how people behave when purchasing or evaluating products. The category of psychographics is designed to capture and quantify these aspects of potential customers so that a company can better serve its customers, and position itself more effectively in the market. Companies that fail to consider psychographic concerns may find that their customers drift elsewhere, to companies which provide them with a more personalized experience.

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Discuss this Article

anon359982
Post 6

Another one here who was asked to participate in a market research study - it was for a new brand of soda. Since I had four kids with me, guess they thought I was a likely candidate!

For those who are annoyed that marketers "don't care about you", who ever said they do? Their desire is to make money and they can only do that by making what you want and getting you to buy it. The coercive aspect is obnoxious I suppose but that's how it works. Of course, if you come up with an innovative idea that doesn't do that, it would be welcome!

anon257039
Post 4

Ever heard of the saying "All marketers are liars?" Here is yet another example of how marketers are trying to get into your head so they can sell worthless things to you.

anon213932
Post 3

If you really believe that these people are primarily interested in you and your convenience, you are truly, despairingly naive.

There is only one prime motive and that is to make more sales and more profit for themselves. Wake up.

SauteePan
Post 2

@Oasis11 - Wow, that sounds like fun. I was also involved in a market research demographics and psychographics study. It was a focus group for a big box retailer that wanted to expand their product assortment as well as improve their overall customer service levels.

Most of the people on the panel were about my age and they were all women like me. I enjoyed giving my feedback and a few months later I noticed that the store did make some really positive changes which made me feel really good because the retailer listened to our suggestions. It only took two hours and I think I was paid about $150.

It makes a lot of sense for companies to do customer psychographics studies because they get a lot of honest feedback that they would not normally receive and can often make the changes that they need to make, before they roll out their new product or concept.

oasis11
Post 1

I just wanted to say that a few years ago; I was involved in a psychographic segmentation study in which the company wanted to find out how I felt about makeup in general as well as my buying habits regarding lipstick.

After I went through an initial survey to qualify for the study, they sent me another survey with more detailed questions. As a result of this market segmentation study, they sent me a prototype of a new lipstick that was not yet on the market, so that I can try it out and record my findings.

It was really a lot of fun ,and I want to say that a lot of times in these survey the company will ask you where it the store would you find the product which helps them determine where the average consumer would expect to find the item in the store.

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