What you need to know about psychographic segmentation

Stare into my crystal ball, and you’ll see the future of your
sales and marketing trends.

Wait, that’s a psychic. Today we’re talking about
psychographics.

Psychographic segmentation can’t predict the future, but it
can improve the future of your marketing. Let’s explore what
psychographic segmentation is, and how to use it.

What is psychographic segmentation?

Our first stop is the psychographic segmentation definition. The
word itself is a mouthful, but the meaning is pretty clear.

Psychographic segmentation is a way to organize your audience
and customers based on their attitudes, beliefs, and
values.

Everyone has these “psychographic” features, and they rule
our outlook and decisions.

It may be helpful to think of psychographic segments as the lens
we use to view the world based on our preferences and
experiences.

Of all the ways you can segment customers, psychographics are a
bit more abstract.

Why should we care about psychographic
segmentation?

Here are a few ways it can boost your marketing:

  • Customize your marketing and messaging by the factors your
    customers actually consider (nobody thinks of themselves first as a
    demographic).
  • Differentiate your positioning amongst competitors or in a
    crowded segment
  • Create more robust customer personas and segmentation

Psychographic insights are useful across your entire marketing
program, too.

Use these segmentation factors on your website, social media,
paid social ad targeting, emails, push notifications, checkout
experience, and more.

Five factors that go into psychographic
segmentation

Psychographic segmentation may be a bit more nuanced than simple
demographics, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be
investigated or understood. 

Here are five examples of psychographic components that you can
use to personalize marketing.


1. Lifestyle

The term “lifestyle” is broad, but it’s crucial to our
decisions. Your lifestyle is made up of things such as:

  • Your relationship status
  • Who you live with
  • Whether or not you have kids
  • Your daily routines

2. Opinions

Everyone has opinions, but not every stance is vital for
marketers to know.

For example, knowing that a person’s favorite color is blue
doesn’t actually tell you a lot about the person.

Sure, they may prefer to buy a blue shirt to a red one, but that
opinion doesn’t impact every decision. It isn’tquite important
enough to rank as a psychographic element.

Instead, psychographic opinions could include:

  • A preference for items made in the United States
  • A belief that companies should use minimal packaging
  • An affinity to different spokespeople
  • A bias for different kinds of comedy
  • Religious beliefs

3. Interests

Your interests have a clear link to what you buy.

For example, a person who loves the outdoors is more apt to buy
a canoe than someone of the same demographic that prefers city
living.

Interests could also include:

  • Favorite shows, movies, books, and music
  • Activism
  • Destinations
  • Technology
  • Fashion

4. Activities

Activities tend to stem from interests. For example, someone
interested in personal health is more likely to take a cycling
class.

Activities could be:

  • Hobbies
  • Their line of work
  • Tasks to complete at home (like a DIY project)

5. Social Status

Social status affects purchase decisions in a few ways. First,
and the most obvious, is pricing.

A budget-conscious mom has a different level of comfort with
spending money on organic bed sheets than a high-income-earning
woman of the same age.

Social status also affects positioning preferences.

Examples include:

  • Value vs. luxury
  • Ease of access vs. craftsmanship

Psychographic vs. behavioral and demographic data?

I’ve mentioned that psychographic segmentation is more
abstract than other segmentation methods, but let’s dive deeper
into the differences.

In particular, let’s compare and contrast psychographic
segmentation to behavioral or demographic information.

Demographic data is what you would expect to see on a census –
categories such as age, gender, or location.

This information is easy to use when creating things like paid
social ads, but it doesn’t account for nuances between
individuals.

For example, a 30-year old white male interested in hunting is
going to have different shopping habits than a 30-year old white
male interested in veganism.

Behavioral data keeps track of how customers have interacted
with your website or company. This segmentation gives your
marketing context, but doesn’t necessarily uncover
motivations.

To illustrate the differences between each segmentation type,
let’s look at the same example persona using three different
methods.

Example persona: Julia

Demographic data: Age 35, female, lives in Grand
Rapids, Michigan.

Behavioral data: She abandoned her cart containing
a pair of yoga pants, but completed her purchase after a reminder
email.

Psychographic data: She leads an active lifestyle
and is interested in eco-friendly items, even if they cost a little
more.

With each layer of segmentation information, we learn a little
bit more about the person and can create relevant marketing for
these personas.

One important detail about psychographic data to keep in mind,
is that it isn’t bound by demographics.

Two people across different demographics may be drawn to the
same marketing materials if they share psychographics, such as
interests or opinions.


Examples of psychographic segmentation

Psychographic segmentation is a powerful way to make your
product and message more relevant to your audience. What does that
look like in action, though?

Here are three great examples of psychographic segmentation in
marketing.

First up is Vitruvi.
Their email below is promoting a line of scents for an essential
oil diffuser.

There are a lot of demographics who may be interested in
essential oils, but the demographic they’re targeting are
students.


Students come in all ages and demographics, though. Instead of
thinking about the ideal user in terms of age, Vitruvi positions
the product in terms of goals.

The psychographic segment for this email are people who want to
do a good job studying, but may need a little help getting focused.
So, the company uses imagery and copy to tap into those
motivations.

Next up is
Adidas
, who uses psychographic traits to stand out in a crowded
market. The abandoned cart email below is focused on a pink
sneaker, featuring images of young women.

Targeting every woman between the ages of 18 and 25 is too
generic of a segment, though.


Instead, Adidas’ email targets girls who are fashion-forward
and motivated by trends among peers.

The email talks about the sneaker being a staple in a person’s
collection, so this isn’t an eco-conscious person who buys one
pair of shoes and wears them every day.

This psychographic segment may value variety, so Adidas mentions
their customization options.

Finally, valuing the opinion of peers and being swayed by social
media is another psychographic opinion at play.

Lastly, we’ll shift gears for a moment to push notifications.
This is another method where you may base your strategy on
behavioral data, but you can make it more relevant and personalized
with psychographic segmentation.

Sephora
does just this in their push notification below.


At its core, the push notification is for a weekly roundup
featuring exciting new products for sale. However, Sephora used an
understanding of their customer’s personality to personalize the
copy.

Sephora understands that some of their customers may really
enjoy shopping, but tell themselves they need to hold back at
times.

Addressing this temptation makes the message feel a bit more
like it’s from an understanding friend as opposed to a faceless
company.

How to obtain and manage psychographic data

You know what psychographic segmentation is, you’ve seen the
examples, and you’re excited to use it in your own marketing.

Now what?

If psychographic segmentation is more abstract than demographics
and behavioral, then how do you obtain the data and use it?

Where to find psychographic data

The best outcomes in life and business are worth a little extra
work, and psychographic segmentation is no different.

While demographic segmentation is readily available on social
media, and behavioral data is based on simple actions you can track
in analytics, the easiest way to get psychographic information is
to ask.

1. Surveys

If you want to gather psychographic information at scale, then
surveys are your best bet.

You can ask customers about their purchase decisions, what their
priorities are, what other companies they shop with, how they learn
about new products, and more.

Below is an
example survey
for a gathering psychographic information about
fashion and shopping habits.


Just be mindful of who you’re sending a survey to, and when. A
loyal customer is more likely to spend more time on a poll than a
new one.

2. Interviews

Another way to gather psychographic information is through
surveys. These could either be one-on-one with your most engaged
users or as a part of a focus group.

While interviews take more time and effort, they can be a
goldmine for customer insights.

You may want to start with conversations to learn about specific
customers, and then see how that aligns with survey results on a
larger scale.

3. A/B Testing

Finally, you can use A/B tests of copy or positioning to learn
about customer opinions and interests. Try highlighting different
benefits or features in each version to see what resonates with
customers.

Managing psychographic profiles

Gathering and using psychographic information presents the same
challenges as any type of data.

While data is useful for creating personalized marketing, too
much unorganized information gets in the way of workflow and
decision making.

The psychographic information you gather over time will grow and
change, which means you need a way to manage it.

Here are some tips for handling psychographic profiles.

  • Use integrations to keep everything together. Scattered
    information is hard to work with, so aim to collect and store
    information in programs that work well together. For
    example,Vero
    integrates with Segment
    , making it easy to collect data from
    many sources.
  •  Look for patterns. Psychographic segmentation is
    more personalized than demographic data, but you can’t create
    unique marketing for each individual. Instead, look for patterns in
    survey responses and actions that can be grouped together as
    filters or tags.
  • Keep segmentation and automation together. In addition
    to using integrations to consolidate data, your life will be easier
    if your psychographic segmentation lives beside your automation
    programs. The more you can combine data with workflows, the less
    you have to move between tools.

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What you need to know about psychographic segmentation
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What you need to know about psychographic segmentation