Are You Marketing By Psychographics?

We talk a lot about segmenting by your list’s demographics. Breaking your list into segments certainly helps you deliver what each reader is looking for. But have you ever considered segmenting according to psychographics, instead?

While demographics show your subscribers’ hard data (age, location, marital status, ethnicity, etc), psychographics slice across your list from a different angle, looking at lifestyles, behaviors and attitudes.

For example, some subscribers would rather purchase by price vs brand name, go out vs stay home on weekends or carefully consider their purchases vs buying impulsively.

Why Do I Need to Know These?

Psychographics give you a much deeper look into the market you’re dealing with. If you know what’ll grab their attention and what’ll turn them off, you’ll be way ahead of the competition.

VALS, a consumer psychographing system, suggests that people buy the things they think will enhance the view they have of their own identities, which is all tied up in their lifestyle choices and attitudes.

Which means YOU need to know what those are. Are your readers cutting-edge technologists or earthy environmentalists? Are they all about convenience, or would they prefer quality? Know this, and the appeals you wrap your offers in will really hit home.

(This doesn’t mean you should skip out on learning your list’s demographics altogether. If you can, get both. Then you can target specific groups within demographics, such as men who value exercise.)

What Kind of Groups Should I Look For?

To figure this out, first, get a clear mental picture of the offers you send out. What lifestyles, behaviors or attitudes might prompt different reactions to those offers? For example, some people divide their readers by social class (are they CEOs? skilled manual workers?) or lifestyle. Others use more complex classifications:

1. Marketing firm Young & Rubicam go by what they call the 4Cs, that classifies people based on their values. For example, the “resigned,” are most comfortable with safety, familiarity and economy. “Strugglers,” those with few resources, are attracted to impact and sensation, and so on. To check out the classifications, take the 4Cs test here.

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2. Another popular classification suggests that everyone fits in these 6 categories: the Belonger (attracted to community) , the Achiever (likes short messages that focus on profit), the Wannabe (likely to buy imitation products), the Socially Conscious (read: environmentally friendly), the Balanced/Integrated (basically, socially conscious achievers), and the Needs Driven (impulse buyers who respond to urgency). You can find more details here.

3. Others infer psychographics from subscriber behavior. For you, this means purchases, plus opens and clicks if you have time to delve into them. It means checking if someone’s a frequent buyer, commenter or attender, a prospect or a customer, someone who buys continuously or only when you offer discounts.

Many of these differentiations may not apply to your lists. Some will. Think carefully about your offers to decide which trends you’re going to look for.

How do I Find my List’s Psychographics?

There are several methods you can use. The more time or resources you invest, the more exact data you’ll get. Here are some ways to learn about your audience, and the pros and cons to consider for each method:

Survey. Once you’ve identified the criteria you’re looking for, create a survey to find out where your subscribers fall.

Pro: You’ll get results quickly

Con: Not everyone will answer

Use web tools. Find psychometrics by zip code from Nielsen’s PRIZM segmentation system here. If you mostly market locally, this can be extremely helpful.

Pro: Sleek and analytical

Con: Hit-or-miss for your specific list

Outsource it. Hire a marketing firm, such as Peerset Audience targeting. They can conduct surveys, focus groups, and online searches to explore the psychographic groups of consumers in your specific industry.

Pro: Easy

Con: Expensive

Dig deep into data. Check out your analytics. What kind of information are your subscribers clicking on? What style of offers are they responding to? Use the information to create reader profiles.

Pro: Thorough and list-specific

Con: Time-consuming

Once I Have Them, How Do I Use Them?

Once you have you’ve collected your subscribers’ psychographics, use them to put together customer profiles – “example” customers that you keep in mind when writing your messages. Name them, give them a backstory, make them as real as possible.

If you have a single definitive strain of thinking throughout the majority your readership, you’ll end up with just one profile, and you can write exclusively to that audience.

But chances are, you’re offering your products to a few significantly different psychographic groups. To make each group feel like your offers are just right for them, segment your list – easiest if you’ve used a survey to find your data – and send each group its own tailored messages.

Is It Going to Be Worth It?

Finding psychometrics takes some work on the front end. You have to get yourself organized, carry out the research and then update your reader profiles periodically.

But with solid reader profiles in place customers, you’ll be surprised at how focused your offers become. And with more focused offers, you’ll be looking at more sales.

Have you ever taken a look at your list’s psychographics? If you have, what have you found?