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An introduction to psychographics in marketing

How much do you know about your ideal customer?

You probably know a lot about their basic details, such as location, marital status and age.

But what about why they chose your product or service?

If you knew why, then there’d be much less guesswork in your marketing. You could develop the right messaging in all of your channels, better segmentation, targeting and more. All of this would improve your ROI, decrease budget wastage and bring you closer to your customers.

Sound good? Well, here’s where psychographic research and data can help you to start understanding why.


What is psychographic data?

If demographics are the what, psychographics are the why. To start off, what are your ideal customers demographics? You may be thinking about socio-economic situation (income level, occupation, education level), geographical location, marital status and more.

Detailed as that could be, demographic information only scratches the surface - and it can’t be used to truly capture your audience’s attention.

Psychographics, on the other hand, cut to the nitty gritty of who your customers really are. They deal with your customer’s:

  • Values

  • Interests

  • Pain points/challenges

  • Opinions

  • Lifestyle, and

  • Personality.

In the context of your business, this all plays into how they discover your brand, what solution they want you to offer, who they speak to for advice or where they research before deciding to purchase from you.

Sound useful, doesn’t it? But you’d be surprised to know that many businesses don’t have a thorough, research-based understanding of their customer psychographics, which means they’re missing out on a lot of marketing value.


An example of psychographics in play

Let’s look at an example of how psychographic data can provide value for an eCommerce store that sells party dresses. Say this is your store, and a majority of your shoppers are females in their early 20s.

One of your core buyer personas is Retail Worker Renee.

Here’s how your marketing message could change based on having psychographic data about Renee:


Retail Worker Renee

girl (1)Demographics Only

Retail Worker Renee

girl (1)Demographics + Psychographics

24 years old

Lives in the inner city

Works 4 days a week

Earns $45,000 a year

24 years old

Lives in the inner city

Works 4 days a week

Earns $45,000 a year

Isn’t price sensitive

Values spending time with friends

Often leaves things to the last minute and ends up rushing


Your marketing message to her:

You create ads that talk about how affordable your dresses are, since the demographic data shows Renee isn’t in a high income bracket.


Your marketing message to her:

The demographic data shows that Renee doesn’t earn a high income, BUT the psychographic data also shows that she isn’t price sensitive.

You discover that Renee buys new dresses in a rush because her friends often invite her out at the last minute.

In your ads, you now talk about providing same-day shipping and delivery - something more closely aligned with Renee’s lifestyle and values.


Having even just a few psychographic insights on hand can make a huge difference to the effectiveness of your marketing.

You may notice that as we got to know Renee a little better, some of the key assumptions we held about her were also challenged - leading to an aha!-type shift in the marketing approach. Now, imagine how many more aha! moments your business could be having thanks to this kind of data!


How do you get psychographic data?

There are a few ways you can get started with psychographic research:

  1. Study your analytics.

    Jump into your Google Analytics dashboard and look at Audience -> Other Categories. This will give you a breakdown of the top general interests of your audience, i.e. Music, sports, travelling.

    Screen Shot 2019-02-07 at 10.00.16 am (1)

    In your Facebook Audience Insights, you will also be able to find out your follower’s interests and hobbies as well as page likes.

  2. Send your customers a survey or questionnaire.

    You could ask your audience a mix of questions about their buying habits, lifestyle and other behaviours using platforms like TypeForm or Survey Monkey. Consider offering them an incentive to complete the form i.e. a prize draw.

  3. Hold personal interviews. 

    One of the best ways you can get high quality/informative answers about what drives your customer is by directly interviewing them. During an interview, you can clarify their answers and ask follow-up questions to add more value to the data. Bear in mind though, it’s important to not to ask them any leading questions. You want candid, authentic answers that you can feel confident about!


Overall, psychographics are a core part of every successful marketing strategy. Your customer personas (or buyer personas) should incorporate not only demographic details, but also shed more light on your ideal customers wants, needs and pain points aka psychographic information.

Does your business use psychographics, and if so how have they benefited your marketing outcomes? Let us know!

If you want to find out more about discovering who your ideal customers are, check out our free guide on creating effective Buyer Personas for your business:

Buyer Personas Guide

Christina Peng
Christina Peng
Christina is a content strategist with a digital marketing background. She loves bringing words to life and harbours an unwavering affection for 80's music and digital art.

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