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Ultimate Guide to Psychographic Data

Psychographic data is the key to understanding who your audience is and how to target them. Learn how to use psychographic data in your marketing.

If you want to understand your customers, it's time to learn about psychographic data.

Marketers often think of their customers in terms of demographic groups, segmenting their markets based on gender, age, ethnicity, geography, and other commonalities among large groups of consumers. A marketing statement based on demographic data may be "Our ideal customer is a Latina aged 25 to 34."

In contrast, psychographics measure customer interests and attitudes rather than objective demographic data. They can provide deep insights into consumer behavior that complements the information available from demographics. With this type of information at your disposal, you can create more effective marketing campaigns that your audience will love.

What is psychographic data?

Psychographics are data points describing a site visitor's lifestyle, opinions, and values. Psychographics represent the data that a psychologist or anthropologist may uncover about someone, while demographics illustrate the data that a census taker may collect about that same person. Both data types benefit smarter targeting and audience segmentation in different ways.

You can think of psychographics as the information you may collect about someone before going on a blind date. While demographics can help you find 25-year-old individuals in Hartford, Connecticut, that information may not be enough to help you decide whether you want to go on a date. To choose a blind date partner, you probably want at least some hints about their values, interests, and hobbies. Likewise, you need to understand a customer's personality in order to persuade them to fall in love with your products and services.

If you’re still confused about what psychographic data is, here are a few examples:

  • Personality profiles, including changes in personality across time.
  • Lifestyle data and relating it to influencers and lifestyle icons.
  • Interests captured online with cookies.
  • Opinions, attitudes, and beliefs captured on social media, quizzes, and games.
  • Values reflecting organizational membership, work life, and family associations.

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Psychographic data vs. demographic data

One of the most significant differences between psychographic and demographic data is that the latter can be standardized, while the former can't.

Demographic data is objective, verifiable, and reducible to numbers, groups, and Boolean (true-false) categories. It's easy to code into spreadsheets and databases for SQL analytics.

Psychographic data are personality- or association-based. It has different meanings to different analysts, which is what makes it so useful. There was a time when psychographic information had to be collected with projective questions, such as "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you want to be?"

We aren't suggesting that marketers should ask their customers what kinds of trees they would like to be, what kinds of cars they would like to drive, or how much they love their grandmas. Instead, the internet gives us a different way of gathering insights into consumer psychographic data to create a psychographic profile.

Imagine you had a camera that you could legally use to track your customer 24/7. You could review the film and get a good idea of their opinions, attitudes, and emotional makeup.

In fact, you have a tool that's almost as useful: internet analytics. Internet analytics can tell you what kinds of sites your customers visit. They can inform you of how long your customers spend on a certain type of site, the content that makes them bounce to another site, and how they respond to U/X.

You can make assumptions about your customers from the sites they follow, the groups they join, and the size and composition of their following. You can make judgments about customers based on their comments in forums, their reviews of products, and how much time they spend online. And you can acquire all of this data inexpensively and instantly from third-party vendors and your own site's analytics.

Why is psychographic data important?

Marketers can use psychographic data for:

  • Improved marketing campaigns
  • Effective targeted campaigns
  • Better understanding of audience
  • Development of customer personas
  • Alignment of messaging

Suppose you wanted to market a new brand of breakfast cereal made with miracle berries.

Miracle berries are real. They're the fruit of a plant called Synsepalum dulcificum, which can alter your sense of taste so that foods taste sweet even without sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Demographic data won't help you very much because nobody has ever marketed a miracle berry breakfast cereal to any age group, ethnic group, geographic location, sex, or gender. Your product is the first of its kind on the market. However, psychographic information may be available to improve your marketing campaign.

To effectively reach your target market, you can identify people who buy breakfast cereal and care about wholesome foods. This might be a list of shoppers who purchase organic foods or a vitamin shop's customer list. You may also sample high-volume customers of sporting goods stores or people who spend time on health websites.

Once you get your product on the market, you'll want to find out what attracts customers. These may not be the same product attributes that appeal to you. With a better understanding of your audience, you might discover that people who value analytical thinking were impressed by your innovative formula of ingredients. Moreover, people who follow expert opinions buy your product because of what they see from online influencers.

The second round of analysis gives you the information you need to create buyer personas, psychographic profiles that serve as avatars for the individuals who will try your product and then return to the store for more. Then, you can use online sentiment and audience measurement tools to align your message with your ideal customer to enhance conversions and client retention.

Ways to gather psychographic data

How do you find psychographic data? Psychographic data can be collected from:

  • Surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Market research
  • Social media
  • Interviews
  • Third-party data retrieval
  • Website analytics
  • Quizzes

Surveys are psychographic research at scale. You can create surveys and collect survey responses easily with Mailchimp.

Focus groups are no longer conducted in unmarked offices in shopping malls by survey technicians soliciting random shoppers. However, you can create self-organizing virtual focus groups online for your site and email campaigns.

Market research keeps you from shooting in the dark when you're launching a new product or introducing a new service. Market research helps you see the strengths and weaknesses of your products and services through the eyes of your customers. It also enables you to understand economic indicators in terms of their impact on your sales. Additionally, you can leverage demographic data to understand the motivations of different customer segments.

Social media platforms are all about collecting psychographic data. Social media collects enormous volumes of qualitative data on consumers' attitudes, interests, and opinions (AIOs). You can build a following organically through online posting, manage your social media connections, and gain insights into your target audience.

Unscripted customer interviews are a great way to collect psychographic data. They help you go beyond your data about age, ethnicity, and education to understand your customers' attitudes, values, and desires. This way, you can genuinely understand their buying decisions.

Third-party psychographic data collected with cookies allows businesses to cross-check the data they collect themselves. But before you invest in third-party vendors of psychographic data, it's always a good idea to ensure your organization doesn't keep customer information in unconnected silos. Finance needs to share information with marketing. Sales needs follow-up from logistics and shipping. Customer relationship management systems need input from customer service. For many brands, cleaning up information in their own data silos is a necessary first step to making the most of third-party data.

Website analytics can give you valuable insights through the time customers spend on a page and repeat visits. Integrating Google Analytics with Mailchimp can validate your content strategy.

Don't overlook the power of quizzes to give you valuable insights about your target market.

How is psychographic data used?

Psychographic data is the foundation of advertising campaigns and content creation.

Instead of segmenting your audience based on demographic characteristics and creating ads that'll appeal to consumers of the same gender, age, ethnicity, education level, and so on, marketers can create segments with psychographic data. As a result, they can appeal to groups with the same attitudes, ideas, and opinions.

When you analyze psychographic data, building effective campaigns that motivate consumers to buy may become easier.

Protecting psychographic data

In an era of rampant cybercrime, all online data needs to be secured. Psychographic data could give competitors the value of hard marketing research. Beyond cybersecurity, marketers should consider cookie-less data collection to protect consumer privacy.

Wrapping up: Psychographic data

Psychographic data can help marketers create better campaigns driven by consumer attitudes and opinions rather than demographic information. While this type of data isn't the only asset used to build campaigns, its value is undeniable.

With Mailchimp, you can collect psychographic data in many ways. From website analytics to custom surveys, we have the tools you need to gather psychographic information. Plus, our comprehensive platform makes it easy to craft data-driven marketing campaigns.

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