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Information vs. Motivation: Using Psychographics to Create a Better Customer Profile

Consider your online browsing and shopping habits. Think about your personal devices — smartphones, iPads, laptops and office technology — and how you have customized each based on your habits and needs. Technological individuality has reshaped the marketing industry, and 2017 is the year of personalization.

The desire for personalization stems from consumers being inundated with information coupled with ever-dwindling instances of human interaction. In the era of globalization, consumers want online autonomy and the ability to cut through the masses while receiving content that aligns with who they are as unique human beings.

Consumers want relationships with brands, but they want it on their terms. Fortunately, we’ve reached a point, technologically, where we can figure out just that.

Traditionally, the path to personalization is carved out by website analytics, heatmaps, buying trends, geographic and demographic information. This tells us where and how consumers gather their information. The content is objective and imperative in targeting customers, but knowing how to align with your stakeholders on a more personal level takes psychographic research.

Demographics study age, race and sex, among other factors, with the purpose of collecting data specific to customers and their habits. Market segmentation helps to identify and target by age group, ethnicity, buying habits and characteristics.

Psychographics, by contrast, dig deeper into a customer’s characteristics: lifestyle choices, political views, buying trends and social causes to name a few. Essentially, it’s a dimension occupied by the soft stuff. And it’s illuminating, to say the least.

While demographics cover what one would expect to find in the federal census (age, sex, marital status, income, etc.), psychographics focuses on motivating factors. Hubspot said it best: Demographics explain “who” your buyer is, while psychographic information explains “why” they buy.

Psychographic information combined with demographics establishes a complete customer profile, allowing brands the ability to laser-focus marketing strategies to the right audience. As the profile of your ideal customer narrows, they become easier to target.

Thanks to social media, marketers now benefit from seemingly endless data points surrounding audiences’ deeply held beliefs, up-to-the-minute life goals, nightly activities and buying habits.

Those of you in the brand-building business know that you’re not just selling a product—you’re selling solutions to real-world issues. So when a company can zero in on customers’ specific needs, at the moment they need it, marketers have a readymade roadmap to cultivate trust and, ultimately, true brand loyalty.