What’s it: Psychographic segmentation divides the population in a market into segments based on psychographic variables such as values, personality, goals, interests, and lifestyle. Compared with the other two market segmentation, demographic segmentation, and geographic segmentation, it is the most complicated and subjective. Companies must focus on the qualitative characteristics of a consumer.
Why psychographic segmentation is important
Market segmentation generally aims to understand consumers’ needs and desires by relating them to demographic, geographic, and psychographic variables. That’s important in marketing targeting. Companies can better understand the background and reasons for consumers buying products. That way, they can design a strategy and marketing mix accordingly.
Companies attribute purchasing behavior to visible and measurable characteristics such as income and residence in demographic and geographic segmentations. In contrast, in psychographic segmentation, they focus on consumers’ intrinsic characteristics such as lifestyle, personality, and values.
The psychographic segmentation’s main drawback is that these variables are difficult to measure because it involves subjective judgments. But they are essential. Values, desires, goals, interests, and lifestyle choices represent emotional elements and explain why consumers make purchases.
Psychographic segmentation variables
Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs divide a person’s personality into sixteen types, including:
Meanwhile, Joseph Chris Partners divides personalities into the following seven categories:
- Belongers. They are with people who easily fit into their environment, seek acceptance, and don’t like to stand out.
- Achievers. These are people who prefer to chase targets and don’t like to waste time. They are always busy and ambitious to achieve success and have lots of money. They buy things primarily to demonstrate their success and therefore love luxury items.
- Emulators. They are ambitious people to pursue success even though they do not have the skills to achieve it. Their motivation for buying a product is to appear successful, which may be beyond their capabilities. Or they buy counterfeit products to impress others with their accomplishments.
- Saviors. If achievers are ambitious to pursue their own success, then saviors do it for the world around them. They work hard to achieve mutual success without asking for anything in return.
- Doomsdayers. They are a combination of saviors and belongers. They have their own way of life and tend to be independent of others. If they like a brand or product, they will become highly loyal.
- Integrators. They consist of people with the personalities of achievers plus saviors. They are hard-working and ambitious, not only for themselves but also for the world around them.
- Survivalists. They are made up of people who are struggling to earn money. They spend more money on necessities and think deeply before spending money.
Lifestyle represents the choices a person makes, including spending money on products. You can observe a description of a person’s lifestyle from the activities they do, their level of involvement in these activities, and how they do it.
For example, people who lead a healthy lifestyle will enjoy sports and a clean and tidy environment. They tend to be selective in choosing products, for example, only buying organic products, and may not consider the price.
This relates to how a person perceives the outside world, from social, economic, to political aspects. It forms the basis of the decisions they consider important and will make.
For companies, attitude is not only crucial in product design. It also affects them in developing a more persuasive communication or promotional message with customers in the target market.
Interest is the desire to know or learn by an individual. Companies can observe it from their hobbies or habits when using the media and their spare time.
For example, someone with a passion for football might spend some time on the field with their friends every once a week. They also hold events to watch club matches they idolize, buy various souvenirs or attributes of their favorite club.
It represents principles or standards of behavior by individuals, including what is essential in life. For example, when they have a deep concern for the environment, they will only consume environmentally friendly products.
Likewise, people who put high social values forward will not highlight their achievements or wealth in front of others. They prefer to buy products according to the general society. It is to show their closeness to other people.
How to collect psychographic data
Collecting psychographic data requires more effort than demographic or geographic data. The sources can usually come from::
- Consumer survey – This is the most common method. The survey can be conducted online or conventionally. Surveyors ask several questions in a questionnaire to describe a person’s personality.
- Consumer interviews – Unlike surveys, interviews usually rely more on open-ended questions. The interviewer prepares several questions and digs deeper into the answers from the consumer.
- Discussions with customer service or sales staff – They are the people who interact directly with consumers. They may ask customers a few questions during their interaction.
- Digging digital data – Big data in digital channels allows companies to mine many psychographic data and consumers’ buying behavior and backgrounds. People often leave data when surfing online, accessing social media sites, making online purchases, or using mobile applications.