Psychographics 101

by Bryann Alexandros. Average Reading Time: about 2 minutes.

Fate has it that when you came to your marketing senses, multiple audience segments emerged. Some demographic data converged, overlapped, but demographics alone won’t reveal why one will donate, read your communique, or buy your green product. Chances are you pondered psychographics, but didn’t scale deeper.

If demographics are the Yin, psychographics are the Yang.

Demographics are the old guard’s predilection. They’re the average characteristics behind your audiences, like age, gender, religion, location, ethnicity, occupation, income, and education. They’re not to be played down entirely, but they do have their limits.

Those alone won’t reveal why donors donate, why advocates advocate, and why fighters fight.

Psychographics are a different dimension. An ace in the hole savvier niche marketers play. They’re the hobbies, lifestyles, interests, values, aspirations, passions, and fears, plus the untold memories and experiences that lay dormant or seething underneath which may sway and dissuade their final decision. It’s a clue to their humanity.

And what grants accuracy into such foresight? Empathy. No social entrepreneur or nonprofit would succeed without it

You don’t have to lose your soul though.

While traditional businesses covet precise psychographic data to amplify one bottom line, chances are you have two (or maybe three). Even if it’s fiscal, it’s an enabler to achieve the ultimate second: social impact.

“What’s in it for me?”

What ignites and delights? How can you coalesce your call-to-action with their aspirations and motivations and still remain genuine? How do we tell a story? How do we talk to our constituents and donors?

The list goes on. Psychographic personas are tougher to extract and flesh out, but it’s the kind of succulent insight you want especially when innovative solutions and services permeate different cultures and geographic locations.

The first step in striking harmony and bringing an audience segment closer to answering the divine question of “Why (insert your call-to-action)?” or “What’s in it for me?” is by scaling psychographic depths and devising proper personas. If you can somehow reach this elusive waypoint in your strategies, you can build a better emphatic bridge between your mission and the hearts of those who matter.

Where do we start exploring?

So this all plays into branding and positioning. For social enterprises, you’re probably thinking about properly sifting through different but dynamic target markets and such.

Data is at your disposal. Social media is one outlet to mine. But even if you’re without the time, staff, or clout for this kind of thorough strategizing and wizardry, there are some visual DIY tools at your perusal that put what you know, think, or assume about your audience segments into greater perspective.

More on that up ahead.


Flickr: rgourley