What Is Psychographic Data & Marketing?

by Marty Aquino; Updated September 26, 2017

Know your customer. That’s the fundamental principle behind psychographic data in business. Psychographic analysis allows you to see a more detailed picture of your customers. VALS allows you to hone marketing strategies to understand your clients’ lifestyle and preferences. Defined psychographic personalities may emerge, allowing you to cater your sales approaches. Your business can take this information and create messages that resonate with your customers.

Psychographic vs. Demographic

Psychographic data is not demographic data. Demographic data includes information like sex, race and income. Psychographic analysis encompasses harder to define information like your value system, “hot” buttons, fears and passions. For example, demographics may tell you your target customer is male, ages 35 to 45 and makes on average $100,000 per year. The psychographic data may show you he prefers road trips over cruises and is afraid of flying. This data can be useful when personalizing marketing messages.

VALS

The Value and Lifestyles System (VALS) uses psychological principles to identify customers based on their personality traits. VALS segments United States adult consumers into eight categories: innovators, thinkers, achievers, experiencers, believers, strivers, makers and survivors. These categories help define what motivates consumers when they buy your products. Using VALS may allow your business to look beyond age, income and education data into areas like their self-confidence, leadership and impulsiveness.

Psychographic Personalities

You can build personality profiles using the psychographic and demographic information you’ve collected about your customers. This exercise allows you to identify useful subcategories within your customer base. For example, a luxury auto dealership may change its message to appeal to middle-age men who consider themselves risk-takers and intellectual versus conservative and family-oriented. Conduct a psychographic analysis of what drove past sales. Define your target customers’ profiles by adding a survey.

Psychographic Marketing

Study your customers’ psychographic data to discover spending patterns and habits. Put yourself in their shoes, and see your product through their eyes. You may uncover that your customers prefer to be sold in-person versus over-the-phone and they enjoy sporting events with the family. Marketing messages can then be tailored to families at sporting events, delivered in-person by your sales staff. Paying attention to your psychographic marketing can build a loyal customer following for your business.

About the Author

Marty Aquino is a venture capitalist who has helped start-up companies raise millions of dollars. He has been a passionate writer on green energy, technology and entrepreneurial topics since 2009. Aquino specializes in helping start-ups create the necessary look and feel to secure large funding. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Puget Sound.