When marketers talk about understanding the target audience, most think about demographics. Yet in today’s competitive world, marketers require a much deeper, richer understanding of their target audience in order to reach and influence these individuals.
While demographics explain who your buyer is, psychographics explain why they buy. Demographics focus on dry facts such as job title, location, age, income, industry, and more—areas that give you a sense of your target audience. In contrast, psychographic information captures more complex variables, such as values, behavioural patterns and spending habits, which can affect how and when that individual will make a buying decision.
Why use psychographics?
For example, let’s say that you are marketing a software solution. You know that your target audience is likely to be senior executives in financial roles within mid-sized companies in the mining industry, located in Canada. This is a great start—but, even knowing who your target is, do you know how to reach or influence them? Creating a strong communication strategy and effective messaging is as reliant on psychographic information as it is on demographics.
Psychographics also allows you to better position your messaging, such as through smarter keyword targeting. For example, you could target one message about your software system to CFOs who are parents searching for “kids programming” and another to for searches on “kids videogames fun.”
Psychographics in action
Many marketers will tell you that they intuitively know the psychographics of their audience—but just knowing this information isn’t enough. To be successful, you need to document your psychographic knowledge, communicate it within your organization, and regularly re-visit the information to ensure you remain on track.
While gathering psychographic data is important, the true value is achieved through using the data to create an effective marketing strategy. The best way to do this is through the creation of buyer personas. You can only effectively reach your target audience when you understand both their demographics and psychographics, and combine this information to create a detailed picture of your target buyer. This persona should draw from what you know of your current customers, while also painting a picture of the people you would like to work with in the future.
By creating a buyer persona, everyone within your company will better understand the true target audience and how to reach that target, whether through sales interactions, marketing, customer service, or more. A buyer persona also provides a “true North” for your communications that you can consult to make sure that your key messages appeal to your target buyer.
Fact is, these days it’s harder than ever for marketers to cut through the background noise. With keywords, targeted advertising and more, the internet has changed the relative importance of demographics and psychographics. It’s no longer enough just to know who you are targeting—you also need to know how to influence that target. Robust psychographic information, built into a detailed buyer persona, is the key to success.