What Is Psychographic Segmentation (5 Variables + Examples)
Savvy marketers use psychographic segmentation as a marketing strategy to figure out exactly what shoppers are thinking.
What makes them tick.
Peeling back the layers of their complex inner workings to analyze and understand the individual behind the shopper.
You may not realize it, but psychographic segmentation also plays a driving role in everyday life.
We analyze people all the time to determine whether we’re compatible before becoming friends.
Or swiping right.
By researching these attributes, marketers can learn more than just “who.” Psychographic segmentation digs deeper and reveals “why.”
So, let’s jump in and unpack psychographic segmentation — with examples.
What is psychographic segmentation?
Psychographic segmentation is one of the types of marketing segmentation — the process of grouping consumers based on varying attributes.
By learning these attributes, marketers can target the right customers, in the right way, at the right time.
To better understand psychographic segmentation, we’ll compare it with three of its cousins:
Behavioral segmentation analyzes consumer behavior such as websites visited and products purchased.
Demographic segmentation relates to the gender, age range, income, values, etc., of consumers.
And geographic segmentation is exactly what it sounds like. Segmenting customers based on location: country, city, climate, population, etc.
But psychographic market segmentation takes it a step further and analyzes customers as individuals.
They are then categorized according to intrinsic characteristics that influence their shopping habits.
These characteristics include personality, lifestyle, social status, activities, interests, opinions, and attitudes.
Start by gaining a deep understanding of your target audience’s psychological characteristics. Then, you'll have the final piece of the puzzle to build a holistic customer profile.
The buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. It is based on actual data of your existing customers and market research.
Build your buyer persona to segment your target audience and create personalized content that speaks directly to them.
What is an example of psychographic segmentation?
Let’s say you’re marketing an adventure trip that involves white-water rafting, rock climbing, and ziplining through a jungle.
Knowing which members of your target market are adrenaline junkies would be super helpful. As would understanding which ones break out into a sweat just thinking about heights.
It wouldn't make much sense to market an adrenaline-charged vacay to the segment of non-thrill-seekers, would it?
But, with psychographic segmentation, you can uncover this data. It lets you peek inside your consumers’ brains to reveal their deepest, darkest feelings.
Let’s look at the psychographic segmentation advantages in greater detail.
Benefits of psychographic segmentation
Using psychographics for market segmentation can reveal:
- What your customers value in life
- How they perceive your brand
- How your products fit into their life
- What they want to achieve (not what you think they want to achieve)
- Gaps or pain points related to your products
- Any objections they have about your product or service
When you understand your customers, you’ll avoid falling into the trap of “one-size-fits-all marketing.” You can then adjust your offers, marketing messages, and advertising channels to suit.
As a bonus, your target audience will feel the love as you connect with them on a deeper, more personal level.
Which can result in a mammoth boost in customer engagement.
Psychographic segmentation variables
Today’s consumers already proudly group themselves into small interest tribes.
We’re talking Stranger Things fans, Iron Man athletes, BBQ smokers, home brewers, or social justice warriors.
Because people consciously express their interests via social media, it’s even easier to use psychographic segmentation as a tool.
So, how do you identify a psychographic segment?
This starts with understanding the five psychographic segmentation variables:
Personality, Lifestyle, Social Status, AIO (Activities, Interests, Opinions), and Attitudes.
Personality traits and purchasing habits are powerfully intertwined.
This customer segmentation variable helps you market your products according to customers’ personalities.
For example, psychographic characteristics include being conscientious, opinionated, or introverted.
Personality segmentation example
This Jordan Winery post would appeal to consumers who:
A) Like to drink wine,
B) Enjoy the great outdoors, and
C) Like to drink wine in the great outdoors in the company of others.
Lifestyle psychographic segmentation relates to how consumers spend their money, time, and energy.
Athletes, CEOs, digital nomads, and students all have different lifestyles and challenges to solve.
Lifestyle segmentation example
Mountain Dew’s content marketing strategy focuses on thrill-seekers who love adventure, biking, and travel. And Viking horns, as it turns out.
3. Social status
Demographic data points such as income, marital status, or education level can heavily influence a person’s social status.
Ultimately, social hierarchy influences purchasing power. It determines whether customers are interested in your product and whether they can afford it.
This segmentation type benefits brands with a niche product or service.
Social status segmentation example
Luxury Swiss watch manufacturer, Patek Philippe, targets a niche market of men and women with high spending power and status.
Their tagline from 1996 states, "You never actually own a Patek Philippe; you merely look after it for the next generation."
The campaign emphasizes the timelessness and exclusivity of the brand. Their watches also cost a small fortune.
4. Activities, Interests, and Opinions (AIO)
AIO segmentation is based on how people spend their time. Which topics they’re enthusiastic about. And their opinions about specific matters.
AIO segmentation example
Alter Eco health food brand targets organic chocolate lovers. But, they also target activists who support environmental, social, racial, and human justice.
Our upbringing, values, and cultural background all shape our attitudes.
Therefore, in this type of segmentation, buyers are segmented based on their beliefs, mindsets, and motivators.
Attitudes segmentation example
The buyer persona of the Grove Collaborative would be people who care about their health and the environment.
The brand promotes that its products are sustainable, non-toxic, and cruelty-free.
How to collect psychographic segmentation data
Collecting psychographic information requires channeling Sherlock Holmes and looking beyond the obvious.
Dig deeper — to the data beyond the data.
Online surveys allow you to get your hands dirty and ask your customers a whole host of questions.
They’re the most efficient way to learn about their personalities.
Psychographic data is qualitative, so it’s best collected using open-ended questions. For example:
“What’s your biggest challenge with...”
Or you could use the Likert scale to understand how much they agree or disagree with a statement, like “strongly agree” or “strongly disagree.”
You may like to use a semantic differential scale to ask people to rate a product, your brand, or another attribute.
Free tools such as Survey Monkey are excellent for creating surveys with targeted responses.
2. Interview customers
When you conduct face-to-face interviews, you can pick up on voice or body language cues — or sarcasm — that you may miss in written answers.
And satisfied customers are great for gathering positive testimonials.
But make sure you also interview the unhappy chappies to gain deeper insight into what needs improving.
3. Market research and focus groups
Market research is an essential part of any kick-ass digital marketing strategy.
It not only helps brands understand their target market. But also their own strengths and weaknesses — and those of their competition — through competitive analysis.
Many businesses also find it helpful to employ professional focus groups to obtain feedback about what consumers need, want, and buy via lively group interactions.
4. Digital analytics
Whether you’ve got a website or a mobile app, Google Analytics 4 can help you analyze your audience.
It also involves the use of knowledge management methods covering well-proven knowledge base software aimed at psychographic data.
For example, delve into likes, shares, and retweets to better understand the people interacting with your brand.
Then, identify which insights match your product and update your buyer personas, brand positioning, and marketing efforts.
You may even discover an opportunity to test new ideas for products and services.
Make it personal
It’s not enough to just reach an audience.
You need to connect with that audience by understanding who they are and what they care about.
Psychographic segmentation can be a powerful lever to refine your messaging and market your products.
It adds that x-factor to the buyer persona. The better you understand your target audience, the more value you can offer.
Eventually, you’ll understand your tribe like the back of your hand.
Then, once you’ve tweaked your marketing efforts to reflect the psychographic data, you’ll get more out of your post-click opportunities.
And that, friends, is the key to winning in today’s marketplace.