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Know Your Target Market: Customer Psychographics

Today’s Tip

Best Practice: Psychographics help in branding by knowing customers’ personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, lifestyle.

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Today’s Article:  Know Your Target Market – Customer Psychographics

The kiss of death in branding is trying to be all things to all people. The more you understand about your customer the easier it is to find them, connect with them and build a trusted relationship.

Understanding the psychographics of your customers or market is critical for the success of your brand. Not only will this help you find and connect with them, but this information will also help with pricing, packaging, promotion and place.

Lets say you have a business idea or are considering opening a retail store. In order to properly evaluate the idea or a location for the business, it is important to know the psychographic profile of the potential customers. This helps determine if the idea or the location has a large enough target market to support the business.

Psychographic information, also called IAO variable (interest, activities, and opinions), is not quantitative (like demographics) and does not use simple numbers and figures. Instead, psychographics looks to understand how your potential customers feel about a product or service based on what they want and how they make choices when purchasing. Psychographic analysis is also called lifestyle analysis, as it looks at the factors that make up a person’s lifestyle.

When looking at a business it is important to create a psychographic profile of the potential customers with the following customer information: interests, activities, opinions, personality, values, and lifestyle etc.

Some examples of psychographic information:

For a fast food restaurant – Eating at a fast food restaurant is not cheap, costing over $25 for a family of four. According to a recent study from the University of California, Davis, found “that people’s visits to fast-food joints increased along with their incomes, and that poor people were spending fewer dollars on fast food than lower-middle and middle-income Americans.”  “Leigh and colleague DaeHwan Kim analyzed 1994-96 data from the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals and the accompanying Diet and Health Knowledge Survey. Based on the data, the researchers described the typical fast-food consumer as a lower-middle income head of household, who is budget-conscious and harried and likes the convenience and low price of fast food, compared with other restaurants.

Psychographics profile indicates an interest in speed and convenience as important in this food decision. Know “comfort food” is desirable i.e. burger, shake or beverage and fries. Consumers are people “on the go”, they do not have a lot of disposable time and they want something now versus dining at a sit down restaurant, eating at home or packing a lunch. They have a lower interest in locally grown food that is organic with no high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, artificial colors, sweeteners, and synthetic growth hormones in meat and dairy. Price and speed are more important

Sample taglines: “Your Way, Right Away”, “You got 30 minutes”, “Fast Food for Fast Times” or “America Runs On Dunkin”

For a sit down restaurant – It is also true that people’s visits to sit down restaurants increase along with their incomes.  Psychographics profile indicates an interest in ambiance and atmosphere are important in this food decision. Consumers have more disposable time and they are willing, within reason, to wait for a meal versus going to a fast food establishment or packing a lunch.  They like to socialize or do business over lunch. They have a higher interest in locally grown food and chef prepared entrees or deserts with the option of being able to order an alcoholic beverage if they desire. Price and speed are less important.

Sample taglines: “A Farm to Table Southern Comfort Food Experience”,   “We’re better… We’re fresher… We’re tastier!”, “Good food. Good cheer. Good times.”

If you do not know the target market psychographic customer profile for your product or service, first try researching it on the internet. Next contact an association that serves the industry. They may have a target market psychographic customer profile identified to help their members. The best source for this is Encyclopedia of Associations. You can subscribe to this online or go to your local public library reference section for free.  Encyclopedia of Associations

Other ways to gather the psychographic information:

Focus Groups – Sitting down with a group of existing or potential consumers to listen to  them answer to pre-prepared questions

Written Surveys – Online survey tools allow people to provide feedback about a potential business idea, location or how they make decisions when buying a product or service

Personal Observation – Observing and listening to customers in your business or at a competitors

Personal Conversations – Talk directly to the consumers

Employee Observations – Asking employees or people who have work in the industry what they have observed

Buy the data – Contract with a data supplier to provide the psychographic info


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Action Step: Write down your customers’ psychographic profile.



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