How to Use Psychographic Targeting in Your Marketing

How to Use Psychographic Targeting in Your Marketing

Before I explain what psychographics are, let’s play a simple game.

You’ll need to answer one question, but you have to do it according to certain rules.

Question:

Why do people buy from you?

Rules:

  1. You are not allowed to use the words “premium,” “exclusive” or “luxurious.”
  2. You cannot use the pronouns “I,” “we” or “us.”
  3. You are not allowed to talk about any feature of your product or business. 

Difficult, isn’t it?

Here’s the trick - you can only answer the question if you know what drives people’s purchasing decisions and how they feel when they engage with your business.

You probably already know who your audience is, where they live, how they engage with your product and even when they see your marketing content. This is called “demographic targeting.” I call it an “informed bet.”

If demographics can’t help you answer the question in the game, then what can? As you can probably tell from the title of this article, it’s psychographic. 

Psychographics: The way to discover the ‘why’

Today’s common marketing tactics heavily rely on user activity and can answer questions – who, what, when and how – on a certain level. However, psychographics can answer the most critical question -why.

This is what makes psychographics a game changer, and it can give your marketing strategy an edge.

Psychographic targeting or segmentation can help you develop a better understanding of your target audience based on personality traits. Knowing your audiences’ personalities, their emotional motivators and general attitudes, you can create a much more powerful brand marketing strategy, which eventually helps you improve brand awareness, grow sales and increase business value.

Large corporations have used this segmentation technique when launching a product into a heterogeneous market where the audience is very diverse and a broad marketing message could easily get lost.

However, today, psychographic segmentation or targeting should be included in a brand marketing strategy right from the beginning.

When we say psychographics, we are talking about the things that make us human and guide how we communicate with the world.

Today, we will focus on three key psychographic measures: 

  1. Personality
  2. Motivators
  3. Fears

I will show how you can make your brand and marketing message appealing to different types of personalities without violating your audiences’ privacy and spending a penny.

To start with, we can use definitions and personality traits descriptions from DISC, a reliable behavior assessment tool I use in psychometric branding. This tool was developed to determine a course of action against a problem by assessing the personality traits of an individual. For years, DISC has proven itself to be an invaluable tool for employers, coaches, and education professionals, helping individuals understand what motivates them, what stresses them, how they resolve problems, and how they engage with the world.

We can use DISC, or any other behavior assessment tool, to understand our audience and find ways to make them happier while creating a bond with them.

According to the DISC model, there are four primary personality types with 12 different combinations based on four traits. Your job is to create a brand that all 12 personality types will love.

The four primary types of personalities

Let’s take a look at the four primary personality type as a starter. 

Dominant (D)

Motivators: Results, action, challenge

Fears: Appearing weak and being taken advantage of 

Influencer (I)

Motivators: Enthusiasm, action, collaboration

Fears: Personal rejection and not being acknowledged 

Steady (S)

Motivators: Support, stability, collaboration

Fears: Unplanned change and letting people down 

Conscientious (C)

Motivators: Accuracy, stability, challenge

Fears: Strong displays of emotion and being wrong 

As you now have three different measures to develop your first psychographic targeting strategy with, you can tailor your brand message for a more diverse audience following these three steps. 

1. Define the primary brand meaning

Creating a powerful brand depends on knowing what your brand means to people. Although people would use your product or service for various reasons, your brand still encompasses one simple meaning. 

For instance, the brand meaning of Apple is, or was, simplicity. Everything from the design of devices to the user interface, even the pricing strategy and product names was simple. When Apple slipped is when it mixed up the product range, redesigned iOS, bringing it closer to Android style, and introduced different levels of pricing. Apple did that to attract Android users, but it forgot what those changes meant to their long-lasting relationships with their core audience.

Answer why people use your product, how they feel when they use or engage with it and what that interaction means to them. Then define your brand’s primary meaning. 

2. List the benefits that your brand offers that motivate your audience to buy your products 

What are the benefits for consumers who engage with your brand and use your products? Create a list of those benefits. As part of your analysis, examine what benefits your competitors offer. Ideally, you should offer the same benefits while providing a unique set of added values on top of them.

For your list of benefits, consider what motivates these four different personality types and what fears these individuals have. Once you have compiled these motivations and fears, then you can create a system of motivating benefits that also help prevent consumers’ fears from becoming a reality.

For example, 24/7 customer service or client onboarding support can be on your list of benefits. Do you notice how these benefits confer a feeling of security and trust?  

In Apple’s case, they had a very strong and effective brand meaning, and they built their entire benefits system around simplicity, security and aspiration. Here are some examples of the benefits of Apple products:

  • An easy-to-use operating system that no one can break
  • A closed ecosystem, preventing you from possibly harmful attacks
  • A refined design, which speaks to your social status  

3. Write a single sentence statement 

Focus on one of the key benefits of using your product or service and write a single marketing message defining what your product is, referencing the meaning and benefits - your motivators.

Let’s look at some of Apple’s slogans used when launching iPhones.

“This changes everything.” – The first generation iPhone

Apple knew they had to attract the early adopters, so they played purely to the Influencer type of personality while keeping the message simple – remember, their brand meaning is simplicity. Of course, there are lots of elements contributing to the creation of this slogan, but from a psychographic perspective, this is an incredibly successful example.

As you can see, demographic targeting is not enough by itself, and psychographics can give your business an edge, tailoring your marketing message in a way that your brand can communicate with anyone consistently.

Introducing psychographic targeting into your marketing mix will help your brand be more authentic. It introduces uniqueness into your offer and gives your audience more reasons to choose your brand over your competitors. Psychographic testing and targeting helps you understand who your audience actually is. Your target consumers are more than just “data sets,” and your relationship can become more organic. 

Think of your brand as a human, and let it communicate like one.

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