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Psychographic Segmentation: Examples, Use-cases, Variables and Advantages

Psychographic segmentation includes variables like personality, lifestyle, social status, attitudes, interests, and more. Check out top examples and benefits to better understand your market.
8 Min Read

Table Of Contents

    As a marketer, market segmentation helps you break down a vast customer base into smaller, more specific sub-groups of consumers who share common traits, characteristics, and attributes.

    It's an integral part of market research. And why not? Most brands, regardless of the products and services they offer, often cater to multiple customer segments.

    Each of these segments is built on demographic, geographic, behavioral, transactional, and psychographic commonalities, with different needs, preferences, and pain points that need to be addressed with different marketing campaigns.

    That said, psychographic segmentation is one of the most powerful ways to boost user engagement and generate high-quality leads.

    You can use psychographic segments to create marketing campaigns that deeply resonate with your consumers' emotions and motivations, thereby fostering brand loyalty and awareness. Now, let’s take a look at some important examples of psychographic segmentation along with its variables in marketing with this article.

    What is psychographic segmentation?

    Psychographic segmentation is a marketing strategy wherein you create customer segments based on psychographic traits and variables like social status, personality, lifestyle, attitudes, values, beliefs, interests, hobbies, and opinions.

    Unlike behavioral segmentation, it tends to focus on the “why” behind consumer actions and behavior, like:

    • Why did they buy your product or service?
    • Why are they loyal to certain brands?
    • Why do they enjoy participating in specific activities?
    • Why do they opt to travel to certain destinations over others?
    • Why do they prefer certain forms of entertainment, like movies, music, or books?

    All of these questions give you insights into the psychological traits that influence your buyers’ purchase decisions, helping you understand their thought process and bridge the gap between the consumer and your product.

    Psychographic segmentation not only empowers you to create personalized marketing campaigns and stand out from your competitors, it also helps in developing products and features better suited to your target audience.

    A brief history of psychographics

    Psychographic segmentation is different from other types of marketing segmentation – it remains relatively stable over time. Just think about it; an individual’s personality, beliefs, and attitudes are deeply ingrained and rarely susceptible to external changes.

    Psychographics can be traced back to the 20th century, when marketers recognized the limitations of demographic data and started delving into consumer psychology.

    Arnold Mitchell developed the VALS framework in 1978, which grouped consumers on the basis of Values, Attitudes, and Lifestyles. People were categorized into eight groups, namely:

    VALS framework

    Innovators: Characterized by curiosity. They are trendsetters and early adopters of new ideas.

    Thinkers: Value knowledge, education, and intellect. Critical thinkers who evaluate options before making hasty decisions.

    Believers: Conservatives guided by strong values and opinions. They like established brands and are loyal customers.

    Achievers: Success-oriented and status-conscious, they are motivated by wealth and social status. They buy products that reflect the same.

    Strivers: Aspire to imitate the lifestyle of achievers but lack the money. They are trend-followers who seek luxurious products at a lower price.

    Experiencers: Prioritize excitement, adventure, and self-expression. They want thrilling experiences and are willing to experiment with new features.

    Makers: Practical and self-sufficient, they value functionality over aesthetics, opting for products that offer practical solutions to their problems.

    Survivors: Have limited resources and are focused on meeting their basic needs. Price-conscious individuals who prefer affordability and reliability.

    Over the years, big data and digital analytics has given marketers access to vast amounts of consumer data, making it easier to identify psychographic factors for customer segmentation. It has offered a great opportunity to understand motivations and execute hyper-focused marketing efforts.

    Why is psychographic segmentation important?

    A simple question with a simple answer: It helps you ask the right questions to the right people at the right time.

    Psychographic segmentation is important because it uses psychographic data to improve your understanding of your market audience and gives you a very targeted view of your customer.

    Now, let’s say you apply demographics to a city that you’re targeting and find that more than 300,000 of them are between the ages 30 and 45.

    This gives you one highly generic demographic segment.

    But when you add psychographic elements to the mix, you will be able to divide them into different segments, based on personality, attitudes, emotions, beliefs, values, interests, and so on.

    All of this psychographic information enables you to refine your target audience from a broad 300,000 to a focused 40,000 people who you are better off targeting.

    This way, you can improve your marketing messages and communication strategy to suit their preferences and convert more potential buyers into customers.

    A holistic approach like this one further helps you:

    • Create targeted marketing campaigns with actionable content
    • Use psychological traits to build well-rounded customer personas
    • Develop better products and services to meet customer needs and preferences
    • Build a brand that respects the values and opinions of its target audience
    • Save money by allocating resources to the right marketing campaigns

    Psychographic segmentation helps you in a lot of ways. However, it is up to you to find attributes that allow you to convey your messages in a way that addresses their problems and gets the job done.

    Psychographic vs behavioral segmentation: Similar but not the same

    As we’ve discussed before, psychographic segmentation differs from other types of segmentation methods, like demographic or behavioral segmentation.

    Of course, this difference is more prominent in demographic segmentation, which covers objective information like a user’s age, gender, location, education, income level, marital status, and job profiles.

    You can gather data without directly interacting with your buyers.

    This is not the case with psychographic segmentation. In order to group consumers based on different psychographic patterns, like their personalities, lifestyles, and belief systems, you need to actively reach out to them.

    Behavioral segmentation is slightly different, since it helps you find the how, what, and when behind user actions and interactions.

    Unlike their psychological makeup, it centers around their browsing activities, buying patterns, purchasing habits, product usage, loyalty, and overall responses to marketing strategies.

    Demographic vs psychographic vs behavioral segmentation

    While one offers insights based on user actions, the other tries to find the reasons behind those same actions.

    You can collect behavioral data via Google Analytics. Simply look at the sessions, conversions rates, cart abandonment rates, product views, page visits, URLs, time spent on site, and more to see how they interact with your eCommerce website.

    Note: Use Google Analytics for apps to monitor user interactions within mobile applications.

    Behavioral data will help you map the customer journey and understand how prospects find, purchase, and buy your products. So, it’s always a good idea to combine behavioral and psychographic segmentation to get a more holistic view of your customer.

    Top five psychographic segmentation variables

    Personality, lifestyle, attitudes, social class, and AIO (activities, interests, and opinions) are the five major types of psychographic variables. Each category has its own components that can help create multiple customer segments.

    Psychographic variables

    Now, let us look at all of them in detail.

    1. Personality

    Personality is the unique set of traits and behaviors that define our personal identity. According to the OCEAN model, people have five fundamental personality traits – openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

    Openness: Willingness to embrace new experiences and ideas.

    Conscientiousness: Organized, clear-headed, and attentive to details.

    Extroversion: Outgoing and energized in social settings.

    Agreeableness: Empathetic and kind, with a tendency to avoid conflict.

    Neuroticism: Emotionally unstable and susceptible to negative emotions.

    A customer’s personality directly affects their buying behavior and spending habits.

    Thus, brands should divide customers according to their personalities. They should ask this question: What is or can be the personality of my prospective customer?

    Uncovering consumer personality traits can help create personalized ads and messaging that resonate with distinct personality types. For example, a car brand might target adventurous and outgoing buyers with advertisements featuring thrilling driving experiences.

    2. Lifestyle

    Lifestyle is a way to group people by the way they live life and express themselves through their activities, interests, and opinions.

    It can include hobbies, habits and spending patterns, and reflects what individuals truly value as they invest their time, money, and energy to meet self-defined standards.

    It plays a pivotal role in advertising and product design since it seeks to appeal to consumers by associating with a desirable lifestyle.

    For instance, a fitness apparel company can customize its marketing messages to appeal to health-conscious individuals by emphasizing the importance of an active lifestyle and presenting their items in workout settings.

    3. Attitudes

    Attitudes represent an individual’s beliefs, emotions, and preferences towards certain topics, products, or brands.

    People’s thoughts, choices, and attitudes are influenced by their culture, ethnicity, and family values. It tells you a lot about who they are and what will motivate them.

    Analyzing attitudes helps gauge consumer sentiments and develop strategies to influence purchase decisions. For example, a sustainable fashion brand might educate buyers about fast fashion's environmental impact to encourage eco-friendly purchases.

    4. Social status

    Social status shows an individual's position within society relative to others, based on factors like income, occupation, education, and family background.

    A person may have a high or low social standing, wealth, and prestige; this affects their spending power and capacity.

    Brands can leverage social class or status to target affluent consumers with exclusive products or experiences, such as Rolex introducing limited edition watches to appeal to those seeking status symbols.

    Consequently, learning about your prospects’ social status will empower you to devise better product pricing plans and spend money on the right marketing channels.

    5. Activity, Interests, and Opinions (AIO)

    Activities, interests, and opinions offer a glimpse into the way in which individuals interact with their surroundings, including their hobbies, preferences, and viewpoints.

    Activities. Brands should study the common activities that their customers enjoy. Such as, how much time do they spend on a particular activity? What part of the activity do they find most enjoyable?

    Interests. Everyone has a variety of interests, like sports, entertainment, and travel. It is the feeling of wanting to know, learn, or do something.

    Opinions. Beliefs influence buying decisions; for instance, people against animal products may not support brands selling the same. Individuals usually have strong opinions about politics, religion, and gender, so brands should probably approach these with caution.

    Psychographic profiling with buyer personas

    Buyer personas are tools used by marketers to build a character sketch of their prospective customers. In the olden days, they were created from data that wholly consisted of numbers and demographics.

    As technology evolved, the data sources also expanded to include behavioral and psychological inputs.

    Persona by Delve AI generates data-driven personas for your business using demographic, geographic, psychographic, behavioral and transactional data.

    We build AI personas using your analytics data (Google Analytics, Search Console, CRM) and combine it with over 40 sources of public data, such as social media, voice of customer (reviews, ratings, forums, online communities), and news data.

    A part of a sample persona, highlighting its psychographic attributes, is shown below.

    Psychographic persona sample

    As you can see, we focus on specific psychographic characteristics related to lifestyles, preferences, emotions, personality traits, interests, hobbies and values for effective segmentation.

    In addition to this, you also get insights into other segmentation variables, such as:

    • Age, gender, language, location, industry, company size, job function and seniority levels.
    • Goals, pain points, buying triggers, barriers, products, pages, and topics of interest.
    • Engagement, events, actions, context, intent, and user journey.

    Marketers and businesses alike can use these data points to support their marketing and advertising efforts, driving better engagement and conversion rates.

    How do you collect psychographic data?

    Psychographic data is more subjective in nature as compared to traditional quantitative research data. Therefore, data sources should be carefully evaluated before they are used in your marketing strategies and campaigns.

    Surveys

    Online surveys are one of the most cost-effective methods for collecting psychographic data. They offer a budget-friendly approach, enabling easy distribution and real-time analysis of results.

    Tools like SurveyMonkey and Google Forms (free and accessible to businesses of all sizes) enable you to streamline the process and create in-depth customer surveys like the one given below.

    Survey sample apollo

    You can ask your prospects the following types of questions:

    • Open-ended questions
    • Semantic differential scale questions (“rate a product out of 10” questions)
    • Likert scale questions (“strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” statements)

    You can divide your customers right at the point of lead capture by asking the right questions. Once you have a pretty clear idea of the market you are targeting, you can add questions to further refine your customer segments.

    Interviews

    Directly interviewing customers is amongst the most accurate methods for collecting psychographic data. Despite being costly and time consuming, the insights gained from this approach are extremely valuable.

    Keep in mind that you need to interview customers at both ends of the spectrum to get a thorough understanding of their motivations.

    Customer interviews don’t just give data; they provide an opportunity to gather testimonials and offer personal assistance to customers who encounter difficulties with your product.

    Satisfied customers can be rewarded through loyalty programs with attractive perks to show appreciation.

    Focus groups

    A focus group is an interview involving a small group of demographically relevant participants who engage in an unbiased discussion about your brand, products, or services.

    For instance, Dove might gather a few women in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties to discuss their latest skincare product.

    During the session, participants openly share their thoughts on product features and pricing. The questions raised will help the company gain a deeper understanding of its target audience and accordingly refine its products and sales pitch.

    Web analytics

    Google analytics provides information about user behavior and demographics. It also, to a certain extent, helps in the collection of psychographic data.

    • Data on page views, click-through rates, and time spent helps spot user interests, attitudes, and lifestyle.
    • Social media tracking and referral sources provide details into the platforms where your consumers are most active.

    You can monitor campaign data to check which emails, discounts, and offers have worked. It’s actually a roundabout way of determining the purchasing tendencies of your customers (whether they are spendthrifts or penny-pinchers).

    Social media

    Social media is mind boggling – especially the reach and influence it has on the people of this generation. People follow the brands they love online and express opinions they wouldn’t have otherwise.

    Instagram poll doritos

    You can find your most engaged customers on different social networks and post online polls with the questions you want answered. Doritos frequently uses Instagram polls to ask followers to pick their favorite flavors when given two choices.

    Examples of psychographic segmentation: Ways to use it in marketing

    You can use psychographic segmentation to create customer segments or personas, which will help you create content, develop ads, and build effective social media and brand strategies.

    Of course, there are numerous other use cases in marketing.

    Write compelling ads.

    Psychographic factors enable you to understand the emotional triggers of your audience. Armed with this knowledge, you can write copy and develop ads that make your buyers take action.

    In fact, highly personalized and emotionally charged emails show a 760% increase in email revenue, since they strike a personal chord within your audience.

    Although it’s not a bad idea to use everything you have in your arsenal, ensure that you choose your words carefully so as not to offend any of your buyers.

    Refine social media audience.

    There are different types of people on different (sometimes the same) social networks; this granularity is only going to help your cause when it comes to social media marketing.

    Simply tailor your ad targeting and retargeting efforts to their interests by leveraging the social data you've collected. You can add additional interests and hobbies to better target your audience and enhance the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

    Find new content ideas.

    Psychographic data gives you a competitive edge by providing information beyond your competitors' reach.

    Expanding content topics beyond your niche and integrating relevant yet slightly generic subjects enriches discussions, fostering stronger connections with your readers.

    Aspirational branding.

    Aspirational marketing focuses on associating a brand with the desires and lifestyle aspirations of the target audience.

    It aims to inspire customers by showing how the product or brand can help them achieve their goals, whether it's wealth, success, happiness, or a certain lifestyle.

    With psychographics, you can ensure that when customers think about your product, they associate it with ways it improves their lives or their business.

    Four companies using psychographic segmentation in marketing

    Famous brands like Apple, Patagonia, Old Spice, and Harley Davidson have employed psychographic segmentation to create phenomenal branding and marketing movements.

    1. Old Spice

    Old Spice employs humor, confidence, and masculinity in their campaigns, targeting men who value self-assurance, wit, and a sense of adventure.

    In 2010, the brand embarked on a mission to shed its outdated image and resonate with a younger audience. This led to the creation of the iconic The Man Your Man Could Smell Like campaign.

    The ad campaign shifted the focus to the female segment, a new approach, since other brands were running male centric ads at the time. Yet, sales increased by 60%, and by July 2010, they had doubled.

    Old Spice is a prime example of the success brands can achieve if they understand consumer psychographics.

    2. Patagonia

    Patagonia focuses on environmentally-conscious customers who prefer outdoor adventures combined with sustainability.

    Patagonia ad

    Their marketing messages, like the “Don’t Buy This Jacket” movement, highlight ethical practices, outdoor exploration, and a commitment to environmental activism, reaching out to people who value nature.

    3. Harley Davidson

    Harley-Davidson is synonymous with rebellious spirits who want to experience freedom and independence in their lives.

    Harley davidson ad banner

    Harley’s marketing campaigns evoke a sense of adventure, camaraderie, and individuality, calling out riders to embrace the American spirit. The Harley Owners Group further invokes a sense of belonging and reinforces the “born to ride” attitude.

    4. Apple

    Apple crafts marketing campaigns that appeal to individuals' lifestyles, values, and personalities.

    Similarly, their advertisements almost always place an emphasis on innovation, creativity, and sophistication, built for individuals who seek style, status, and minimalist technology in their lives.

    Wrapping up

    Psychographic segmentation can really level up your business game. After all, It's all about tuning into your customers' personalities, values, and emotions to target them effectively.

    Blend that with behavioral data? Boom!

    Your marketing efficiency and revenue will significantly improve, outshining old-school demographics and geographics. Embrace it, and watch your company soar with new found visibility and opportunities!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    What is psychographic segmentation?

    Psychographic segmentation is the process of dividing your market into distinct customer segments based on psychographic traits and characteristics, such as personality, lifestyle, attitudes, social status, hobbies, interests, and opinions.

    Which variables are used in psychographic segmentation?

    Currently, there are five major elements or variables that can be used as the basis of psychographic segmentation: personality, lifestyle, attitudes, social class, and AIO (activities, interests, and opinions).

    How does Nike use psychographic segmentation?

    Nike uses psychographic segmentation to run marketing campaigns that focus on the personalities, lifestyles, interests, and activities of their customers. The brand calls out to sports enthusiasts embodying the spirit of athleticism and individuals striving to live an active lifestyle.

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