Marketing School: Psychographic Segmentation
February 11, 2021
Segmentation is used fairly often in most forms of marketing, be it email lists, A/B testing and even in big TV campaigns, you’ll see different versions of ads based on age and gender. This kind of segmentation is demographic – it’s marketing to you based on your vital, non identifying stats. Age, gender, marital status, location and profession. These are all fairly simple ways to put customers in a box, and for much of the time, it’s sufficient.
We don’t really like sufficient though do we? Don’t we want to know our customers more?
Psychographic segmentation is a way of separating groups of customers by personality, interests, values and opinions.. to put it basically. It puts the ‘why’ into the purchase lifecycle.
So how does one harness or even gather this information?
Well, the traditional routes are still being used today – focus groups, market research and surveys. Google Surveys is a tool that you can use to ask questions about buying behaviour of opted in users. It’s pricey and generally used by big brands. Some of the questions I have had are based on how I paid for my purchases – Did I prepay and pick up, did I use a credit card? It’s a little spooky too as it’s based on my location history, so if I go shopping at Aldi, a day or so later I might get asked if I shopped there, what I bought and how I paid for it.
You might get surveys in your email inbox from time to time, offering you a discount or competition prize for filling it out. These are all research opportunities for traditional marketers to add their customer dossier. If you have purchased from them already, then they have that information about you – what you bought, when, if it was online – where you clicked through from, how long it has been since the last purchase, and if it’s always a sale you respond to. Adding answers to their questions is adding a whole picture, and it enables the marketing team to Personalise your experience.
Personalisation is pretty epic. You may not know it’s happening, but some websites you visit look completely different for you, than it might to a friend or neighbour. How wild is that? One obvious example is Facebook, which we’ll get into in a moment, but one that you might not think about, especially these days, is airline websites. If you are a frequent flier and click through from an email – they will show you a home page with flights from your home town, specials to destinations you’ve gone to more than once, and if you are a business customer they might offer you car hire or other executive options when adding on to your flight. If you haven’t been on a holiday for a while, they might factor in the demographics and show you a holiday deal. This info is all used for email automation as well – every click you make in that email means more information for the next piece of communication – did you click on car hire? We’ll give you more care hire specials, do you open your emails on the day we send? We might send you more emails than your friend who is also a frequent flier. It’s quite granular and can be used cleverly to anticipate purchase behaviour.
Now, one of the biggest and best ways marketers can use psychographic segmentation in marketing is hiding in plain site. Facebook and Instagram. If you have been targeted by ads that seem to be reading your mind, this is what psychographics is! That’s the whole deal. You might see warnings around the internet about how messenger is ‘listening’ to you talk to your friends or is tracking you. And it is! But not the way you think. It’s a machine, it doesn’t know who YOU are, you are a piece of binary data and every time you like a page, like a post, click through to a website from Facebook or Insta, or share something, this machine makes note of the keywords in those posts and pages. When a Facebook Ads customer rocks up to advertise their product, Facebook Ads manager gives them thousands and thousands of behavioural and interest based options to target. So if you were chatting with a friend about getting a massage, and while you’re chatting you search for it on Facebook or you go to your favourite salon’s page, or even google it, possibly even hours later, you’ve passed on data. Again, it doesn’t say ‘Bec C just did this’ it’s saying ‘This user who also did this, is now doing this’ – and if that advertiser wants to target people who get regular massages (Do you post when you are at a spa? You’ll be targeted by spas!) or if you’ve purchased bath oil or something related from a previous Facebook ad, it’s all there for them to use.
If you’re sitting there spitting about the Cambridge analytica data scandal, know this – if you respond to an ad that asks for your personal details to enter a competition, that’s perfectly legal, you have just consented to them having that data. The issue here was the sneaky way they collected it for another purpose. You have to be transparent with what you are gathering and why, it’s a global law called GDPR which originated in the EU.
So how do you use psychographic segmentation? Well firstly, yes use Facebook ads – they are recommended for consumer goods marketing and even training courses or services – and although you don’t get to keep the info, you are sending your marketing directly to the customers you want, who buy and are interested in similar things. This makes it so easy for you to plan sales and marketing over the year.
As we touched on before, surveys are also a great way to gather this info. Another overlooked way to do this, if you are pressed for budget is to create Personas. Start with two – write a full character description of your perfect customer. What movies do they like, what books do they read, do they like long walks or prefer yoga? Are they vegetarian or omni, do they have kids or do they like caravanning? Write as MUCH as you can to create this person, and then when you are happy with your perfect customer – make sure all of your marketing is devoted to making that person happy.