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For many small businesses, marketing strategy comes down to one thing; using a one-size-fits-all method to convert “the general public” into loyal fans of their products (or something close to this). Such businesses try to build their customer base by announcing the goodness of their wares to the world as it appears to them while paying scant attention to the differences between individual recipients of their message. Unless the product is an absolute necessity with no obvious substitute, this way of pushing it is very likely to fail. A smarter approach would be to break down (or segment) your customers into various groups, depending on their ages, gender, occupation, and location, and then try to sell to them using strategies that reflect the peculiar wants of people who fit into their groups. This makes sense- you’re not going to make huge sales if you’re targeting rural dwellers with university grade academic e-books or pitching phones worth ₦500,000 to residents of a district with an average income that’s one-tenth that price. You’d be better off presenting them with something that they’re likely to want, given their age, social grouping, and district or region of residence. This is what the knowledge of market demographics does for you. But there’s an even better way of selling, one that has proven to be a brilliant asset for those who know how to use it. Just imagine that you know what really makes your customer buy your product (beyond the “because I need it” line). What if you knew the lifestyle choices, beliefs, and sentiments, values and opinions that actually drive people’s decision to pay for what you’re offering them? If you had this information, you could have a bigger chance of convincing people to buy what you’re displaying to them. It’ll be the closest you could get to actually reading your customers’ minds. This is what market psychographics are about.

Why Psychographics are important

Psychographics give us insights into why customers make the purchasing decisions they do. It narrows their motivations down to their preferences, beliefs and values, things that you can bear in mind when crafting a marketing strategy. Here’s an example of how psychographics can help you. You might think that presenting your Tee shirt as something hip and trendy would give it a fine chance of selling like hotcakes among 18-30-year-olds; but upon close inspection of your typical young adult customers, you might find that for some reason, they’re more concerned with durability than with embracing today’s definition of what’s considered “cool”. Some of them might even have a pet dislike for all things “hip and trendy”. You’ll have to adjust your marketing style by placing a greater emphasis on portraying your Tee shirts as durable. This could mean using words like “long lasting” and “resilient” to describe your product in marketing content, instead of phrases like “the latest” or “in vogue”. Admittedly, this example seems counter-intuitive, because you probably wouldn’t expect younger people to disregard the appeal of a current fad. But things like this do happen, and it’s because of these assumption-defying cases that the study of customer psychographics has become popular globally.

How to know what your customer’s psychographics look like

Obtaining information about your customers’ preferences is key to building a psychographic profile of your product’s average buyer. This could be done in any of these ways:
  1. Surveys
You could ask your customers questions about the things they consider most important, or what they do with their spare time. The answers they give to these sorts of questions might help you construct a useful picture of where they fit in psychographically. You can do this through a face to face chat with them, conduct an online survey, or use both of these methods.
  1. Use analytics tools
Google Analytics is probably the best known analytic tool in these parts. If you run a website (an e-commerce platform, for instance), you’ll find it a very useful aid for gathering valuable information about the kind of visitors you’re attracting, classified based on demographics and interests. For example, Google Analytics could help you tell whether it’s music lovers, news buffs or tech enthusiasts that are generating the most revenue for you. If you have this information, you could frame your marketing content to appeal to audiences that tend to buy more, and cut down spending on low-value audiences. Having a good grasp of your customer’s psychographics could totally transform your business. There’s no harm in devoting a little time and effort to sketching a psychographic map of your potential and actual buyers. It may be the tool that launches your business into the future that you so frequently dream about.

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This article was first published on 6th October 2017


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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