Introduction to Psycho-Demographics
Marketing 101 – know your target market. Who is likely to buy your product or service? This is often answered by a definition of demographics. “Demographics are the statistical characteristics of a population … Commonly examined demographics include gender, race, age, disabilities, mobility, home ownership, employment status, and even location.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics)
You use demographics to define your target market segments. A segment is a set of prospects and customers with common needs, wants and preferences (solution requirements and buyer values) who reference each other when making buying decisions.
When I work with clients, I often suggest that they should evaluate their target market in groupings starting with the ideal customer and then branching out.
You want your position, message, and content to appeal to that ideal customer, but at the same time you want to attract a large enough audience to meet the required scale for business profitability. So if we use the archery target as a metaphor, how far off the center circle do you need to go to win the right number of customers while not watering down your content such that it is not compelling to the ideal customer? You need to work this out for each individual product or service.
So this is a very high level overview of target marketing and demographics and I haven’t even mentioned social media, yet. But you can not stop there, because the emergence of social media requires that we start thinking about demographics with additional perspectives. Social media is a two way, relationship marketing. You need to listen to your audience and hear what they are saying. This will give you some window into their mind to better understand perspective, their psycho-demographic. And after you listen, you respond and engage with relevance and meaning.
If you really want to be successful marketing your brand to a target audience, you need to break them down in a different way than typical demographics. A way that allows you to further understand your audience segments. I highlighted this imperative in the article “The Most Important Word for Marketing” and emphasized the importance of empathy. If we apply this mentality to demographics we begin to understand psycho-demographics.
Psycho-demographics go beyond traditional demographics. I hinted about the need to assess psycho-demographics in my article last week when discuss social media performance. But let’s discuss psycho-demographics head on.
When we socialize as a brand, we must be contextually relevant. If I am a car manufacturer of mini-vans, I know my target audience is likely females, age 28-45 with kids of the age of 0-14. (I am certain car manufacturers have more specific demographics and statistics on their buyers, but you get the picture.) But this does not mean that the entire target group is an “in-market” buyer (likely to make a car purchase in the next 90 days). At the same time, it is important to condition your audience and attract them such that when they are ready to make a buying decision, they will likely choose your brand. In the automotive example, you should have different content strategy to generate awareness versus the strategy for reinforcing the value of your car model to yield sales. A good example of awareness content is Toyota’s Swagger Wagon Video with almost 10 million views. And Chevrolet gives us a nice case of reinforcing their value in their promoted video for the Silverado.
Thus, there are different states of mind based on a number of parameters which include, but not limited to, purchase timeline. These states of mind are in fact the psycho-demographics. The social media A-Path I have defined that looks at steps in consumer-brand relationships (Attention > Attraction > Affinity > Audience > Advocates) is one way of looking at a psycho-demographic. The stages of the social media marketing funnel (Awareness > Consideration > Sale > Loyalty > Advocate) is another way. Brand perception is another psycho-demographic. How does the prospective target audience truly feel about your offering? Domino’s recently reinvented their company by taking an honest look at their perception and crafting a transparent campaign to the realities.
The point is that you need to understand your audience’s state of mind and form sub-segments of your audience. Not just on traditional demographics, but psycho-demographics as well. You need to produce contextual relevant owned media and paid media for the different segments. You need to engage in a relevant way to the different psycho-groups.
It is time for businesses to not only look at statistics and numbers (yes, they are still very important), but to start treating people as people with different states of mind, different psycho-demographics. Then market to your audience groups and engage in a relevant way.
Make It Happen!