What is Psychographic Segmentation? A Beginner's Guide (2023)

What is psychographic segmentation?

Psychographic segmentation breaks down your customer groups into segments that influence buying behaviors, such as: beliefs, values, lifestyle, social status, opinions and activities. It’s different from behavioral segmentation because it draws out the motivations behind behavior, rather than tracking the behavior itself.

And, although different, it often goes hand in hand with demographic segmentation:

  • Demographics tells you who your customer is, while psychographics tell you why they buy
  • Demographic data is quantitative, but psychographic data is qualitative

Understanding your customers’ psychological characteristics is the final piece of the puzzle when building a holistic customer profile.

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Customer personas

You’ll need to understand your target audience’s psychographics and demographics to be able to build up a customer persona – a fictional character who is most like your customer base – and reach them effectively.

See how one informs the other to build up this buyer persona of Meredith, a personal trainer:

Demographic profilePsychographic profile
FemaleEnjoys healthy living
Age 25-45Lacks time to herself
MarriedEnjoys Netflix box sets
2 ChildrenBuys quality rather than economy
Household income $75k+Is career-orientated
City dwellerLoves going out with girlfriends

Demographics will only give you the dry facts about Meredith, whereas psychographics will give you insight into her potential buying behavior. The two together give a more holistic picture of Meredith as a customer.

6 Benefits of psychographic segmentation

These are all benefits of psychographic segmentation, or the process of grouping people based on lifestyles and personalities.

  1. You’ll understand your customer’s needs, wants, concerns, motivations and aspirations
  2. Better communication – you’ll be able to talk your customer’s language, on their personal and emotional level
  3. The focus shifts from just the benefits and features of your product or service onto your customer’s life and how you can improve it
  4. You’ll find out how your customers use your product or service, and why
  5. You’ll be able to customize your product for different personas
  6. It goes a step further than behavioral segmentation because it includes attitudes and opinions as well

The 5 variables of psychographic segmentation

For market researchers, psychographic segmentation means selecting the most likely buyers based on their interests, activities and lifestyle choices.

Psychographic segmentation is increasingly important today as consumers group themselves into smaller and smaller interest tribes such as Iron Man athletes, Game of Thrones fans, BBQ smoker cooks, Fortnite players or social justice warriors. It is also easier now to use psychographic segmentation as a tool because people signal their interests via channels such as social media.

There are five psychographic segmentation variables for market research:

  1. Personality. There’s a strong correlation between customers’ personalities and their buying habits. Some of the personality filters that can be applied in this segment include: introvert, extrovert, emotional, creative, sociable, optimistic and organized.
  2. Lifestyle. A brand can design products or services for different lifestyles. For example, trainers – some people want them for marathon training, others for walking to work, casual wear or as a fashion statement. By analyzing customers’ lifestyles, the right trainers can be targeted at the right audience, and by listening to feedback, the trainers can be improved.
  3. Social status. This affects product choice, price, and niche markets. Each social class has its preferred, and affordable, brands of clothes, grocery store, vehicles and holidays. Cruise companies typically segment their customers by social status:
MarketAverage passenger income per annum
Luxury cruisesIn excess of $60k
Mid-market cruisesBetween $40k and $59k
Mass market cruisesBetween $20k and $39k
  1. Activities, Interests, and Opinions (AIO): This variable hones in on enthusiasts and hobbyists as well as interests like sport and politics. It could be as simple as noting that a TV viewer watches mainly comedy movies or as complex as understanding an environmental campaigner’s politics.
  2. Attitudes: Our cultural background and upbringing shapes our attitudes. They reveal a customer’s nature, and because they are intangible, require some imagination on the part of the marketing team when deciding at whom to target a product. You probably wouldn’t offer discount vouchers to a Ferrari driver, but a parent with five children might snap them up.

How to collect psychographic data

The way to start your psychographic segmentation is to conduct research into the interests and hobbies of your customers. This is an easy step: the methodology is straightforward and, for the most part, people are willing to talk about their interests. You may want to ask about:

  • Sports
  • Music
  • Recreation
  • Volunteering groups
  • Activities with their kids
  • Activism
  • Media preferences
  • Values
  • Opinions about current events
  • Brand preferences
  • Personality types (introvert vs. extrovert is always telling)
  • Travel
  • Professional and networking associations

Send out surveys

The most obvious way to uncover segmentable psychographic information with surveys. Because psychographic data is qualitative, it’s best collected using open-ended questions with open text answers.

But keep it short and sweet. It should take no more than five minutes to do and a mixture of multiple-choice and in-depth open text. This is a two-stage process:

1. The first stage is a kick-off question, to reveal what customers want from you to improve their lives. Every industry is different, so you will need to tailor your question more specifically than these generic examples, but here’s the gist:

What are your biggest challenges with [area related to your brand]?
What do you want to achieve in [area related to your brand]?

2. The second stage is refinement, to understand customers as individuals. Questions could be:

If you had to choose just one [product or service] which one would you be most interested in? [Tick boxes of options]

You can also use a Likert scale for customers to report their experiences with your brand or product:

The [product] was easy to use
Strongly agree – agree – neutral – disagree – strongly disagree

Interview customers

It’s good to talk, and conducting face to face, telephone or video interviews enables you to pick up on voice or body language cues that written answers miss. Make sure you interview dissatisfied as well as satisfied customers – they often offer deeper insight into what needs improving. Satisfied customers are great for gathering positive testimonials. Qualtrics research services can help when you want to conduct interviews.

Organize market research panels and focus groups

You’ll be able to gather a wide demographic selection of people with diverse backgrounds. You decide what you need to know and who you want to ask. A market research panel, or online sample, is a group of people recruited to respond to your survey. They are usually chosen from a pool of respondents who’ve agreed to be contacted by a market research service to respond to surveys.

Online survey software is now a tried and tested solution, replacing traditional methods such as focus groups or interviews. With many people to choose from, your brand can quickly and easily set up market research studies for specific demographics, segments or audience groups.
Such respondents have already agreed to be part of a panel, so online samples tend to achieve higher response rates than other methods such as existing customer databases.

Use digital analytics

You can also delve into your website’s analytics, browsing data and social media likes, retweets and shares to get a good idea of the types of people who are interacting with your brand. Social media listening analyzes text responses to gauge sentiment and ‘the word on the street’ about your brand.

Companies that have mastered psychographic segmentation

The world’s greatest brands are masters of psychographic segmentation.

  • Patagonia understands environmentally conscious outdoor enthusiasts and trekkers
  • Harley Davidson taps into the psyche of riders including their image, attitude and bucket-list trips
  • Snapchat understands youth and their interest in ‘vanishing’ content
  • Microsoft intimately knows what business people in specific industries need to succeed
  • Comic Con connects with fans by making them part of their favorite show, not just watching it

What’s important to remember is that psychographic segmentation is not standalone. It complements:

  • Demographic data – who your customer is
  • Transactional data – what they buy
  • Behavioral data – how they travel through their customer journey

When you have all your data, action the insights it reveals, and make sure that it’s consistent with your branding across all your marketing channels.


What is psychographic segmentation your answer? ›

What is psychographic segmentation? Psychographic segmentation breaks down your customer groups into segments that influence buying behaviors, such as: beliefs, values, lifestyle, social status, opinions and activities.

What is psychographic segmentation with example? ›

A coffee company might segment its customers by lifestyle and daily habits to help marketers understand their audience. For example, they may find a segment of customers who follow an active or health-conscious lifestyle and can promote metabolism-boosting coffee products or energy drinks.

What describes psychographics? ›

Psychographics is the qualitative methodology of studying consumers based on psychological characteristics and traits such as values, desires, goals, interests, and lifestyle choices. Psychographics in marketing focus on understanding the consumer's emotions and values, so you can market more accurately.

Why psychographic segmentation? ›

Psychographic segmentation helps marketers understand that why—the goals, challenges, emotions, values, habits, and hobbies that drive purchase decisions. Women don't buy candles just because they're women. Psychographic segmentation, though, tells us that some women buy candles as part of decorating their homes.

What is personality segmentation? ›

the division of a heterogeneous market into homogeneous groups on the basis of personality characteristics and enduring patterns of behaviour such as aggressiveness, compliance or compulsiveness.

How do you find psychographic segmentation? ›

How to Find Psychographic Data
  1. Interview existing clients. ...
  2. Investigate website analytics. ...
  3. Use focus groups. ...
  4. Collect data from market research companies. ...
  5. Motivate your buyer based on their needs. ...
  6. Meet them where they're at. ...
  7. Capitalize on their priorities, hobbies, and interests. ...
  8. Include a tailored call-to-action.
Aug 17, 2021

What is an example sentence for psychographics? ›

Examples of psychographics

Understanding the demographics and also psychographics of social media users will help us more effectively connect our brand story to the needs and behavior of the social consumer.

What are the psychographic personality types? ›

Common personality types in psychographic segmentation include creative, emotional, friendly, opinionated, introverted, and extroverted. Understanding the personalities of your target audience also helps you create the right brand personality for your business and communicate this with your product.

What is an example of psychographic quizlet? ›

What are examples of psychographics? Psychographic information might be your buyer's habits, hobbies, spending habits and values.

What are 3 psychographic characteristics? ›

The main types of psychographics are interests, activities, and opinions. You can split that into subcategories as well. (Attitudes are slightly different than opinions; lifestyle and behavior are slightly different than activities). However, let's stick to the main three.

What is a psychographic quizlet? ›

psychographics. approach that uses psychological, sociological and anthropological factors to determine how a market is segmented by the propensities of the groups within the market and their reasons to make a particular decision about a product, person, or ideology to otherwise hold an attitude about a product.

Who uses psychographics? ›

Market researchers use psychographic characteristics to help develop and position their products and marketing messages for different target groups. Marketers use both demographics and psychographics in their market research to create their marketing strategy.

What is the definition of psychographics marketing quizlet? ›

Psychographics. the use of psychological, sociological, and anthropological factors to determine how the market is segmented by the propensity of groups within the market & their reasoning.

What is an example of a segmentation? ›

The aim of segmentation is to tailor marketing efforts to your ideal customer profile (ICP), i.e. the customers most likely to buy your product or service. For example, a customer at an organic food shop is likely to have some or all of these characteristics: Gender: Male or Female. Age: 25-44.

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