6 Psychographics Examples You MUST Learn From Customers

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Most people are familiar with examples of demographics, like age, income, and ZIP code, which capture objective traits about a population.

Psychographics attempt to capture how different population segments feel, what they tend to believe, what they are interested in, where they shop, and so forth.

Unlike demographics, which can fit neatly into an IRS database, psychographics are a lot looser.

And after reviewing dozens of psychographics put out by the professionals (like marketers, ad agencies, trade associations, and industry research groups), I can tell you for certain that there is more than one “right” way to do this.

Every agency has their own secret sauce: their own “right” way of collecting, weighting, and interpreting psychographic data. 

Plus, different markets and products demand different angles of approach. You can’t ask the same questions of enterprise payroll software customers and high-end ski goggles.

But–virtually every psychographics example I found investigated the same six core factors. 

  1. Personality
  2. Lifestyle
  3. Values and Beliefs Values
  4. Attitudes
  5. Activities and Interests
  6. Channels

Why Businesses Care So Much About Psychographics

My friend told me that he has completely solved the problem of renting out apartments. In a typical year, his company needs to sign about 400 new leases in order to keep occupancy at target.

He explained his “magic” strategy in a sentence: “I say to Facebook: show ads to people who are also interested in sport kayaks, do activities like yoga, follow such and such podcasts, and few more things like that.” 

He told me that since making these changes, leasing agents have been filling apartments in half as much time as it used to take. 

This is a perfect example of using psychographics to target customers.

It’s even more perfect because this same business owner had previously burned a massive amount of money on Facebook ads using demographic targeting.

Their renters were too mixed demographically to make targeting those traits valuable. Adding in the psychographics–like interests and activities–turned out to be the best way to identify renters who would feel at home in their apartments.

6 Psychographics Examples Everyone Measures

Most of my readers aren’t trying to rent out apartments, and sadly, kayaks and yoga aren’t silver-bullet psychographic details you should use yourself.

So what psychographic factors actually matter?

The best guidance I can offer is breaking it down the way that I saw the pros do. 

Now every agency and industry group had different lingo and chose slightly different psychographics examples to investigate. 

For example, some agencies grouped attitudes, opinions, and interests together as a single psychographic labeled “AIO.” Others included psychographics such as “social status” and “purchasing habits.”

Do whatever you feel best captures your customer and the data you need. There is no one way.

But–if you get data on these 6 psychographic examples, you are probably 90% of the way to defining a really useful customer profile.

1. Personality

Personality psychographics aim to get at the following essential questions: Who is the buyer? What are they like? How do they treat people? How do they want to be treated?

Some examples of personality psychographics I saw:

  • Risk-taker, independent
  • Extrovert, life of the party
  • Introvert, wall-flower
  • Comfortable to go with the consensus
  • Chill, doesn’t take life to seriously

Understanding the personality of your buyers is key for pitching them products and services in the right way. 

If your typical buyer is someone who is comfortable to go with the consensus, for example, you’ll want to foreground how many other people have already used this product. Whereas you would probably try to pitch your product as exclusive and ahead of the curve to a more independent buyer.

In the ad for the Dodge Hornet, the brand is clearly trying to appear to movers and shakers rather than consensus-followers or wallflowers. “Time to blow off some steam” says a lot about the target personality, someone who’s recharge is driving a fast red car.

Dodge tweet that says "Time to blow off some steam"

2. Lifestyle

Lifestyle psychographics help you drill down into the person’s day-to-day, how they elect to live their lives. 

Some critical questions to answer: How does the buyer spend their free time and discretionary income? Do they enjoy going out or staying home? Do they spend free time alone, with friends, with family, or a mix?

Here’s a few example Lifestyle psychographics I saw:

  • Active in local community
  • Favors staycations
  • Eats outside the house 3+ nights per week
  • Digital nomad
  • Nine-to-fiver who’s family focused

By getting data on the lifestyle profiles of your customers, you can better create marketing/sales strategies that meet them where they are. 

MSR is a performance outdoor equipment company who has good evidence that their customers live an active, adventurous lifestyle. Their ad features dangerous locations and situations, which matches the aspirations of their target audience.

MSR tweet that says "Do you know how to recognize avalanche terrain? Learn how at the link below"

3. Values and Beliefs

The values and beliefs people hold are an incredibly important driver of purchasing decisions. Values are what people prioritize, what they feel is important; beliefs are what people think is true, authoritative, and worth trusting.

Some essential questions to ask to get at customers’ values and beliefs: Who do your customers trust, and why? What do they think is important? What are they willing to make sacrifices for?

Some example values and beliefs psychographics I saw:

  • Working hard is important
  • Results matter more than effort
  • Businesses are only out to make a profit
  • You can trust doctors to have your best interests at heart

In the ad from skincare brand Olay, there are three simple steps to support “the mission” of #makespaceforwomen. This series of call to actions is predicated on Olay’s assumption that their customers think this is an important mission, that they want to be seen retweeting that mission, and that a donation to @GirlsWhoCode is valuable. 

Olay tweet to join mission make space for women

4. Attitudes

Attitude psychographics help you articulate how segments are likely to respond to the ideas, objects, people, or policies that a brand puts forward. Attitudes tend to be positive and negative, and are distinct from beliefs in the sense that someone may believe that a policy is important but still have a negative attitude towards it.

Essential questions to get at attitude psychographics: What do people love or have a positive reaction to? What do they hate or have a negative reaction to? What are they scared of? 

Some attitude psychographics I saw:

  • Negative attitude toward perceived authority
  • Positive attitude toward the environment and sustainability
  • Negative attitude towards working late

In the case of the Hello Fresh ad above, the popular meal-prep subscription brand has positioned “adulthood” as a dreary set of responsibilities (work, bills, and implicitly cooking for yourself), and contrasted it with a yummy dessert.

HelloFresh US tweet about adulthood

There are many reasons to use a subscription service like Hello Fresh (for example, saving time, eating healthier, not being a good cook), but the brand leaned hard into the attitude psychographics for this ad. 

5. Activities and Interests

Your customers’ activities and interests are an important psychographic to take into account. People who play tennis on the weekends make up a very different segment than people who gamble on esports, for example.

The essential questions to ask are fairly straightforward for activities and interests: what do people do in their spare time? What would they do if they had more free time? What groups and communities are people a part of?

Some example activities and interests that brands found important:

  • Retail shops for fun
  • Goes to the gym 3x per week
  • Plays video games
  • Active in local community

In the ad from Brooks Brothers, you can see how the brand chose tennis as the activity to showcase their clothing. As an upper-class activity, tennis dovetails with Brooks Brothers’ brand image and the psychographic makeup of their typical customers.

Brooks Brothers tweet that says "Put some prep in your step - the weekend is calling"

6. Channels

Where people get their news and the channels they use to stay in touch with friends and family are critical psychographic factors to consider.   

Some essential questions to ask: What social media do you use? What’s your preferred channel for communication? Who do you follow?

Some psychographic examples of media consumption:

  • Never misses nightly local news
  • Facetimes as much as they call or text
  • Gets news from non-institutional sources on Twitter

Getting this information is so important. The news people choose to watch tells you a lot about what they value, for example. Is it fashion, local news, or geopolitics?

Bloomberg tweet that says "The US sanctioned more than a dozen Iranian ships, people and companies linked to the country's drone program"

A person who gets their news through Bloomberg and communicates over the phone should be targeted differently than someone who gets news off TikTok and chats on Discord. 

It sounds like common sense, and it is. 

Finding out the channels buyers use can help you figure out other psychographic characteristics, like values, beliefs, interests, and so on. 

Peter works in marketing and lead generation. He has been involved on the backend of the Crazy Egg blog since 2020. Occasionally, they let him write a post.

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