What Are Psychographics and How to Obtain Them


It’s a commonly known fact that bears repeating: to create an effective marketing strategy, you need to understand your audience. Up until recently, in marketing circles that meant understanding the demographics of your audience (age, gender, ethnicity, occupation, level of education, etc.) But as of 2016, understanding the psychographics of your customer base has been an increasing priority for marketing strategists.

What are psychographics and how can they help you understand and reach out to your audience? We’ll cover all you need to know and what you need to do to discover the psychographics of your audience.

What are psychographics?

Psychographics are the factors that describe who someone is, more than simply defining them by their demographics.

Psychographic information includes:

  • Personality traits
  • Communication style
  • Lifestyle preferences
  • Social class
  • Principles, beliefs and attitudes
  • Interests and activities

Understanding the psychographics of a person enables us to much more accurately explain their way of thinking and communicating.

Try an exercise with us now. Ready? Think of someone you know intimately. It could be an old friend, a family member, a partner, a colleague. Now answer this question: “What kind of a person are they?”

At any point in answering that question, did it occur to you to mention their age, gender, ethnicity, etc.? When it comes to truly understanding people, demographics factors into our thinking only minimally. That’s because demographics are very limiting when it comes to describing what we believe to be fundamentally important about people.

Psychographics examples

Let’s imagine you are selling a range of yoga and pilates equipment. Without describing demographics, we’ll describe two different people (Person A and Person B) based on their psychographics. Think about how you might market your product range differently to each person.

Person A

is an emotional consumer who makes purchase decisions based on how they make them feel, their values, and their beliefs. Person A is willing to pay significantly more for products that are ethically produced, or which have a story behind them. They are interested in slow living, and meditation.

Person B

is a rational consumer. They prefer to weigh up all of their options before purchasing to ensure they are getting the best quality product. They are interested in health, fitness, nutrition, and biohacking.

As you can see, psychographics is vitally important when it comes to understanding your customers.

How to discover psychographic traits

One of the reasons demographic information is so prevalent is likely because it’s relatively easy to obtain via Google analytics, for example. Obtaining psychographic information requires a little extra effort. Here are three methods you can use.

1. Web analytics & A/B testing

Discover what kind of messaging has worked most effectively on your website. Which deals have had the most takeup? If you’re running ads or an email marketing campaign, change your messaging style and see which has the highest click-through rate. Look for patterns to discover which messaging most connects with your target audience.

2. Survey or interview clients

Leverage any existing rapport with your customers and clients to strike up conversations and explore their likes, interests, and motivations. Small talk can reveal a lot about the kinds of people that frequent your business. You can also be more transparent about why you’re asking. Create interviews or surveys with open-ended questions and let your customers talk openly about themselves.

Open-ended questions are notoriously difficult to pull metrics from, especially if you have a lot of data. However, with the Symanto Insights Platform, you can upload interview transcripts or survey data and run a full analysis to discover patterns in your participants’ answers.

3. Use psychographic analytics tools

One of the unique features of the Symanto Insights Platform is its ability to unearth the psychological traits and communication styles of the authors of any text based on the word choice and style of their writing.

You can pull text from review sites, social media, or from the above-mentioned surveys and interview transcripts. The Symanto Insights Platform then takes statistics from written content and converts it into insights into the psychographic profiles of the writers.

Using the Symanto Insights Platform for psychographics

Personality Traits: Are your consumers thinkers or feelers?

The Symanto Insights Platform can tell you whether your customer base is predominantly rational or emotional, giving insight into how they reach decisions.

Rational consumers are logical, analytical, pragmatic, and critical. They base their decision on facts. They weigh up the pros and cons before making purchasing decisions and are likely to compare offerings with those of your competitors.

Emotional consumers base their decisions on what’s important to them. Is it in line with their values, their beliefs? Does it fit with their lifestyle? They often factor in the feelings and well-being of others.

Communication Styles: How do your consumers prefer to speak and be spoken to?

The Symanto Insights Platform also assigns a communication style to each entry. Is the writer fact-oriented or self-revealing? Are they information-seeking or action-seeking? The answer to these questions will help you to create marketing and brand messaging that truly resonates, and improve how your customer services team responds to queries.

Action-seeking vs information-seeking

We have found that the communication style that a person adopts in their writing and speech is often also the communication details that they relate to best.

Action-seeking customers write in a way that aims to trigger someone into by, for example, giving recommendations, giving advice, or making requests. Example:

Get there early to avoid disappointment.

Information-seeking customers engage through questions. They proactively ask for what they want and want to engage in a two-way conversation to resolve their issues. Example:

Why is it always so hard to get a table here?

Fact-oriented vs self-revealing

Here we look at how a person forms their opinion based on how they express it. Do they deal in facts and statistics? Or do they open up and discuss their personal experience?

Fact-oriented customers talk in objective terms, describing their experience of the product or service factually. Example:

The dimensions were a little smaller than expected, but the high resolution more than made up for it.

Self-revealing customers, on the other hand, openly share their personal opinions and experience. Example:

I was surprised it was a little smaller than specified, but that didn’t matter to the family who all agreed the resolution was incredible.

In summary

Psychographics are indicators of the needs and motivations of different types of consumers. Knowing customers’ psychographics will empower you to make better decisions to help you serve them better. Use psychographics to improve your messaging, brand and product development.

Use the Symanto Insights Platform to discover what makes your customers tick. Get in touch or book a free personalised demonstration to see it in action.