Target Markets and Psychographics
Previously we looked at how demographics are used to determine the target market of the business. Now we will look at psychographics, which are the more personal characteristics of the consumers.
Psychographics look at the consumers’ lifestyles, values, and attitudes to determine why consumers purchased the products they do. Emanuel Demby coined the term psychographics back in 1974. Over the years, he has revised and updated the definition and the most recent one appears in Barry and Weinstein‘s article. It is as follows:
- …the use of psychological, sociological, and anthropological factors, self-concept, andlifestyle to determine how the market is segmented by the propensity of groups within the market – and their reasons – to make a particular decision about a product, person, or ideology (as cited in Barry & Weinstein, 2009, p. 317).
- Barry and Weinstein argue that psychographics are just as important if not more important than simply using demographics to identify a target market.
Psychographics help explain the reasons why consumers chose the specific product.
- For example, think about laptop computers; users of laptop computers have a broad demographic base. These days, people of all age ranges use laptop computers from children up to mature consumers and everyone in between.
- So how would one of the major computer manufacturers determine the target market for its laptop computers?
They would have to look at the reasons why the consumers want or need the laptop.
- Is it for children to do homework, for tweens or teenagers to play games, for a young adult to use for work, or a retired mature adult to use to stay in touch with grandchildren?
- A company should consider not only the age range of its users, but also the reason for its use.
While demographics are rather easy to obtain through public sites such as the Census Bureau or even through observation in a brick and mortar store, psychographics are more difficult to gather and to segment.
- It’s fairly easy to identify the age and gender of specific consumers, but how do companies determine their customer’s psychographics?
- Fortunately, organizations do not have to create their own psychographic profiles. Two well-known services that provide psychographic data are Yankelovich’s MindBase and SRI Consulting Business Intelligence’s VALS system.
Yankelovich’s MindBase identifies eight attitudinal groups that each have three sub-segments.
The attitudinal groups are labeled I am Expressive, I am Driven, I am At Capacity, I am Rock Steady, I am Down to Earth, I am Sophisticated, I Measure Twice, and I am Devoted. (See http://www.dsa.org/pubs/research/yankelovichproducts.pdf for full descriptions). Marketing communications can use these segments as profiles for determining the target market and creating the marketing communications plan.
The other well-known service that provides psychographic segmentation is SRI Consulting Business Intelligence’s (SRIC-BI’s) VALS tm system.
- The U.S. VALS tm system segments adults into eight mindsets using actually both demographic and psychographic traits.
- The U.S. VALS ™ system uses identifiers such as Innovators, Thinkers, Believers, Achievers,Strivers, Experiencers, Makers, and Survivors. (for full descriptions see http://www.strategicbusinessinsights.com/vals/ustypes.shtml).
Companies use this psychographic data to use the proper medium to reach their targets.
- Using the computer company as an example, suppose one of its laptops is a high-end model with all sorts of added extras.
- Using Yankelovich’s MindBase, the company may determine that its target market falls under this segment of I am Sophisticated.
- The description of a person in I am Sophisticated is I am intelligent, upstanding and I have an affinity for the finer things in life. I also have high expectations for both myself and for the companies I give my business. I am dedicated to doing a stellar job at work but I balance my career dedication with a passion for enriching experiences (Yankelovich MindBase, 2005, p. 11).
From this description, the company can determine its marketing and marketing communications plan. The marketers might choose to advertise in a high-end wine magazine or on the website of a luxury vehicle.
Understanding of demographics and psychographics is an important part of determining the target market. The target market is the basis for the marketing communications plan and needs to be determined to move forward.
Target Markets and Demographics
As you learned in Introduction to Marketing, a product cannot be all things to all people.
There are certain people that like fishing and others that prefer to spend time at the beach.
- Do these people use the same products? Generally, no.
- A family that spends time at the beach will buy swimsuits, sunscreen, water toys, flippers, and masks. The family that takes fishing vacations might shop for waders, poles, long underwear, tackle and bait.
- Will the beach family open a catalog for tackle and bait or shop at a place like Bass Pro?
- A hunting or fishing business would be wasting money sending a catalog to the beach family as it will probably end up in the trash.
Same goes for advertising–the fishing family will probably skip over the advertisement for a beach umbrella. For most companies, advertising dollars are scarce, so it is important to get the message out to the right people.
Businesses need to target their audiences so that the right consumers receive the right message.
As Mandy Porta explained in her article,
- Targeting a specific market does not mean that you have to exclude people that do not fit your criteria from buying from you. Rather, target marketing allows you to focus your marketing dollars and brand message on a specific market that is more likely to buy from you than other markets (2012, para. G).
According to Porta and other marketing professionals, you can determine your target market by analyzing your customers, examining the competitors, and reviewing the features of your product or service.
- Review the article “How to Define Your Target Market” for questions to ask when determining a target market.
Companies determine their target market by using several different forms of characteristics including behaviorgraphic, psychographic, geodemographic, and demographic. For this lecture, we will focus ondemographic targeting.
The most common ways to group demographics are by age, gender, education, family status, income, ethnicity, or race. According to Clow and Baack (2005), the reason for using demographics for market segments is the belief that people with similar characteristics have similar needs. For example, one of the main demographic features that marketers use to determine the communication about a product or service is age.
Some of the common groupings include children (Preschool, Elementary. Tweens (usually between 8 and 12), and teenagers), Young Adults (Generation X or Gen X usually born between 1965 and 1981 and Generation Y and Millenials born between 1982 and 1996), Middle-aged (35-54), and Mature (over 55). Some additional divisions include The Greatest Generation (born 1901-1924), The Silent Generation (born 1924-1945), and Baby Boomers (born 1945-1965).
Determining the target market is important to your business to ensure that your marketing and advertising dollars are spent correctly. Using demographics is one way to define your target market.
Psychographics look at more personal characteristics of people. Those will be discussed in the second lecture.
- In 200-300 words, provide a demographic analysis of the target market.
- In 200-300 words, provide a psychographic analysis of the target market.
- Using feedback, update and make changes to the previous section of the plan.
- Please adhere to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed., 2nd printing) when writing and submitting assignments and papers.