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In the age of Big Data, the more you know about consumers the more influence you have over their buying behavior. Gathering better information means shifting your focus from demographics to psychographics. Here’s the difference, and why it matters.

It’s quite similar to online dating, really. You get a few hits that fall into the parameters you’ve set for age, appearance, and some basic core values you need a partner to share. This generic framework, like demographics, establishes a baseline to narrow the field – but you can’t fall in love until you know much more.

Love means taking the time

And of course brands want consumers to love them. The key to making this happen is through psychographics – the data that tells you about segmented consumer groups’ feelings and preferences. That’s where the real insights exist.

Psychographics can not only tell you why people buy your product – they open the door to consumers you didn’t realize were part of your target audience. How? By focusing on the emotions tied to what consumers are sharing on social – and common interests shared across demographic groups.

But what exactly does that look like?

Consumer profiles through the psychographic lens

Psychographics are not always easy to identify and categorize into neat little buckets. They deal in feelings, attitudes and commonalities across multiple demographics.

But that’s what makes psychographic data so useful in terms of analyzing seemingly homogenous groups such as Millennials or Baby Boomers.  Demographics like age, gender, and geography – while important – leave out anyone who doesn’t “fit the mold.” Psychographics free you to create and target as many segments as you want.

Are all Millennials alike? Of course not, so it would be foolish to base marketing strategies on age demographics alone. To go further and deeper you need advanced social media monitoring tools that can tell you what Millennials want, crave, eat, need, love, hate, drink, watch, etc.  FYI – they love talking about food.

But here’s the best part – you don’t have to limit yourself to Millennials. Because of course they aren’t the only social users who love food.

Old souls and young as you feel

Social media listening tools like A3D enable brands to create segments from the inevitable crossover that happens within broad demographics.

Like the Star Wars audience, for a current example. The film’s audience appeals to movie fans ages 8 to 88 – it’s almost its own demographic. Finding segments in the social data – like:

  • teen girls who love Star Wars and e.l.f. make-up
  • 20-something men who love Star Wars, buffalo wings, and beer
  • 50-something couples who love watching Star Wars with their grandchildren

– is what gives you an “in” to make your interactions with these consumers personal.

Segments show there are enough “exceptions” to make new rules – because exposure happens through human relationships in real life. Parents play their Beatles albums for their kids, nieces and nephews show their aunts and uncles how to snap selfies, etc.

These relationships bust demographics wide open, and give you better insights to act upon.

It’s much smarter to start a conversation with a mixed group who actually care about something, than to generically message a large audience hoping to luck into a few influencers. Even if you find some, you’ll have spent a lot more time for a smaller return.

On the other hand, recognizing the exceptions for what they are – exceptional – will make them feel like you’re really listening. And that could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Ready to put psychographics to the test? Reach out now for a demo of Audience 3D™!

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