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Psychographic segmentation sounds more complicated than it is. In short, companies divide customers based on a variety of traits. These traits range between personality to education. By understanding their customer’s strongest traits, companies can more easily market their products.
If you’re still confused, don’t worry. I’ll explain the several types of market segmentation that everyday companies are using through specific psychographic segmentation examples below.
By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of what psychographic segmentation is and how many popular companies use it in their marketing.
Types of psychographic segmentation
Companies segment customers into one or several psychographic traits. Many different traits exist, but how a company chooses to divide its customers depends on the common traits identified by the customers and also, what the company is selling. Branching these together enables companies to choose the right psychographic segmentation variable(s) for their audience.
Here are a couple of common (and not-so-common) psychographic segmentation types with examples for each.
Personality Focused Segmentation
Segmenting audiences by personality means understanding their social status and lifestyle too. Sometimes, both social status and lifestyle are separate segmentation types, but it can be more beneficial to keep them together under “personality”. Since lifestyle and social status can impact your personality, it may also affect your purchasing decisions too.
Example: Say your friend has a strong sense of style. He also has a high-paying job that affords him brand name clothing. Likely, other facets of his lifestyle will support or demonstrate his enjoyment of expensive clothing.
Companies that offer these types of products will focus on the person’s hobbies, income, and lifestyle to get them into stores. And it’s not just luxury clothing companies using segmentation. Take Ford trucks, for example. They target masculine personalities who enjoy trucking, mudding, and other outdoor “male” hobbies. This personality type is their target market.
Any business that uses personality segmentation will need to do in-depth research to truly understand their customer.
Attitude Focused Segmentation
What are your most important values? The ones you never wish to compromise on? Or the ones that make you the person you are today?
This is an important segmentation. Everything around us — from our families to our job environment — shape our values. These values determine how we feel about people, things and situations. It’s such a fundamental part of ourselves, companies spend a good chunk of R&D to understand core values in their customers. It influences what we buy, after all.
Example: Random Guy Joe is a devout Christian. His faith carries over into other areas of his life — whom he hangs out with, the college he chooses, and the person he’ll eventually choose to marry. He’s more likely to listen to faith-following bands than death metal groups. He’s likely to buy from small religious businesses than not. Values like this can prohibit or forbid us from buying certain things.
We feel it’s morally or ethically wrong, so we avoid the product. Or maybe we don’t feel that way so we’re first in line. Either way, values can make or break a marketing campaign, so businesses need to be aware and segment their customers accordingly.
Other Less Common Psychographic Segmentation Types
These psychographic segmentation types aren’t typically standalone; they’re often combined with other types. Still, depending on the brand, it may be beneficial to keep them separate, as you’ll see in the below psychographic segmentation examples.
Some companies will pay special attention to the marital status of their customers — mostly because their brand revolves around it. Example: Baby product companies. They sell clothing, diapers, bottles, and food. And they’re more likely to target married couples because they’re more likely to expect children.
Therefore, companies targeting married couples want a “family-friendly” brand. The products must be safe, the marketing must be “cozy” and promote happy families. We often see this with Gerber (baby food) and Pampers (diapers). Both brands are quickly recognizable because they feature happy babies and loving parents.
Education is another segmentation type. It’s more than just school-related products; it can also speak to customers who are educating themselves about something.
Example: WW (formerly Weight Watchers). Initially, customers would go to meetings to lose weight. They learned about eating healthily, and now the company even offers WW-approved meals. The company targets customers looking to learn more about eating habits and exercise, rather than those simply unhappy with their bodies.
Psychographic segmentation examples
The most common example of using psychographic segmentation by luxury vehicle corporations.
Luxury vehicles are pricey but add in customization options and it’s a whole new level. The more customization you add, the higher the price tag. But the people looking for this aren’t concerned about price. They want a unique car, a guaranteed way to stand out and show-off their lavish lifestyle. This is something the average family can’t afford. That’s why these companies segment their audience based on personality, social status, attitudes, and maybe even values. These companies aren’t interested in married couples or customers looking for education.
Other car markets care less about luxury and more about efficiency. Their customers want a vehicle that’ll run longer for less fuel. They may look into smaller cars or electric cars. These customers drive long hours for business or take frequent family trips by car.
Segmenting audiences helps the vehicle corporations stand out in the highly saturated automobile industry. It gives them an advantage. By focusing on luxury customizations, or efficiency, or electricity, they can find a specific niche of customers and deliver the perfect product. It’s a win-win.
But automotive companies aren’t the only ones who need to find the desires of their customers. All companies do. If they don’t, their marketing efforts won’t be nearly as effective.
Psychographic segmentation: Bottom line
Psychographic segmentation is the smartest way for companies to stand out and identify the critical needs of customers. It may sound complicated, but with the segmentation examples above, you’ll have a better understanding of how and why customers use this type of segmentation every single day. You may even decide to conduct your own research analysis with this information — go for it!
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