Join Doug Ladd for an in-depth discussion in this video Researching psychographic profiles, part of Marketing Foundations: Customer Segmentation.
- Did you ever walk into a new retail environment, store, restaurant, or shopping center, and say to yourself, this place is great; it's as though they designed it just for me? Well, chances are it was designed just for you and those who are similar to you in shopping style, habits, values, and socioeconomic background. My wife has a couple of shops, thankfully not a dozen, where she feels as though the layout, selection, ambiance, experience is perfectly suited for her.
She shops there more often, and when she does, she tends to spend more than at other shops. I'm torn over this. As a marketer, I applaud what they've done, but as a bill payer, part of me wishes they weren't so good at what they do. The first step in creating a purchase experience that delights your customers begins with understanding them really well. It's not an overly complicated process, so let's walk through it. I recommend starting with some observations you have about your customers or target market.
If your product or service is purchased in a retail environment, you can gather some insights by watching who comes into the store, how they move through the space, and noting their shopping styles. Do they move quickly from location to location as if they are hurried? Do they look at prices intently? Do they pull out their smartphones to check prices? Do they ask for assistance? Do they have children with them? Does one group or type of shopper tend to buy more or visit more frequently than others? Do you see differences in age groups within certain hours or specific days? You can begin at a very high level and then make note when you see patterns.
Creating a tracking sheet about these details and others may help. It also helps if you spend some time talking with them while they're in the store. Certainly, if you're in a retail environment, you have plenty of opportunities to ask questions of your patrons to help you gather insights. If your interaction with your customer occurs by phone, you can develop a list of consistent questions to ask in an unobtrusive manner. Web merchants can include a few questions in the check-out process or invite customers to fill out a survey, as well.
The key is to track your findings. Let's imagine you have a sporting goods store, and you compete with the big box retailers. Since the megastores may carry more inventory and be able to out-spend you on advertising, you need to find a point of differentiation that will be meaningful to your customers in your area. By observing your customers, you notice a trend, that 80% of the adults coming into the store are women with young children under the age of 10.
The ones that come with just one child often ask some very basic questions about products and their performance and seek advice, while those with two or more children in toe seem to know what they're looking for. You also notice they pay almost exclusively with credit cards that are linked to some sort of loyalty programs. By making note of these insights, you can start to piece together some more questions that will help you better understand your customers. If you're ready to move beyond these qualitative questions and would like to get some more quantitative data on what your customers think, this can be done by using surveys to research their attitudes, perceptions, and actions.
Through your initial conversation with customers and targets, you may have identified some insights or trends. For example, let's go back to the patrons of your sporting goods store. After talking with many of them and developing some theories as to how they approach shopping within your store, you could develop a survey to learn more about their attitudes towards themselves and what they value. For example, do they prefer to be the first ones to have the latest trends in clothing? Do they feel the same way about the clothing they buy for their children? Do they prefer performance over style? Would they choose a well-known brand at a higher price over a less-known name that functions, as well? The best way to do this is work with a market research company that has some experience in building and fielding survey tools to test psychographic profiles.
A good market research firm should already have a bank of questions you can ask your customers and targets to help you get a sense of their psychographic profiles. For example, you can make assumptions on the adoption characteristics of a group by understanding how they look at other new products or how they feel about their social lives. This works not just for consumers, but businesses, to business customers, as well. Even in the business world, buyers tend to follow psychographic profiles that follow along an adoption curve.
This was developed by Rodgers more than 40 years ago. The innovators in a market are the first to move. They like to try new things and often want to be the very first to be seen using new products and services. Early adopters are somewhat different, in that they tend to be better connected on a social level than innovators. The other people that follow on the adoption curve tend to seek out the opinions of the early adopters. The early majority represents 34% of the market for a given product, and they tend to move after the early adopters are showing it's safe to do so.
The late majority comes along slowly afterward, and they tend to be skeptical about the value of innovations. Finally, the laggards make up the last 16%. They're not only skeptical of change, but downright resistant. To put this in perspective, according to Pew Research Group, as of October 2014, 62% of the U.S. adult population owned a smartphone. As of January 2014, 90% of adults owned a cellphone of some type while 42% owned a computer tablet.
Do you wonder what type of psychographic profile might apply to you? You can go to strategicbusinessinsights.com and look up their trademark VALS section. I encourage you to take their survey and see which of their eight profiles you fall into.
- Segmenting by location
- Segmenting by demographics
- Segmenting by usage or other behavior
- Why segmenting is important
- Creating and using customer personas