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Understanding Demographics and Psychographics

Dear diary,

Sometimes I feel like no one understands me. Why can’t people see that I’m just a 25-year-old male who makes $45,000 a year as a service technician?

Wait, what?

Okay so you probably wouldn’t write census data in your diary (maybe you would, no judgment here). Seriously, if those were all the facts a marketer needed to appeal to a prospect, marketing would be easy.

You don’t need to be Don Draper to know that marketers craft their language to sound a bit more… emotional. Good marketers try to understand everything about their target audience. After all, if demographic information were all you had to understand your prospects, you might as well be shooting darts in the dark.

The truth is, if you’re creating content entirely based off demographics, you’re missing out on how to communicate with your buyers: using psychographics.

What is demographic segmentation?

First things first, let’s break down our terms. Creating a target profile using the “cold hard facts” means using demographic segmentation, like:

  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Location

What is psychographic segmentation?

Creating a target profile using emotional insights means using psychographic segmentation, things like:

  • Attitudes
  • Interests/hobbies
  • Values
  • Spending habits
  • Opinions
  • Lifestyle

What should I use to communicate with my target buyer?

Demographic information can be a strong starting point to understand the basic profile of your buyers. But, as you could guess, psychographics offer a richer and deeper look into your buyers as individuals. While you need both to build your buyer persona, your language should emphasize psychographic insight. Here’s why:

  1. It helps you write your B2C and B2B communication on an emotional level that makes your potential buyers feel like you understand them.
  2. It can help improve your conversion rates by finding out where you are losing people along the way of their buyer’s journey.
  3. It means tailoring your communication to get to the “why” of your buyer’s purchasing behavior.

How do you get the psychographic information your looking for?

Let’s say you own a hand soap company and you make the majority of your sales online. Now, you can’t assume the 28-year-old male from Dallas and the 65-year-old female from Chicago both purchased your hand soap because it smells nice; what type of conclusions can you draw from that? Research is key. Some places you might want to start include:

  • Focus groups/interviews
  • Surveys/questionnaires
  • Website analytics
  • Social media (likes, shares, clicks etc.)

With psychographics, you’re looking for the story. Why did the Dallas man and the Chicago woman buy your soap? What were their goals and motivations? What are their lifestyles like? What problems are they looking to solve? What types of social networks do they use? Where did they find you? What are their spending habits? Ask the questions to find out why they buy and add to your personas with key psychographic answers in mind.


There you have it. A very basic understanding of demographics and psychographics in marketing. We get it, getting psychographic information takes time, energy, and research that can’t be easily categorized into a spreadsheet. But if you really want to get to the heart of your target buyer, you’ll find that paying attention to psychographics pays off in the long run.


Looking for additional help crafting your company’s language using psychographics? Need help understanding who your buyer personas are? Send us an email or give us a call, we’d be happy to help. [email protected]