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Lists : Shatter the Crystal Ball

4 steps to using psychographics to focus your prospect lists

August 2012 By Lisa Rea
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What if you could tell what a consumer was thinking? What if you knew how consumers' attitudes differed? In both quality and quantity, the psychographic data now available are the best ever and—incorporated into your marketing program—can help you answer those and other questions.

Just a few years ago, consumer surveys were the primary source for psychographic data—insights into consumer attitudes, interests, lifestyle and values. Because surveys are relatively expensive and difficult, the amount of data was limited. So was its variety and depth, because results were restricted to the questions researchers thought to ask.

In recent years, however, the Internet has opened the floodgates for psychographic data. Panels of millions of individuals are tracked as they explore websites, check out blogs, research products and services, make purchases—and discuss them via tweets, posts and sharing. This information is supplemented by detailed SKU-level data from retail systems, including e-commerce and brick-and-mortar.

These billions of data points form a detailed psychographic picture of consumers and their thinking that can supplement demographic data to improve your marketing efforts—because, while demographic data can help identify people who may have a need for your product or service, it can't tell you much more.

For example, if you're selling Medicare coverage, your demographic target is people 65 and older who have moderate or higher incomes. But demographics don't help define why one person buys and another doesn't, or uncover the different motivations of different buyers.

Psychographic data help fill in these missing insights, enabling you to more finely segment your demographic target and hone in on the prospects whose attitudes and experiences make them more likely to become customers.

Here's how to bring psychographic data into your targeting and analytics:

1. Identify Your Best Customers
Searching for prospects who look like your best customers is hardly a new idea, but the abundance of psychographic data now available can make this "best customer profile" more robust and actionable. So, how do you define your "best" customers?

There is no single right formula; the optimal choice depends on your business and your marketing goals. For auto insurers selling annual policies, for example, frequency will not have much meaning. On the other hand, if your goal is retail traffic, frequency becomes an important attribute.

 

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