By Tamara Irminger Underwood
When it comes to designing market research studies, researchers will often start with the demographics of who should participate in the study. Demographics help sort a general population into different categories, such as: age, gender, income, race/ethnicity, marital status, and location. Understanding the demographic of a target audience is crucial, but it doesn’t round out the full picture. To really connect with your target audience and learn about what drives consumers to select one brand/product over another, you need to understand the psychographic profile (sometimes referred to as customer journey mapping) of your audience.
Before we get into the importance of including psychographic information into a market research study, we’ll first explain how demographics and psychographics differ.
How Demographics are Defined
Let’s say your market study wants to do some advertising copy testing. If you crafted your advertising copy using only demographic information, your efforts would likely fall flat. Demographic information helps you understand who your target customer is, but it doesn’t tell you why they’re your customers.
Demographic information is the first step to understanding your audience, and it’s often the only information researchers have when recruiting people to participate in market research studies.
Demographic information includes:
- Marital Status
- Religious affiliation (if any)
- Education level
How Psychographics are Defined
Qualitative market research studies are the perfect opportunity to learn about the psychographics of a target audience. In other words, why are people choosing one product or service over another. Focus groups, in-depth interviews, and other qualitative research methodologies are great ways for researchers to unearth the habits, interests, opinions, attitudes, and values that inform purchasing decisions.
Consumer behavior is not static and in today’s mercurial environment, companies and organizations need to stay engaged with their customers to remain relevant. Messages and marketing campaigns that worked in the past, may no longer hold sway.