wardell books

Pyschographic Segmentation

Psychographic Segmentation

Benefits play an important role in satisfying the desires of your Target Market, but they're not the only influence on consumption behaviour. Consider two men purchasing a high priced automobile. Bob and Tom are engineers with identical incomes. Living in the same neighbourhood in New York, they both want luxurious transportation, yet Bob buys a Mercedes while Tom buys a Cadillac. Why?

Because other factors have influenced their decisions. Bob may be influenced by his wife’s desires while Tom may be influenced by his boss' opinions. Plus, perhaps Bob's impressed by the solid reputation of German engineering, while Tom prefers to support North American products.

Psychographic segmentation is an attempt to identify and isolate the various influences that lead to a particular buying decision.

A psychographic profile of your customers will help you better understand why they buy your products or services. Your goal is to make them as comfortable as possible with the idea of doing business with you. You can't force people to buy, but you can eliminate many of the unconscious objections people have when things “just don't feel right.”

Purchasing Influences

First, you'll need to identify the “external influences” that affect your customers buying behaviour. These are the social, informational and situational forces (see below) that bombard all of us on a daily basis. Next, since people behave differently under similar circumstances, we'll examine the “internal influences” or personality traits that affect your customers' buying decisions.

When making a buying decision, your customers go through the following four phases.

Phase 1 — They are impacted by a barrage of external and internal unconscious influences.

Phase 2 — They make their initial buying decisions based on their emotional reactions to these influences.

Phase 3 — They consciously search for logical reasons to reinforce (or negate) their initial buying decisions.

Phase 4 — They make their final buying decisions.

If your customers are other businesses, you need to consider the individual who makes the buying decisions as well as the business itself.


"“Don't forget that your product or service is not differentiated until the customer understands the difference.”

- Tom Peters

buying decision process

While the “final buying decision” is made at the end of this process, it's important to understand this is more of a “stamp of approval” type of decision. The real decision is made much earlier on in the unconscious, emotional phase. Think about it. How likely are you to buy something you fall in love with that costs a little too much and that you don’t really need? You’ll look for reasons to buy it won’t you?

How much time do most people spend researching their decision to buy a house, for example? It’s a huge decision, often the most important financial decision people make, and yet if they fall in love with a house it would have to be infested with termites for them not to put in an offer to buy. In fact, they may still put in an offer, certain that they can solve the problem once they own it.

The lesson here is that once people have made an emotional decision to buy, your job is no longer to sell them your products but to provide them with the information they need to support their decision.