Consumer psychographics has so far remained an interesting and integral part of Sales and Marketing management. How can we explain this term in most simplistic terms? Books of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) are most lucid in their explanation about it. It is the “pick me up” appeal in the product. Products vie among themselves with their designed or created appeals. It is just a misunderstanding that by publicity, promotions and ads, products reach millions of homes of the consumers. Moreover products carry cogent appeals to motivate buyers unto buying.
“The motive is to drive the impulse to the heart of the buyer to buy, without leaving it just in his ears because heart is near to pocket, not the ears”- Remarked an experienced marketing manager in Indian industries. The books of IGNOU say that like the humans products are young today, old tomorrow and dead day-after-tomorrow. So the focus has to be on designing a product having a strong “pick me up” appeal. Like a human this appeal just remains for a limited period. As new innovations are born, products grow in age; the appeal gets lost and fades gradually. Creating a strong appeal to buy the product requires market knowledge- an in-depth analysis of situations in the market.
What do you understand from the term “psychographics”? By psychographics we come to terms with the psychological profiles of the buyers. The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as means to study and measure attitudes, values, life-styles and opinions of consumers for marketing purposes. In plural it implies the data obtained from such studies.
By Psychographics, we mean a quantitative investigation about buyer’s personal characteristics and life-styles. It describes the “Psychological make-up” of the buyers by knowing their following characteristics;
- Interests and activities
- Media patterns
- Usage pattern
Attitudes- How attitudes form parts of consumer psychographics? Research has always shown that people learn from belief and attitudes. Beliefs are descritive thoughts about something. Those may be based on knowledge, opinion and faith. For instance you have faith in Astrology and therefore you believe in planets and their good and bad power. Gradually those beliefs harden into attitudes and influence your behavior.
Now you take the same instance of your belief in Astrology. You have learnt from your belief that eating non-vegetarian food on Saturday could produce evil effects. The same belief has educated you that visiting a temple on Saturday produces good results. You visit a temple with fruits and sweets as offering to God. Gradually those form your attitudes and bring attitudinal changes within you. You will always tend to buy vegetarian food on Saturday and avoid purchasing any kind of non-vegetarian stuff.
This is how you learn things, form beliefs and attitudes, which influence your purchase behavior tremendously.
Values- What role value plays in your purchase behavior? It is sure that you have lived within a culture, which has got different values. Culture is defined as the sum total of learned beliefs, values and customs, which serve to regulate the consumer behavior of members of a particular society. The important thing is values are deeply embedded in your psyche and living. Your purchase behavior is invariably influenced by your faith in those values.
Again culture consists of material and non-material components. While material components are the physical or tangible substances which people have been changed and used over a period of time. It describes your behavior in various aspects of consumption in purchasing every article necessary for your living. It can be your choice in automobiles, perfumes, dress and anything.
Non-material components include are the words you use, the ideas, customs and value you share and the habits you follow. For all these you have nurtured fixed and variable images in your mind. You may stick to your fixed ideas about purchase of shirts of a particular brand and for pants, you may not have fixed ideas and therefore you keep on searching different styles and brands in the market. If you have faith in the values of buying indigenously manufactured goods, you will of course go for buying every article with a “made in your country” print on it. Non -material components in culture mean beliefs and values that refer to accumulated feelings and priorities which you have assigned to things.
Interest and activities -While you buy anything, unknowingly your behavior goes through five stages.
At first you become aware of a specific product and related services. But in the first part of your purchase behavior your interest is not sufficiently aroused. You are simply aware of the product. But fresh stimuli keep on coming to motivate your interest. Those keep on coming in the shape of advertisement or sales calls by the particular company. You just can not help your interest levels because with stimuli from outside, your interest simply keeps on growing. As your interest is sufficiently aroused, you would not go straight for a purchase rather you delve into further information about the product. Then based on the information you receive, you begin evaluating about the prevailing brands, their features, prices, service, and warranty of the specific product. In the next stage you may not go for straight-forward buy of the product.
You may accept it with a condition for your use of three to six months. Many products drop out of usage in the last part of purchase behavior because those fail to satisfy your ultimate satisfaction level. You might discard it because in comparison to the earlier product, the present one may cut a sorry figure. Then at length based on your satisfaction from the use, it becomes a part and parcel of your daily life. The last stage is called adoption.
The companies seek relevant information to influence your purchase decision all through the five stages. The information is collected through surveys and research.
Demographics- Demographics is again a study by dividing the population as per sex, age, income and other related characteristics. The data about the above mentioned five factors may not be same for the entire population. There we need to utilize information for every group of individuals. Knowing their tastes and usage patterns is vital because it helps the manufactures design products as per the information.
Media Patterns- For knowing about the new products, consumers have always trusted media as a trustworthy source of information. Manufacturers and marketers always innovate or design a product as per the choices of a particular class of consumers. They judge your age, social status, group and other related characteristics and manufacture a product. Again they prepare a message to market it and send it through the right media to reach your group, which is their intended audience. Media means the right medium. It is simply because mentally you are attached to that particular medium in the media. It might be your favorite magazine, newspaper, TV channels, which are parts of media.
Usage patterns- Usage patterns are descriptive about behavior of consumers. Suppose you like to have cornflakes every morning on week days. This gives important information about consumption habits of individuals belonging to your age group. Suppose you belong to the group of females who hate to use face cream containing chemicals. Here the marketers may try to change your usage patterns by introducing certain “peel off” skin cream without any content of chemicals. From the usage pattern of any product, the manufacturers and marketers get thorough ideas about “brand loyalty” of consumers. Brand loyalty gives complete information about psychology of consumers.