Both demographics and psychographics play a vital role in marketing to B2B buyers. In the past, demographics was the primary tool for defining characteristics of your target audience. This traditional method of audience targeting segments people based on characteristics such as geography, age, gender, marital status. It looks to establish a logical connection between these characteristics and purchase behavior.

However, marketing messages that seek to drive consumer behavior must appeal to more than just the logical, analytical aspect of human thinking. They must also resonate with the more fundamental cognitive system, one that is driven by emotion, not rational thought.

 

What is psychographics

 

Psychographics is a qualitative approach to analyzing consumer behavior. It goes beyond classifying individuals based on general demographic data such as age or gender. Rather, it looks to understand the cognitive factors that drive buyer behaviors. Psychographics focuses on psychological characteristics and traits such as:

  • Interests: The things someone invests their time and focus on such as hobbies or media consumption habits.
  • Opinions: How someone feels about different topics such as political issues.
  • Goals: What someone hopes to achieve and the underlying motivation behind their actions.
  • Values: The traits that determine a person’s sense of right and wrong.
  • Lifestyle choices: The collection of someone’s day-to-day activities. This includes, where they live, where they spend their time, who they associate with.

Collecting and analyzing this data allows marketers to create detailed profiles within audience segments which can be used to craft highly relevant messages for those segments.

This provides considerable value to marketers because while buyers in a segment may be demographically similar, this does not mean that their behavior will be the same. For example, just because two people are the same age and earn similar incomes does not mean they share personal values or interests that play a critical role in decision making.

 

Why B2B messaging needs more than demographics

 

The B2B buying process is more personal and emotion-driven than commonly acknowledged. Communicating the value of your offering is certainly critical to your messaging but it is not enough to differentiate your business.

In the past, B2B marketers highlighted the value-driven and rational needs of decision-makers within businesses. These decision-makers are focused on how purchases can benefit their company and the results that their choices will yield.

Consider that the inherent nature of this process involves weighing the risk and reward of every decision. Where positive or negative results will influence their credibility and impact their career. A recent study from CEB and Google reveals that “personal value has twice the impact of business value across a broad range of commercial outcomes.” B2B buyers are almost 50% more likely to buy a product if it provides personal value such as career advancement or pride in their purchase decision.

The study also found that B2B buyers are eight times more likely to pay a premium for comparable products and services when there is personal value to the purchase, and 50% of buyers claim to have an emotional connection with the B2B company they are buying from.

Because these decisions are based heavily on emotions, B2B buyers can benefit from using psychographics to build valuable connections with their customers. By combining demographics and psychographics, B2B marketers can reach the right customer, with the right message, at the right moment.

 

How marketing technology can improve psychographics

 

Marketers today have a vast amount of data at their disposal. Businesses are flooded with data from so many different channels that it is impractical for companies to have a dedicated team of analysts to interpret all this information. Instead, they often use marketing automation software to gain actionable insights from the data they collect.

Until now, marketing automation platforms have been used to perform repetitive tasks such as scheduling social media posts, sending email newsletters, and automated follow-ups. However, with all the data available today, these technologies will begin to provide a valuable tool for understanding buyers on a deeper level.

Marketing automation software will use the enormous amount of available data to create detailed psychographic profiles. Marketers will then be able to use the profiles to refine their audience segments and create messaging that is more relevant to those they are looking to reach. This will result in highly personalized marketing campaigns that are more effective at acquiring new customers.

Businesses that combine the use of psychographics with marketing automation platforms will understand their customers more thoroughly and benefit from data-driven insights. If you want to learn how to gather psychographic data and integrate it into your marketing strategy, be sure to read our “Psychographics for B2B Marketing” whitepaper.

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