Understanding what consumers are interested in and where they are looking are critical for knowing what to offer and how. When looking at the prospective buyers, look no further than understanding the psychographics of them.
Psychographics emerged in the 1960s as a focus on personality categorization, related behavior and interests of the mind. The word is a combination of psychology and demographics although the primary emphasis is on grouping people by their interests and related predictability of purchasing behaviorisms. In the mid 1970s, Demby defined it as the practical application of the behavior sciences to marketing research.
Since then, a variety of national market research methods have evolved to profile human psychographics in the United States and other countries. Most are rooted in the “hierarchy of human needs” developed by Abraham Maslow during the first half of the 20th century. He classified human development in terms of four stages related to advances in living standards.
At the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy is “survival” for adults living in the impoverished situation experienced by billions of persons in developing countries throughout the world and a significant minority in the United States. As survival needs are satisfied humans move into social relationships through “belonging” to a group, tribe, community and country. This belonging stage has been the predominant lifestyle for 20th century Americans.
Once people achieve the security of belonging to a community, many develop a desire for individual achievement, which Maslow described as “self-esteem.” This third stage of human development is outer-directed individuality constrained by prevalent acceptable behavior. Organized competitive endeavor is a hallmark of this stage as exemplified by upper-middle class technical, professional, and managerial workers in developed countries.
The small proportion of people capable of managing their own life direction are categorized by Maslow as in the highest stage of development which he termed “self-actualization.” It includes people who have achieved self-esteem and material success.
With accelerating advances in civilization over the past century, large segments of the population have moved up from the survival to belonging stages in developed countries and increasing numbers continue to move from belonging to self-esteem and even to self-actualization.
Homebuyers generally can be classified into one of seven values and lifestyles categories originally defined by SRI International in its VALS typography as an evolution from Maslow theory. Thus, as illustrated, the Maslow hierarchy of needs is changing shape relative to increasing numbers of persons in the higher categories of self-development (from the darker green pyramid representative of 1960 characteristics.
The VALS evolution introduced by SRI provides more insights into the psychographics of the individuals in these stages. Finding what type of consumer you are working with will be important in defining what types of products to offer and where to offer them. Though there are many psychographic segments in the VALS list, we focus on the primary “buyer” type of consumer from the VALS segregations.
- Actualizers – highest income, mostly male, executives, married, educated, mid 40s – exhibit high self esteem, the Actualizers are successful and self-indulgent in nature. They are often “take-charge” established leaders and enjoy the finer things in life. They enjoy new challenges and love to explore. Strong image is their game and they like to purchase family or large retiree full maintenance homes or condominiums that define their status by being part of a high profile community having the best home in one of the area’s best neighborhoods.
- Achievers – high income, dual income, managers & professionals, married, mostly educated, mid 40s – focusing on their career and family, they feel that their image to others is important and often avoid risk in order to maintain their safe environment. They respect authority as they value structure and are very predictable. Often politically conservative, they favor established products. Liking a family or distinctive couples home in a high profile community, they look to buy one of the most impressive homes in one of the area’s best publicized communities.
- Strivers – low to medium income, sales & services, mostly married, some college, mid 30s – these people fit the bill for lacking confidence just by their interest in having approval from their peers. They seek motivation and strive for security and money feeling that having money defines their success. Fortunately for most who are selling something, they are impulsive buyers. The Strivers are first-time and first-time move-up purchasers of modest priced strong image homes in a high image but modest priced community. Only half as many consumers are in this psychographic segment than the Believers and they go after a high profile home in a small lot well apportioned and merchandised community.
- Fulfilleds – moderate income, retired, educated, married, at the peak of their careers, mid 50s – mostly mature, they are satisfied with their lives and seek reflective locations. They have an open mind but strong principles and value order and knowledge. They are content with their families and careers and are self-assured in nature. They often purchase functional family homes or retiree homes in comfortable strong valued communities by purchasing one of the better homes in a good neighborhood which they plan to live in for a long time.
- Believers – lowest income, mostly retired and blue collar jobs, married, low education, all ages – mostly they are conservative and conventional in their traditional beliefs. They focus on family, church, community and nation and have strictly defined goals. They look to purchase functional family homes in comfortable strong valued communities at a lower price level than the Fulfilleds. They are major purchaser of new subdivision homes in popular price ranges as both first time buyers and move-up purchasers.
Surveying your prospects and buyers should define what types of buyers you have. They will follow very specific guidelines based on how they answer some simple questions about them. Find out who your buyer is and where they often search for new products and you’ll be well on your way to succeeding in capturing their confidence.
Are you working on understanding your buyer? Are you doing what it takes to know what they want? Have you listened to them and interacted with them to know who they are?
PTC Computer Solutions works extensively on building relationships, not posting things for the sake of posting. Spend time looking at your networking list to learn how you can deepen the relationships with your followers and give them more of what they want.
If all of this befuddles you, belittles your being, begs your brain to be foddered, belying your intellect…not to worry, PTC Computer Solutions has a team of experts on this stuff and we’re here to help. It’s what we do.
Online marketing is an incredibly dynamic environment with a tremendous number of moving parts. It is a constantly changing world. You do what you do best. Let us do what we do best. Keeping involved and staying ahead of the latest improvements is what we do at PTC Computer Solutions.
If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan and budget. Among everything else we do, PTC can plan a full marketing strategy and budget for your company and complete any marketing efforts, web or otherwise, you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.
By David W. B. Parker
PTC Computer Solutions