Are You a Homer or a Lisa? Psychographics Demystified via The Simpsons

December 18th, 2015 by Leo Rubini

In marketing, half the battle is understanding your typical clientele. Understanding your customers is crucial in marketing directly to your niche targeted audience. That being said, understanding the ins and outs of your customers can often be daunting and tricky…But wait—hope is not lost! Look in the sky! It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s PSYCHOGRAPHICS!

What are psychographics?

Psychographics are “the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles. This area of research focuses on interests, attitudes, and opinions.” Huh? That definition is so ambiguous! It doesn’t help at all! Allow me to clarify with an example:

Let’s pretend that you’re a Chevrolet dealership in New Jersey. In getting to know your clients, you may try to determine who your typical customer is by asking, “Who do we usually sell Chevys to? What do our typical customers look and act like?” Your first thought may be, “We usually sell our Chevys to mothers between the ages of 30-45.” The answer you just gave is the demographic of your typical customer, not the psychographic. If you had gone a little deeper by saying, “We usually sell our Chevys to mothers between the ages of 30-45 who often seem stressed trying to juggle bringing their kids to various after-school activities, running errands, and finding time for themselves; in fact, they often chose to buy Chevys through us because of the brand’s incredible safety ratings. They always have their children’s safety in mind,” that would be the psychographic of your average customer.

Demographic: Mothers age 30-45

Psychographic: Who the mothers age 30-45 actually are…their buying habits, what attracts them to purchasing a Chevy, what turns them away from purchasing other brands, etc.

Why are psychographics important?

Understanding the ins and outs of your clients can help you tailor your marketing efforts to directly reach your average customer. Think about it: designing a customized marketing campaign for a mom between the ages of 30-45 is much harder than designing a marketing campaign for a mom between the ages of 30-45 who values vehicle safety ratings and needs a large vehicle to schlep her kids around but still wants a vehicle with luxury components for her own comfort. While demographics may give you a generic snapshot into your average customer, psychographics allow you to really hone in and understand your customers as well as their buying habits.

How do I determine the psychographics of my clients?

Ask investigative questions! When I work with my clients to help them delve into the psychographics of their customers, I find that asking questions that dig a bit deeper can range from, “Can you expand on what you mean when you say that your average customers are males aged 45-60 who like to fish?” to “You mentioned that your clients are males aged 45-60 who like to fish. Do your clients usually find themselves fishing only on the weekends? How much time and money would you say your clients usually spend weekly on fishing? Are they fishing in their free time on the weekends, or is fishing part of their daily routine?” By avoiding easy, quick responses through more investigative questions, you will be able to better understand your customers and in turn develop a more customized and effective marketing campaign.

Need some more context?

Below, I have included a chart of the main characters from The Simpsons. In the chart, you will find a breakdown of each character’s psychographic information, their buying habits, and how to best target each character online. When reading through the chart, ask yourself, “What things would I need to know in order to get more specific information from my customers? In knowing this information, how could I better customize a marketing campaign targeting an average customer like Homer Simpson, as opposed to strategizing my marketing efforts in hopes of targeting customers similar to Lisa Simpson?”

Disclaimer: for all you diehard Simpsons fans out there, I left out Maggie Simpson on purpose…because she is an infant…and she doesn’t have buying habits…


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Image Credits:

Superman GIF

Simpsons GIF