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Consumer Classifications must include Psychographics


Dec 4th, 12:39

Classifying consumers from a purely demographic perspective is a mistake. While demographics do place a role, they don’t talk to the psycho-graphics and motivations of consumers. If you don’t take the personality, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles of consumers into account when you design a campaign, it may be off the mark and therefore not connect your brand with its consumers. 

The whole person

Marketers need to look at the consumer as a whole person, not just who they are, how much they earn, where they are located and what they purchase. People in a specific income category do not necessarily all want the same thing, they see the world differently and it is this factor that brands need to delve into more deeply. When you create functional benefits that appeal only to a specific demographic profile, you will only target your advertising at that demographic and if you don’t understand their psycho-graphic profile you will get it all wrong.

Laundry detergent category

Were a brand not to understand the consumer’s psycho-graphic profile, they could create functional benefits around the detergent being excellent for removing stains. In fact many brands do just this. However, when you delve further you will find that many women believe “if my kids look their best, they will perform best and therefore I am a good mom.” The brand may be better off creating emotional and functional benefits which align to this belief and enable them to connect better with their consumers.

Relating to the consumer

Your starting point must always be to understand how to connect with consumers in a way they relate to it, then develop the message that will resonate with the consumer, after that you define the message vehicle to reach them in the most economical way and the demographics to find out where the majority of consumers sit.  In fact who gives the message and how it gets across may be completely different, but the message remains the same.  


Psycho-graphic research is taken from shopper data and consumer research, both quantitative and qualitative, and is essential to uncovering why consumers are buying a product. It is only at this point you can identify the functional and emotional needs of the consumer, and whether they are being met. Ideally you want to identify the consumer’s unmet functional or emotional needs with your brand messaging.
In conclusion, it is essential that marketers re-look the way they are classifying their consumers and start with psycho-graphic profiling if they are to ensure their brand really connects with consumers.


at Aperio FMCG Consulting

Michael Wood is co-founder and Director of Aperio, a business consulting company focused on the FMCG space in South and Sub Saharan Africa. Michael has many years international experience where he held the positions of Marketing Director, Sales Director & Managing Director with the Gillette company and Procter & Gamble....