Demographics, Psychographics, and Technographics

The job of a Marketer is to connect products with customers.

While it’s often native for marketers to know their products, they often fail at truly understanding their customers. Today, customers are much more than just recipients of messages, they create their own messages, share with their peers, and in some cases, are working very hard to keep marketers out of the picture.

In business school, I learned about understanding your customer, we learned about the concepts of Demographics (people’s lifestyles, habits, population movements, spending, age, social grade, employment). The goal was to create a model to understand who these people were, where they live, and what they do.

We also learned that beyond understanding the who, we needed to understand the why, therefore understanding the psyhcographics (lifestyles and behaviors, what interests them, what they hold valuable and how they behave) became of importance.

I first learned of Technographics from Steve Rubel’s blog, he was reviewing a report from colleague Charlene Li, who describes it as “Social Technographics is consumer data that looks at how consumers approach social technologies – not just the adoption of individual technologies”. It’s important that before a company use a social media tool, they understand which tools their customers are using. Update: Julie Katz of Forrester has left a comment showing how the scope of Technographics is used beyond Social Media, and also see a brief history on Wikipedia

Sure, some of the really savvy marketers out there already know your audience, you’re involved in conversations with them all the time, or at one point you were a customer, but for many, that’s not enough.

How about me? How well do I know my community on this blog? Judging by the analytics, I know I have a lot of readers in North American and then in UK. I can tell who some of the readers are by the comments that they leave, but that’s only a small amount. When I announced that I’ll add anyone who ads me back in Facebook, I ended up really getting to know my community, it really brought a depth that I didn’t have before.

Some of you are saying, “that’s a lot of marketing mumbo jumbo”, but if you can’t define who your customers are, then how can you possible connect your products to people who you don’t know.