The #1 thing you're doing wrong with your business? You don't know your clients or your potential clients psychographics. Which basically means you don't know anything about them. You may know that they're generally between the ages of 45-55, male, and live in Kansas. You know their demographics, but you barely know their geographics or psychographics.
Demographics: Studies of a population based on factors such as age, race, sex, economic status, level of education, income level and employment, among others.
Geographics: Studies where your clients are buying or where they live. From the data you collect, you can then divide markets based on city, county, state's, region's, country's or any other way that makes sense.
Psychographics: Studies the personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles of your clients.
Surprisingly, little has been written about psychographics. A quick search on Amazon reveals that books about the topic are sparse and have mainly been sequestered into textbooks. Psychographics is really just about the natural curiosity we have towards people, specifically in terms of the people who we serve or could potentially serve.
Let's set up an example case:
Bob owns two different branches of his family-owned Home Electronics Store, HES. One is in Portland, Oregon, and the other one is in Bend, Oregon.
The HES office in Portland, OR is located in the 97266 zip code. It survived the Great Recession, and has steadily made 1.2M gross profit the last few years. He made $3M gross profit in 2001 though, and he wants to get back there and exceed it. He employs five people, including himself.
After crunching some numbers, Bob could tell you that 63% of his clients have come from the Lake Oswego neighborhood, zip code 97034. Bob could immediately tell you that Lake Oswego clients are 50-80 years of age, 90% white, are highly educated, and usually married. Bob couldn't tell you anything else in depth.
The HES office in Bend, OR is located in the 97756 zip code. It takes a little over three hours to get there from Portland, and he checks in about once a month. His son, Tommy, has run it with his wife, Tammy, for over 3 years. HES-Bend employs 3 people, including Tommy and Tammy. It made $200K gross profit in 2014. Tommy needs more customers who will spend larger amounts of money, but he doesn't know where to find them.
How do Bob and Tommy use geographics and psychographics to better strategically run their businesses, build more meaningful relationships with their current and potential clients, and ultimately increase their profits?
Bob must first realize that the most important thing about his business is his clients. And then sales. Not the other way around. They are worth studying. Most small business owners think of marketing as an after thought after the 17 other things they do in a given day. Studying your clients will save you a lot of time in the future though, and will help you properly market and sell to the right people. So Bob clears an entire Saturday to do this.
He's realized that where exactly his clients live is very important, and that he can figure out clues about his clients directly from zip codes with free tools like Esri ZIP Lookup. He looks up the zip code "97034". Median age is 49.4, median income is $103K, and "Top Tapestry Segments" include fancy phrases like "Exurbanites", "Top Tier", and "Urban Chic". Huh?
By reading their definitions he finds out that people in this zip code tend to be:
- "Empty nesters...approaching retirement...tech savvy"
These clients will be interested in the newest gadgets, and might have some coins to throw for grandkids gifts. They’re of the generation that will want to touch and feel something before they buy it. They might have extra time to go shopping in person since many are retired. Don’t be afraid to invest in some fun stock that people can immediately buy when they walk in the door.
- "We support the arts and local radio/TV"
They listen to public radio and TV. Should Bob start paying for ad's on the top stations? How can Bob network with the local arts? Can he host local art conferences or meetings in his showroom?
- "We go online for everything. Quality instead of price governs our shopping choices."
They go online for everything. When they google "portland home entertainment systems" where can HES be found? Are they the first result? Are they on the third page? Bob needs to start researching SEO (search engine optimization) next.
By knowing this information, he can also gleam that coupon's won't help him out. They're not concerned with price. They want the best quality they can find. Selling tactics should almost never include giving discounts.
- "We travel frequently...visiting our second homes in the US or overseas."
Many of these people might have possible other projects they need done (without even knowing it). It's Bob's job (or his salesman's job) to upsell them into getting systems for their vacation homes or businesses.
- "We...shop...at high-end retailers for anything we desire."
What local high-end retailers can Bob cross-promote with? What local interior designers can he connect with? By giving other business's a percentage cut of any system they sell, everyone wins.
Bob's Conclusion for HES-Portland
Bob looks up where his office is located, "97266". He's never gotten a lot of sales in his vicinity, or in the surrounding vicinity's. His showroom is located in an area that makes 2.5 times less than that of the Lake Oswego area, with a median income of 39K. That alone is enough reason to not focus marketing to that neighborhood. Without even knowing it, Bob has started to gain a lot of knowledge that will help him when he makes a buyer persona or ideal customer.
Bob decides to double his efforts in Lake Oswego and focus on researching zip codes with incomes of at least a median income of $100K. He immediately finds 97229, 97068, 98606. If he has a particularly special theater, he could even eventually market it nationally, especially if the theater/system would sell for $500K+.
Check back next week for Tommy's differing psychographic/geographic analysis and for advice on if Bob should hire a marketer/publicist or if he should do it himself.