The Psychographic Segmentation In A Nutshell

Psychographic segmentation is a form of market segmentation, that looks at consumers into sub-groups that share specific psychological characterises, that comprise activities, interests, and opinions of customers. The rise of data-driven marketing enabled psychographic segmentation to become a key element of digital marketing activities to personalize those campaigns and reach a micro-audience.

The birth of psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis comprises various psychological theories and therapeutic techniques based on the work of Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud.

Understanding psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis is based on the research of Sigmund Freud who believed that all people have desires, feelings, thoughts, and memories that are unconscious. As a result, the primary intention of psychoanalysis as a therapeutic tool is to allow an individual to release repressed experiences and emotions. In other words, to make the unconscious conscious.

While many believe Freud was the first to propose the idea of an unconscious mind, 17th century philosophers René Descartes and John Locke also speculated that there was some factor beyond awareness that influenced individual behavior.

The four basic tenets of psychoanalysis

The therapeutic element of psychoanalysis rests on the assumption that people can derive important insights into their current state of mind by bringing unconscious drivers into conscious awareness.

While this process can be uncomfortable at first, an individual who is motivated to do so can experience an emotional release and alleviate psychological distress. To that end, the therapeutic value of psychoanalysis is based on four principle tenets:

  1. The behavior of an individual, as we noted earlier, is based on unconscious factors.
  2. Mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression are in most cases caused by a conflict between the conscious and unconscious mind.
  3. The personality of an individual is mostly determined by their early childhood experiences. Indeed, Freud believed personality was mostly fixed by the time of the child’s fifth birthday.
  4. Individuals employ defense mechanisms to cope with information in the unconscious, such as denial, projection, repression, and displacement.

What can psychoanalysis treat?

Psychoanalysis can be used to treat a multitude of problems, including:

  • Phobias. 
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders.
  • Self-destructive behavior. 
  • Sexual difficulties.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Depression.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Disassociate identity disorder (DID), and
  • Other chronic psychological issues.

Strengths and weaknesses of psychotherapy

In the final section, we will list some of the main strengths and weaknesses of psychotherapy as an approach.


  • Foundational research – much of the initial research conducted by Freud and others continues to be influential today, despite many of the core principles of psychoanalysis either revised or replaced in the 20th century. For example, the theories of psychoanalytic thinking remain a key component of experimental psychology, a broad field that encompasses branches such as cognitive and behavioral psychology.
  • New thinking – those who studied psychoanalysis were also some of the first to posit that mental health disorders could be alleviated by discussing problems with a professional doctor. This was a revolutionary idea in Freud’s day.


  • Difficult to measure – some of the concepts put forth by psychoanalysts are difficult to detect and measure. The vast majority of Freud’s arguments were based on clinical observations and case studies.
  • Investment level – psychoanalysis requires a significant investment of time, effort, and money for both the patient and the mental health professional. Some issues may take months or even years to resolve while others will require management for the rest of the patient’s life. 

Summing things up

  • Psychoanalysis comprises various psychological theories and therapeutic techniques based on the work of Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud.
  • The therapeutic value of psychoanalysis rests on the assumption that people can derive important insights into their current state of mind by bringing unconscious drivers into conscious awareness.
  • Initial research into psychoanalysis has provided an important foundation for experimental psychology in particular – though many of its principles have since been revised or replaced. Psychoanalytical theory was also one of the first to suggest talking through problems could result in better mental health outcomes.

The birth and rise of psychographic segmentation

Psychographic segmentation divides consumers into sub-groups based on shared psychological characteristics. Those might include subconscious or conscious beliefs, motivations, and priorities to explain and predict consumer behaviour.

Psychographics started as an attempt to go beyond demographics. As computational power grew more data became available, this gave a chance for marketers to better segment potential customers.

As recounted on when Emanuel H. Demby, one of the founding fathers of psychographics when he was asked “What do you call what you’re attempting to do?” he said “Psychographics!” which was meant as a combination of psychology and demographics.

Another founding father of psychographics was Paul Lazerfeld and his associates during the 1950s at Columbia University’s Bureau of Applied Statistics.

As pointed out by Emanuel H. Demby, Paul Lazerfeld taught that any market research that wanted to understand consumer behavior had to “involve an interplay among three sets of variables; predisposition, influences, and product attributes.

Therefore, psychographics is an attempt to move away from just demographics and give meaning to numbers by focusing more on individuals with feelings and tendencies.

Give meaning to numbers is the primary aim of a marketer. Imagine those two scenarios, Mr. X earns $40K per year. With the other situation, Mr. X earns $40K, after getting a 10% rise compared to the previous three years’ salary. 

Without going too far we can put ourselves in the shoes of Mr. X, how accomplished he feels, and the purchasing tendencies he might have after such a raise.

Maybe he wants to buy a new car or a new TV set. Keep in mind that marketers’ focus is to increase sales. And there is no better salesperson who has insights and personalized information about her target customer.

While in the past it was tough to get valuable psychographic data, that isn’t the case anymore.

Tools for psychographic segmentations

With the rise of digital advertising, and advertising machines like Google and Facebook Ads, it has become easy to create targeted marketing campaigns, primarily focused on performance and able to target potential customers with an incredible focus.

A digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Google Ads and Facebook Ads allow marketers to go quite in-depth with psychographics definition of their audience:


Above an example of how Google Ads enables marketers to target specific interests and psychographic traits of a group of people. This allows a segmentation that can be laser targeted.

The digital advertising industry has become a multi-billion industry dominated by a few key tech players. While the industry advertising dollars are also fragmented across several small players and publishers across the web. Most of it is consolidated within brands like Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Bing, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Distribution is one of the key elements to build a viable business model. Indeed, Distribution enables a product to be available to a potential customer base; it can be direct or indirect, and it can leverage on several channels for growth. Finding the right distribution mix also means balancing between owned and non-owned channels.

Connected Concepts

Market segmentation is the process of dividing the market into sub-groups. Market segmentation can be based on characteristics such as age, behaviors, income levels, and more. This process helps to understand what your key customers want, where they are, and how to talk to them effectively.
Customer segmentation is a marketing method that divides the customers into sub-groups, that share similar characteristics. Thus, product, marketing, and engineering teams can center the strategy from go-to-market to product development and communication around each sub-group. Customer segments can be broken down in several ways, such as demographics, geography, psychographics, and more.
Product differentiation is a marketing strategy used by a business to differentiate its products or services from the competition, thus enabling your business to gain a long-term advantage (an economic moat), thus building a viable business model.
Grassroots marketing involves a brand creating highly targeted content for a particular niche or audience. When an organization engages in grassroots marketing, it focuses on a small group of people with the hope that its marketing message is shared with a progressively larger audience.
Customer experience maps are visual representations of every encounter a customer has with a brand. On a customer experience map, interactions called touchpoints visually denote each interaction that a business has with its consumers. Typically, these include every interaction from the first contact to marketing, branding, sales, and customer support.
Shotgun Marketing
Shotgun marketing is a form of above-the-line (ATL) marketing, where popular mediums such as TV and radio are used to market to a mass audience. This technique of marketing targets as many consumers as possible. Also known as mass marketing, the technique attracts a large number of leads that, on average, might be of lower quality in nature.
A microniche is a subset of potential customers within a niche. In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms. As the microniche becomes a niche, then a market, scale becomes an option.

Read next:

Read more: 

Scroll to Top