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What are Psychographics, And How Do You Advertise To Them?

Meebo just bought Mindset, a company that specializes in advertising to Psychographics.  What is a Psychographic? The really simple answer is a demographic, only you only care about what a person does rather than what they are.  Geeks, Farmers, Rednecks, TCOTs, and Democrats are all Psychographics.  More and more clusters of people aren’t segmented by race, religion, gender or age, they are separated by ways of thinking. 

If you are selling Mt. Dew Code Red, you may target “People who play online games”.  This means advertising not based on a search term but rather websites about World Of Warcraft.  You are advertising to a lifestyle not to an age and gender.  While an age and gender may be more prevalent in a psychographic, it is not the defining feature.  More men play WoW than women, but that doesn’t have to mean that you target them differently.What are Psychographics, And How Do You Advertise To Them?

In the above example while the target may be the same, the ad may or may not be.  A psychographic target such as “People who play online games” may all buy the same products but they are not all attracted to the same things… “Drink our soda cause it will put hair on your chest” probably won’t appeal to female players.

This is where Mindset has excelled in the past.  They have done a great job matching brands to psychographic targets, and made sure the creatives that they presented to the audience would resonate with them.

This is not something all ad agencies are good at, in fact most of them fail miserably.  GoDaddy has had a string of racy commercials that target a demographic, dweebs who will do anything to seen a scantily clad girl.  This doesn’t help them with the entrepreneurial woman, and it doesn’t resonate as well with the corporate exec, or happily married head of IT.  GoDaddy Commercials might have worked for a demographic, but they no longer match their Psychographic.

Other companies avoid the issue all together by creating ads with universal appeal.  VW’s “Force” commercial resonated with Mommy bloggers, SciFi Geeks, and Business men alike. 

I’m not sure Meebo made the right choice, it is hard to say since the amount was undisclosed, but I suspect that the value of Mindset is in the people, not in any tech that they have, so it likely would have made more sense to just poach a few of the leaders.