Psychographics explained

The scientific, human behavioural name given for the study of characteristics, leanings, likelihoods, patterns, identifications was explained to me when I launched my career in magazine advertising sales back in the 80s.

Equipped with desire,  the right attitude, and positive outlook, the then Publisher, Gail C—-, hired me saying:  “I’m not so worried about your experience, as I am about your attitude and ability to learn.  I can teach you everything there is to know about the numbers that drive the magazine business”.

Gail drilled into me how important numbers are:  formulae, statistics, ages, and everything in between.  The first lesson was all about “demographics”.  You see, it was the 80s and consumption was exploding at a greater rate than the population.  My targeting an ideal demographic, you were almost certain to pinpoint who your message should be crafted towards.

Once you begin to adapt and understand all about demographics, it is then time to leap into “psychographics” which, according to this excerpt from WIKIpedia means:

Psychographics is the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles.[1] Because this area of research focuses on interests, attitudes, and opinions, psychographic factors are also called IAO variables. Psychographic studies of individuals or communities can be valuable in the fields of marketing,[2]demographics, opinion research, futuring, and social research in general. They can be contrasted with demographic variables (such as age and gender), behavioral variables (such as usage rate or loyalty), and organizational demographics variables (sometimes called firmographic variables), such as industry, number of employees, and functional area.

Psychographics is often confused with demographics, where historical generations may be defined both by demographics, such as the years in which a particular generation is born or even the fertility rates of that generation’s parents, but also by psychographic variables like attitudes, personality formation, and cultural touchstones. For example, the traditional approaches to defining the Baby Boom Generation or Generation X or Millennials have relied on both demographic variables (classifying individuals based on birth years) and psychographic variables (such as beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviors).

When a relatively complete profile of a person or group’s psychographic make-up is constructed, this is called a “psychographic profile”. Psychographic profiles are used in market segmentation as well as in advertising. Some categories of psychographic factors used in market segmentation include:

  • activity, interest, opinion (AIOs)
  • attitudes
  • values
  • behavior

So, to understand psychographics you can, in theory, define who your target audience is based on the criteria described.  Digging further, I found this website that had a great simulation of the segments that the clever people can start to populate behaviour traits based on Demographics, which it often is confused with psychographics.  Nestled in an unlikely place on the website Exam Tutor  lay the valuable nuggets of information that can be extrapolated and defined by population trends: 

Psychographics can also be seen as an equivalent of the concept of “culture” when it is used for segmentation at a national level.

One example of a life style classification model, is that developed by the advertising agency, Young & Rubican, called Cross Cultural Consumer Characterization (4Cs for short). This classification model is presented in the table below

Rigid, strict, authoritarian and chauvinist values, oriented to the past and to Resigned roles. Brand choice stresses safety, familiarity and economy. (Older)

Alienated, Struggler, disorganised – with few resources apart from physical/mechanical skills (e.g. car repair). Heavy consumers of alcohol, junk food and lotteries, also trainers. Brand choice involves impact and sensation.

Domestic, conformist, conventional, sentimental, passive, habitual. Part of the mass, favouring big and well-known value for money ‘family’ brands. Almost invariably the largest 4Cs group.

Materialistic, acquisitive, affiliative, oriented to extrinsics … image, appearance, charisma, persona and fashion. Attractive packaging more important than quality of contents. (Younger, clerical/sales type occupation)

Strong goal orientation, confidence, work ethic, organisation … support status quo, stability. Brand choice based on reward, prestige – the very best . Also attracted to ‘caring’ and protective brands … stress relief. (Top management)

Energy – autonomy, experience, challenge, new frontiers. Brand choice highlights difference, sensation, adventure, indulgence and instant effect – the first to try new brands. (Younger – student)

Freedom from restriction, personal growth, social awareness, value for time, independent judgement, tolerance of complexity, anti-materialistic but intolerant of bad taste. Curious and enquiring, support growth of new product categories. Select brands for intrinsic quality, favouring natural simplicity, small is beautiful.(Higher Education)

See more 

Based on the diagram, as a student of demographics and psychographics, it was easy to color code and edit the categories:

  • GI generation
  • Baby Boomers
  • InBetweeners
  • GENx
  • Millenials
  • WHYers or Yers (unborn)
  • ANY (can be determined by more psychographics)

Back in the day …. when I emerged from childbearing, I began working in the early world of the internet and using it as a tool to help my business revenue grow.  I began working in digital print, document management segment that was at its infancy.    I learned to use the internet as a tool to solve problems, like:

  • time to market
  • quality
  • accuracy
  • tracking
  • sending
  • receiving
  • eliminating shipping costs
  • decreased errors when updating
  • approval to release
  • remove administrative headaches

As the budding student I was back in the late 80s, by the early 90s I became a sponge on this topic, more by chance than focus.  Likely, it was in the back of my brain, ready to gurgle forth, and go to the next level.

Thankfully, on a teleconference call with other top performers in our organization (which I became one, by understanding what needs drove organizations to choose their provider based on, where price point was almost eliminated), a very wise gentleman executive, challenged us all to learn more about demographics and population trends.


I became a new student of the “Boom, Bust or Echo” by David K. Foot who established and taught those who read it (which I have done numerous times) what predictive measures we could use to anticipate trends that were declining (or would decline) and the new ones emerging (or likely to emerge) based on the age of the population.  The basics, by cross-referencing your product or service with a defined target, your success was more likely.

To the dismay of the creative agencies out there, a lot of sales professionals and decision makers, could save on hefty research costs (or narrow them) if they read and absorbed the meaning of understanding population, and proved that anyone can predict the success, or design something that was destined to be successful, simply by understanding who the audience was or would be:



Interestingly, however, the identity “Millennial” was not coined by Foot as such but as Echo:  which essentially means the children of the Boomers to InBetweeners.

According to Forbes, it was Neil Howe and William Strauss who came up with the label to distinguish this population group from the rest, born between 1980 and 2000.

What has recently emerged has the prehistoric demogration which the Baby Boomers followed and likely grandparents of InBetweeners:  The GI generation. the group born between 1900 to 1920s.  Howe and Strauss suggest that the Millennials closely resemble the GIs.  Interesting, by all means.  Especially, as it links to the basis for establishing this blog.  It even identifies the “forgotten generation” as turning 30 when the 90s happened.



What I am projecting and predicting, based on real authority and research, as visualized above, is that we InBetweeners are a unique sort and what I lean towards saying:  that our children will more likely succeed as they more closely resemble the GI generation.  What a snap!



I completely disagree with this depiction of Millennials, which more closely distinguishes the bubble within the bubble, to those born 1980-90, as children of Baby Boomers:  the greatest “ME” generation ever.

If we continue to study the phenomena among demographics, the trend and diagrams would mean this is what we have to look forward to the “WHYers” or Yrs generation:  the future is bright in that case.  Yet, it is still within every single one of us to help others reach their highest potential.  A little numbers can help us go a long way.  A lot of understanding can take us miles.






There’s no place like a child of InBetweeners


I’m getting started on this blog which was begun to emphasize that there is a group of people that don’t fit into the mainstream’s interpretation of demographic group which I identified us as “The Inbetweeners” born 1960-65.

Lo and behold the image shown was shared on Linked In to help employers identify the likelihood of success based on the year they were born.  Huh?  Where are WE?  Especially those born 1960-63.  We don’t seriously belong as Baby Boomers.  We identify more with Gen X than anywhere, and these skills are clearly earmarked for us.

We stand out in areas such as

  • Generating revenue
  • Adaptability
  • Relationship Building
  • Problem Solving
  • Collaboration

It really shouldn’t be considered rocket science.  If you were the little sister or baby brother of a Baby Boomer, you’ve always had to rely on your personal resources, tenacity, relationships, solutions and collaborative ability to survive.

Like most parents, we pass on to our offspring the qualities we have while focussed on arming them with better skills than we were not fortunate to accumulate simply because our voice is muffled out by the former population boom, and the climbing noise coming from our children:  The Millennials.

I should not come off as a surprise that we would be forced to have the skills we’ve been identified by.  If you are at the tail end of a big blob of consumers, employees, siblings we have only gotten those skills like “adaptability” “relationship building” “problem solving” and “collaboration” in order to survive.

Add gender, race to the mix, and you fall further to the bottom of the heep.  Not from lack of trying, but from lack of opportunity.  All the best jobs were clutched by the Baby Boomers and when we hit our prime with all those wonderful attributes, we’re being passed over for the savvy Millennials.  How depressing … perhaps.  Perhaps not.

On my second blob, I shared those Inbetweeners who have risen to the top and because of how far they had to climb, are solid contenders for greatness.  Not always because of their history or skills, but more likely because when they were starting out, there was a massive hill to climb.


Think about it.  Our Baby Boomer siblings and icons were born out of war, devastation and even poverty.  They created opportunity and optimism by force of will and the era unfolding:  you would get a job, regardless of education, likely work it for 40 some years, retiring with a plump nest egg and the least worry of all the generations combined.

Inbetweeners had to take the leftovers, make opportunity happen where it never existed, and try to live optimistically where we couldn’t feel entitlement, and were taught you had to work hard to accomplish anything and nothing was handed to us.

Not far behind, the children of Baby Boomers and Inbetweeners, have become the next population force called the Millennial generation.  The gap in between, called GenX, were the ones who survived in the 1990s and also likely passed over from Baby Boomers to Millennials.

Our current world is not nearly ideal as the Baby Boomers and not necessarily equipped for Millennials, who have glossed over Inbetweeners and GenX, formulated by entitlement.   Thankful maybe those Millennials born to the Inbetweeners, taught the right skills for survival:  relationships, flexibility, tech savviness, problem-solving with collaboration a distant finalist.   They didn’t have to rely on collaboration to get ahead.  Strong, smart, they forge ahead.  Prime for discussion by marketers, advertisers, educators and employers.

Our world is a rocky one.  Who is really equipped for survival?  I am biased, certainly, to think Inbetweeners will be because of what life had unfolded for them.  Born in the consumerism of the 1960s, the political upheaval and uncertainty of the 1960s, the background noise fluttering with a Vietnam war.  Our formative years clouded by the “ME” generation that said “US” to this population group.

We are the years of observers:  we got to watch how destructive drugs and alcoholism could be, the former by our siblings and the latter likely shown by our parents or authority figures.

Our greatest hope?  Our Millennial children.  Not the ones yet unemployed.  They saw their parents flux between employment and layoff multiple times.  They heed the importance of education, to give you a lift in a competitive, combative world of employment where nothing was guaranteed anymore.

The InBetweeners were not shown a world of constant optimism.  A struggle to be skeptical because we were born in the wave of anything is possible.

The hardships that befall many, are likely cast with the InBetweeners, but their resolute nature can be found inspiring.

The next successful bubble within a large bubble will befall the resolute children of InBetweeners … to those who heeded their parents’ struggles, promising to leverage the period of renewed optimism, sprinkled with reality.


Fear will be a strong motivator.  Whether that fear stems from world chaos and violence, or poor life choices dulled by drugs and alcohol, the out-of-control adoption of online presence.  The winners will be that very small segment of Millennials who absorbed the wisdom of the InBetweener  which will allow them to soar.  Like generations before them, they will take what history has taught them, with renewed vows to make the world a better place, for all, regardless of race, color, religion or education.







#TGIF #Friday

#TGIF #Friday


I wrote this last night. Rarely would I think this reminiscing should appear on the more serious veneer of optioneerJM or expose a side of Jeannette Marshall, not many have seen. 

It does tend to fall into our twenties. Not important, the early or late years. Your career starts to take off somehow. You spin around, just to see everyone IS looking at you.

You are a model citizen, responsible adult with some post-secondary education that no matter how thick is a foundation you can pull forward in those wondering times. Was it work ethic, looks, personality, education or street smarts? That won many others over and where you were allowed to spread your wings.


Nowadays, to get a foot in the door, you have to have heeps of experience, or make degrees into diplomas or walk out of the door. How lucky I am and even at the time I still did. How did magical things happen to this average ole kid.

Wait a minute. You were an average old kid? Like does that mean when you were a kid you seemed older, or as you got older you got hipper? I mean average. Really? Does that mean academics?

Should you be reminded how in grade school, your meanest toughest teacher on record, yet you don’t even remember his name. The one who pushed you above so many in leaps and bounds. So that the next year, away you sat with three other boys, working on math from the proceeding years, For those who may benefit. Guess that ain’t ole average after all.

I got on a tangent as I often do. Forcing my attention back to the matter at hand.

The 1980s were fab-tas-tic-u-lust. Opps, was that an accident or on purpose? I’d hazard a guess that what makes a writer creative is the disguise he or she wears creating characters that they could dream up while never would dare, do or try what their characters could.

Some call the 60s just outtasight. But wasn’t it the 70s that gave us our might? Skipping along with our brothers or sis humming or tap tap tapping like a drum.  To the music that made those a decade ahead, believe that peace, science and academics were what matters in stead.

I was born in the shadows of that rebirth, long before greed, politics, money because the currency of luck.  After all, our immediate forefathers, young enough and wise enough who we may have considered brothers.

Then what happened? We huddled behind our desks, cozied up on our couch, watching wholesome TV shows like Mr. Ed the horse, or the Mr. Ed before Sullivan.  Bewitched, Three’s Company long before Friends.

We were too young to understand all the fuss over four young men arrived on the continent on a bus, or was that an airplane?

Don’t laugh too hard but when we graduated from High School, it was all about Disco, lights and all that fuzz.  Agreeably, we were mostly ignorant about beer or getting a buzz.


That wasn’t our scene.  Do you wanna know what was?  Going to school, then getting all gussied up like those 50s gals, except with very high heels and more conservative skirts than the 60s, yet not abandoned like the 70s.

We were a generation when it was about life being about the basics:  having a family, going to Midnight Mass at Christmas, with newcomers at the table because it was unthinkable, while it was not at all that new yet authentic, for anyone from the neighbourhood, school or work be left alone on the Holidays.  Funny, some folks even went to church, more often than not, which was never a conversation at the

dinner table was religion a topic sought.

Yes, the 80s were rad.  You can’t disagree when all the Millinnials embrace the decade.  It was a time when life was pretty basic, much less controversies, scandals, violence in our sphere.  We pushed on, went to school, excelled in athletics or guide/scouts, year after year.

We weren’t in the years when what our peers did or thought, was more important than our home, our families, parents, siblings and such.

Now there was drugs, alcohol, and permiscuaty in talked in back alleys not permiated by media, television, radio, newspapers and magazines.  In fact, that is when I read and read.  Nothing felt better or safer than in bed, with a book.  Being called to set the table, dinner was ready, would nearly break the imagination captured, dreading to just put it down.  Then we skooted outside so the adults could breathe, instead of the chatter and noise four kids bring, when turning on the TV was the very last thing.

Whoop whoop to the 80s.  Think about it, that was when the computer and music playing instruments were being revolutionized.  Ignorant were we that it would only be a phase.


The emergence of drugs and crime started to hold us spellbound.  Theatrics and lies joined them as the norm in the 90s.

Then we hit a new century.  Brought on alongside sheer panic that we were doomed when the clock was to pass midnight 23:59 1999 to 24:00 2000.  Makes you think, maybe we were really that lucky.

We were into our 30s by then.  Usually happily married or two times past.  Consumed with a passion never before known:  the power of money over towered us, some cast in gloom.

Whoever said “money can’t buy you love” as a quote turned into a famous tune?  Wasn’t really far off when you consider how fast hatred, jealousy, terrorism, violence can grow. 

Our own children now in their twenties as we near closer to 2020s.  Mixed with fear, and far less optimism than we were allowed.  Where diseases as bola, violence created by religion long before born.  

Yet they are the children of the 80s youngsters born of the 60s, wherein lies as when the basics were born.  Long before when a child could ride a bike alone, and still make it home.   Long before millions became billions …. in debt.  Where politicians, not parents or teachers, became scorned.

We were brought up in a world where politics were faded in the background, until a corrupt President was ousted.  Scandals were drugs, pre-marital sex very private, and violence against women, far less, children was even known.

The faint dew drops of that optimism allows many to soar.  Behind them strong parents, with morals from when the ideal foundation was formed.

When searching for royalty free images to enhance this Blog, I thought it ironic what the iconimic image covering The Times would symbolize the new century.  When the horror in Paris would mark this year approaching its end: 2015 my friend.


Bowing my head over these keys, gives me pause as our refugees arrive in Canada today with the belief that ours is a much safer world, with opportunity, humanity and peace.  Let us remember that “our” means our world, our harmony, our hope, our peace is not your, mine, me, or I.  It takes a lot of people to keep us from harm.


Vincent Van Gogh “Sunny Meadow”

Can we get back to the basics?  Only personally and privately we may have to reflect.  Will we help others, the poor, the fearful, the aging, the lonely, to never neglect.  We do have the power to make it basic again.

Sunny camomile meadow – Margaret Raven Art Gallery