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.






Published by the OPTIONEERJM

A writer, a blogger, a seeker, a finder; discovering nuances that are unique to those born between 1960 and 1965 .... the tail end of Baby Boomers or the start of the X-Generation. A student of demographic, avid reader, curioso, vivid aesthetic eye, wannabe artist. I write about what appeals to Yuppies who are 50 plus and wanting to be the best of anything and everything! I provide insights and build camaraderie among YUPPIES of the 1980s, an impactful demographic born in the 60s, went into Junior High | Middle School in the mid 70s and graduated from High School 1979, followed by the roller coasters in the 1980s. Regardless of location, religion, gender identity, age, culture, beliefs, education or economic standing: EVERYONE is famous in their own world:: having the starring role. An expression, a reflection or opinion using the positive vibe that attracts ALL the movers & shakers of their WORLD. I encourage other and calm the waters for those considering entering the online universe, where the only boundaries are your own imagination. I do somersaults (virtually and imaginatively) whenever someone takes the time to comment ~ that's a true treasure!! Follow me on my social media channels: READ blogs on @Wordpress FOLLOW: @optioneerjm TWITTER|FACEBOOK|INSTAGRAM|TUMBLR|PINTEREST Jeannette has written on her blog: Optioneerjm/ on sales for over 10 years, has over 20,000+ valuable followers = quality over doing her best as a QUALITY evangelist

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