Showing posts with label demographics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label demographics. Show all posts

Trying to get a handle on Company Psychographics?

I received several emails in response to my last post ‘Do Psychographics work in B2B Marketing & Sales?’ about developing psychographic profiles for market segments or companies to complement existing demographic data.

Given that psychographics classify prospective buyers by psychological attitudes such as aspirations, interests, attitudes, opinions, etc., how does this apply to companies when you’re in B2B marketing and sales? IMO, companies do project a psychographic image or behavior pattern that goes beyond normal demographics – take IBM as an example signaling moving to a services-oriented business earlier this decade, followed by on-demand computing services mid-decade and the current focus on sustainability. For suppliers selling to IBM, those are powerful signals of what and how to position their solutions to IBM relative to how the company views itself in the market.

One email came from an ex-colleague and business acquaintance Charlie Allieri who is co-founder of iLantern, a provider of Sales Knowledge Management services. iLantern provides a service that monitors events associated with targeted companies to produce information alerts that signal activities that can influence sales opportunities at those companies. These events include executive staff changes, executive quotes, mergers, acquisitions, product announcements, alliances, awards, sales deals, business expansion, and many others.

Charlie’s point, within the company psychographic discussion, is that if marketing and sales were to analyze this event information more strategically, they could build a very insightful psychographic profile of their major customer and prospect companies. iLantern services primarily provide salespeople with really valuable and actionable current information and insights in their accounts, Charlie makes a good point that this information can also provide more strategic insights for marketing. Applying the information from a number of companies in a particular vertical industry or market segment can glean additional industry insights that are not reflected in any demographic data.

“No great marketing decisions have ever been made on quantitative data” – John Scully

Another really interesting part of the iLantern service for marketing is that you can automatically associate specific marketing materials and messaging with designated events for sales to take action. So, if a particular event occurs at a company in a target market segment, the service can alert the salesperson to invite the relevant person to a webinar, or send them a white paper, or mention a specific solution, or any scenario you wish to define. The salesperson gets the alert with a predefined script and email with the designated material(s) to contact the person in question at that company.

Company psychographics can give you a competitive edge in today’s tough market by identifying company events that signal a potential opportunity or to stop wasting time and resources on companies sending the wrong type of signals.

What do you think about this type of approach for developing and using company psychographics? Your comments are always welcome.
Copyright © 2009 The Marketing Mélange and Ingistics LLC.

Do Psychographics work in B2B Marketing & Sales?

B2B marketers regularly use demographic data of tangible characteristics such as company size, industry classification, number of employees, etc. to segment and target relevant markets. While B2C marketers do use demographics, they also use psychographics to really understand what interests their prospective buyers. Psychographics classifies prospective buyers by psychological attitudes such as aspirations, interests, attitudes, opinions, etc. From a marketing perspective, demographics define what buyers commonly need whereas psychographics define what specific groups of buyers want.

From what I’ve experienced and seen, B2B marketers typically make little or no use of psychographics. The supposed issue is that you’re selling to a business, so there are no psychographics. IMO, that’s wrong and B2B marketers are missing out on connecting with the real context of their prospects and customers.

I see an over-reliance by B2B marketers on industry classifications (SIC, NAICS, NACE, etc.) and company size (revenue, employee count) demographic data for market segmentation without relevant psychographic qualification. A CEO/President of a $50m company doesn’t think of his/her business as ‘small’ – they may see the company an innovative market leader in their vertical industry and market. Their solution requirements may be very different from what the ‘small’ demographic typically defines. While the standard industry classification may tell part of the story, it provides you with same analysis as your competitors and no qualitative differentiation for defining your market segments. The point here is that the product, service, solution that a group of companies really want could be quite different from what the broader pack needs.

“Continue to surprise those who would put you in a neat demographic. Be insistently curious.” – Gordon Gee

The other aspect of psychographics in B2B marketing and selling is that your prospective buyers, influencers and decision makers are real people with psychographic profiles. The production manager may view him/herself as the de-facto COO with broader purview in the business, or the material planner may aspire to be the production manager. You need to market and sell to the views, aspirations and interests of the people who will ultimately decide whether or not to buy your stuff. Does your value proposition and solution support these views, aspirations, opinions and interests? The material planner, who is probably an influencer, will only support your solution if he/she can see it directly supporting their aspiration to be production manager.

You can’t just go out and buy psychographic data like we buy demographic data – it generally requires primary research. This is actually a good thing since the primary research will be tailored to your situation, providing valuable data and analysis to really differentiate yourself from competitors and connect more specifically with buyers in target markets. The primary research doesn’t have to be a major expense – a well constructed online survey can provide good data.

If you are a B2B marketer, do you use psychographics and if so, how do you collect the data, and how has this worked for you?

As always, your comments are welcome.
Copyright © 2009 The Marketing Mélange and Ingistics LLC.