Psychographics Works

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MEMBER TRAINING PAGE -THE APPLIED ART & SCIENCE OF PSYCHOGRAPHICS | PART OF THE MOTIVALTIONAL RESEARCH DESK at the 7 ARTS FOUNDATION.  Members: For additional information, call the managing director directly at the 7AF new all points number: 309.621.3590| M-Th 11-3 EST; Sa. 11-12N EST. for a free evaluation. The following brief is presented for informational purposes only by Dr. Thomas. The page is sponsored by GMSolutions, our Marketing Essentials parners for destination districts. The complete, original article appears elsewhere on this page, below the brief.

PSYCHOGRAPHIC PROFILES FOR GUESTS  & BROWSERS: ASK FOR DETAILS | This page assumes you and your district development team can answer the Essential Marketing Questions found in the Marketing Essentials Section


Why Your Arts & Design Customers Buy…

By Marshall Thomas, D. Phil.


Before you set up your next juried festival stand, participate in district-wide sidewalk sales, use a gallery's services or open your own studio, a ticket booth or a retail shop, you must know why your destination district customers make decisions to buy or rent your works. To accomplish this, you must know what they value, their attitudes and what they believe*.

Psychographic marketing helps you ask the right questions. What are the factors which most help determine how your clients and customers buy from you or support your causes? Which of the top five profiled groups of buyers our foundation has identified should you appeal to? And why should you rely upon psychographics marketing to help you determine your answers?

The last question first. Psychographics is, in broad terms, the study of how human motivations and attitudes are similar and are different, an area of research for organizational psychologists and arts, design and cultural market experts who need to know how people decide what they want to buy, to help them determine a small range of products and services they are likely to buy, and a tool used by our most successful district operators to help them predict the general behavior and attitudes of identified groups of people - and, in this instance, your arts and design buyers, backers and subscribers.

The factors follow, below; the headings outline the case. Our top five profiled groups of buyers across North America are used throughout as examples. The groupings were derived from the confidential outcomes of surveys made of our development clients over the past two seasons. Your top five group may vary; we will not know until we help evaluate your member destination district.

*   Note: The 7 Arts Foundation study is the first psychographic profile of its kind to fold belief and unbelief factors into broad studies of behavior and attitudes. We determined to include belief and unbelief factors into our profiling of belongers because over 62% of the towns and villages studied determined to schedule events in ways that avoided conflicts with religious holiday presentations, to use religious underpinnings as one or more bases for determining the suitability of public art displays and their funding thereto, and to consider their church, temple and synagogue artworks as essential parts of their cultural identity. We have no reliogious agenda; we hold simply an obligation to report outcomes as we study how communities are shaped by values, and how those values shape destinations.


In the briefest of terms, without much jargon, here is what you need to know to succeed:

  1. Know who your customers are. Demographically, they are millenials, gen-x, gen-y, baby boomers and seniors.
  2. Promote, publicize and write your PR pieces directly, clearly to your target customers, one group at a time, by behaviors and attitudes.
  3. Understand what types of message each customer group requires from you in order to help them act.
  4. Discern which print, electronic and direct contact presentations consistently get the job done in your locale; remember - everything is local.


  1. Know how to show (remember- never just 'tell' anything in cyberspace) the right eyeballs why they should visit your site
  2. Promote, with choices, everything you want to get into the minds of your target users, i.e., 'Come visit us and get <something we already know you value> free'...[or] 'Come and visit us and choose your discount level on the following select items: <your list follows>'... [or] 'Come and visit us and learn the great secrets of <subject or field> before your peers do'... In short, promote to your users as you would want to be treated online to receive the choice of A) receiving a gift or B) for being a trusted user with good judgement or C) for being the first recipient who knows important stuff before peers and colleagues find out.


Please note, we also advise our members about in-print and in-person advertising. The main thrust of this on-line training brief is to introduce ideas that can help you develop a website and e-commerce approach. O.K., very little jargon here, just what you need -

  1. Know how to get the right eyeballs to respond to your site.
  2. Promote, publicize and write your PR pieces to prompt visitors to eventually purchase or rent your product/service line.
  3. Understand what captures the attention of the one in 16 (nationwide) persons that is looking to buy from you.
  4. Discern which persons match up with the 'right' message; the 'right' message contains the words, the imagery that artfully grabs the attention of one target audience and which scientifically prompts them to act

Link to Marketing Essentials to learn which questions define successful, sustainable campaigns.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without written authorization from the 7 Arts Foundation. PLEASE READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE USING THIS WEBSITE. more


Why?  Because you can learn the following -

  1. Know how to target at least four different discreet groups of users
  2. Promote to attract THE EMULATOR USERS - they leap at 'free' stuff because by accumulating valued things they see themselves as appearing successful in their own eyes and the eyes of their peers
  3. Understand that your NEEDS USERS respond to limited time offers of discounts because they react to the urgency they feel should they miss something they value when the discount disappears, thereby triggering a 'need' to act
  4. Discern who your ACHIEVER USERS are so they can respond to your message about a new and truly unique product or service you're offering about which few of their peers would be aware; and, appeal to THE SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS USER who you tell "Your freinds and family will love it <your offer>" because they are drawn to a message that you will donate $1.00 from every purchase to one of a number of charitable causes


Be market-wise: You need-

  1. Know the speed at which your specific targets need to travel through your site
  2. Promote, quickly, with the words and images that show your online target that you speak their language
  3. Understand that this approach lures the target customers and repels nearly all others (really useful if you are paying by the 'click-thru' method
  4. Discern which approach holds your users' attention and what shows them enough to prompt them to act
  5. Change the look and feel of your site every time your top 3 web participants indicate


Link: Selected Major Corporate, Professional & Business Members & Guests Using Our Web Service

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psy·cho·graph·ics Noun (plural) /ˌskˈgrafiks/

  1. The study and classification of people according to their attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria, esp. in market research

Web definitions

    • In the field of buzzwords, marketing, demographics, opinion research, and social research in general, psychographic variables are any attributes relating to personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyles. They are also called IAO variables (for Interests, Activities, and Opinions). ...

    • The use of demographics to obtain marketing data from people's attitudes, lifestyles etc

    • psychographic - Based on individual psychological characteristics, rather than demographic or other factors

    • Market segmentation by lifestyle; classifying people wants, aspirations and values....more on Psychographics

    • A more sophisticated form of demographics that includes information about the psychological and sociological characteristics of media consumers such as attitudes, values, emotional responses and ideological beliefs.

    • Identification of personality characteristics and attitudes that affect a person's lifestyle and purchasing behaviors. Psychographic data points include opinions, attitudes, and beliefs about various aspects relating to lifestyle and purchasing behavior.

    • Information about a population's values, that is, what their values, concerns and cares are.

    • The “why” of consumer research to attempt to explain why consumers behave the way that they do. Research is conducted by observing and analyzing personality traits and values. Very closely related to lifestyle research.

    • Life-style investigations. You may be familiar with VALS as an example of psychographic research. Used to segment markets based on values, attitudes and life-styles rather than product benefits or direct needs.

    • The relates to personality, attitues, interests or lifestyles. The psychographics of the film Back to the Future is watched mostly by people who enjoy Science fiction

    • units which differentiate a community or market by psychological factors such social class, personality characteristics or lifestyle

    • psychographic - (ie personality traits or character traits which influence consumer behaviour)

    • psychographic - describes consumers on the basis of some psychological trait, characteristics or life style.

    • psychographic - segmentation is based on traits, attitudes, interests, or lifestyles of potential customer groups. Companies marketing new products, for instance, seek to identify customer groups that are positively disposed to new ideas. ...

    • The system of explaining market behavior in terms of attitudes and life styles.
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                        Hausman Marketing, Young & Rubican




  1. Know how to speak to the person you are targeting by speaking their language
  2. Promote to your BELONGER USER who wants to join you to feel secure, safe in the framework of your product or service, and certain they will be taken care of because they belong
  3. Understand that your ACHIEVER USER wants to get in, buy, and get out - all with the certainty that what they purchase is unique, new, of good quality - a great value
  4. Discern that your EMULATOR USERS will be impressed by your flashy graphics, lots of gadgets and a sense of 'coolness'; next in line, your SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS USERS want to know you care about society or the environment (something greater than yourself), and that you and your organization have a personal vision that is bigger than simply making a buck or dominating a market; and, finally, you've already learned the great secret by carefully reading this page - every category of district buyer is unique, makes distinctive demands of you and can never be successfully cross-sold.


Narrow your 21st C markets. Tailored, laser precision presentations target-minded layouts, content, tone and offers win the day. Period.



The original, complete article, before it was adapted for the website presentation briefing:

Why Your Arts & Design Clients Buy…

By Marshall Thomas, D. Phil. Fall, 2007, Winter 2014 updated


Before you set out to sell your next arts or design event, opening show or season, you must know how to discern what motivates your audiences, which prompts trigger the needed responses, and what marketing positions allow your best subscribers, patrons or supporters to sustain their levels of buying and giving. To accomplish this, you must know what they value, where they look for your message, and what they believe.

What are the factors which most help determine how your clients and customers buy from you? Which of the nine profiled groups of buyers our foundation has identified for you should you appeal to? And why should you rely upon psychographic marketing to help you determine your answers?

The last question first. Psychographics is, in broad terms, the study of human motivations, an area of research for psychologists and market experts who need to know how people decide what to buy, to help them determine a small range of products and services they are likely to buy, and a tool which helps to predict the general behavior of identified groups of people - and, in this instance, your arts and design buyers and supporters. Marketers often reduce the activities associated with psychographics to market segmentation.

The first question is answered by a tenet of advertising often lost on our arts, design and cultural district friends and colleagues: every campaign can only be targeted to one of the nine market segments. Each group is different; profiling lets you spend money on publicity, promotions and PR wisely because you are meeting the psychologically identified needs of one target group in media they are most likely to use.

Every district has slightly different objectives and some wildly different tactics to reach its top four market segments. Media representatives in every region of the country understand their readerships, their listeners, their viewers. Asking the right questions of competent media sellers (reps’) will save you time, effort and money, every time you launch a campaign, every season.

How do you use this tool? You identify your target market. You narrow down your target audiences and participants. Then, you choose which approach to offer. The target markets are based upon a detailed description of your subscribers (group one), your backers (group two), your ‘occasionals’ (group three) and your participants (group four).

Your target participants are the artists, designers and artisans and other arts and design professionals, including columnists and critics, tour operators and party planners in group four. Your target audiences include the people who buy or rent art, design and craft products and services from your target participants and their representatives. The rest of the audience consists of the people who say they are engaged by art and design, who say they are attracted to arts, design and cultural media (print and electronic), who tell you that they value reclaimed downtowns, the experience of shopping, perambulating and discovering urban renewal districts, etc. The more you know about each of these groups, the further ahead of neighboring towns and cities you will be in pursuit of sustainable growth, predictable profits or overages and all-important community building. And, the more often you employ the practical applications of psychographic marketing, the more effective and more efficient you will be with the return on your marketing dollars spent chasing audiences and participants. Finally, to succeed with tight budgets and even tighter time constraints, you must know who you attract, who you repel, and who is apt to ignore your message.

As Many as Nine Groups to Address… but, likely only Four to Reach

Belonger & Believer: The largest group in most urban populations adds up to about 36%; for them, community, family and friends are what matter; each needs to belong to a group, something larger than themselves; they most often drive US-made pickup trucks, vans and sedans; they are often rabidly nationalistic; they abhor change; they count among their best times on earth those spending time hanging out with friends, family, having fun; they work hard; over 61% of this segment are somewhat or deeply religious; they respond to messages filled with references to family, friends, fun, and community; they respond to images of the US flag and US heroes; they respond to things that appear solid, that never appear to change; they buy from people - not from ideas, ideals, abstractions of any sort - and they respond particularly to people they know or think they know; they like loyalty and relationships; they remain faithful to their brand. Over 23% of this segment are 'resigned,' that is rigid, strict authoritarian, with chauvinist values - oriented to the past and to their resigned roles: This sub-segment chooses safety, familiarity and economy over all other factors.

Belonger & Disbeliever: These folks, about 6-10% of many urban populations in our study, grasp a world engulfed in a vacuum of disbelief. They respond to logic and reason and rationales. They respond to much of what their Belonger & Believer segment responds to, but they are generally not superstitious, not prone to belief systems, not susceptible to revelations, magical moments; they want to be discerning only about what they can touch, smell, taste, see… Over 29 percent of this segment fall into the alienated, struggler, disorganized sub-segment; they rely heavily upon their physical and mechanical skills, and are heavy consumers of alcohol, junk food, lottery tickets; and, their brand choices involve impact and spinal sensations.

Achiever: This group is about 5-8% of most urban populations we studied. These serious, business persons want to become more, have more, accumulate more. They respond to images of power, physical wealth and tangible rewards; they respond to images of over-achievers, workaholics, tirelessly successful people; they respond to images of putting in long hours and working every day of the year; they respond to luxury cars, abodes, private and exclusive clubs and travel; they are individuals first and last; they respond to being treated apart from groups; they respond to being set apart on many levels; they respond to fleeing from mass sentiments, mass movements, mass responses; they respond to ‘seek and destroy’ shopping missions - getting ‘in’ and getting ‘out’ as quickly, painlessly as possible - they hate shopping, especially with others nearby; they respond to the top of the line products and services, the latest techne and innovations of many sorts; they respond to many prompts that let them believe if they buy it, they will set themselves apart, especially from their peers; they respond to the fact that they control over 85% of the nation’s wealth; they feel comfortable with images of banking, wealth management, investments, access to movers and shakers, high fliers and other image-conscious notables; they respond to a message that they want to hear that gets to the point in 5-12 seconds, and are likely to forget you and your message if you cannot deliver within their timeframe; they respond to imagery that highlights power, money, profit, speed... Over 53% of this segment are mainstreamers: domestic, conformist, conventional, sentimental, passive, habitual; the sub-segment considers themselves part of the masses - favoring big, well-known value for their dollars, interested in 'family brands.'

Emulator: This segment is about 15-18% of many urban populations. This group wants to get to Achiever status, but is unlikely to succeed. This group wants to look or sound or otherwise appear to be an Achiever to garner affection, sexual contact, attention from peers. They respond to knock-offs, look-alike products , potables, eatables and ‘wearable’ that suggest they are accomplished, in-the-know, desirable; they respond to what they think they see as the image of stars from music, movies, sports and celebrity lists; they respond to what makes them appear popular to their peers; they often suffer what has come to be called ‘low self-esteem’ issues; they will spend what they can to appear to be like their idols; they are often in the under 30-year-old demographic; they are rarely financially stable; they respond to what makes them feel successful, adored, liked, accepted as appearing successful. They do not have an image of themselves that accepts who they are naturally, or even conventionally construed; they are who their peers think they are. Over 47 percent of this segment are aspirers - materialistic, acquisitive, affiliative, oriented to extrinsics, favoring image, appearance, charisma, persona, fashion over all other factors; attractive packaging matters more than the content of any presentation; they are found predominantly in clerical, sales positions.

Socially Conscious & Engaged: This type makes up about 19-24% of many urban populations. This group eschews close ties with family, friends, community. This segment wants, above all, for the world to change for the betterment of all; they are ‘social justice’ conscious, environmentally aware, they use less than the average person, they buy less, they purchase responsible products and services. They respond to schooling and training, personal improvement, childhood instruction, continuing education, and many liberal arts subject matters. Further, they respond to appeals that identify people in need, especially people who need guidance, deliverance. They are often noted cynics when it comes to government solutions, business and multi-national solutions, social scientist’s solutions; they are, conversely, often hopeful when asked about the future of society. They respond to something that appear to be making a difference, that is likely transforming humankind, the environment, childhood experience; they respond to educated discourse, opportunities to look up and study matters for themselves, authentic and genuine requests for help and responses to fix things. They are wary of big business motives, big business associations with products and services, although they can be convinced to join a movement if they can see specifically where their contributions or work are going. They want proof that what they will be doing will make a difference for someone or for the environment. The dominant sub-segment is made up of succeeders - folks bent toward strong goal orientation, confidence, work ethic, organization, who support the status quo, seek stability; their brand choices are based upon reward, prestige, a sense of what is considered the very best, with an emphasis on brands that 'care' fo people, the environment, etc.... or which are considered protective; often popluated by top management folks.

Socially Conscious & Disengaged: This type makes up about 5-7% of many urban populations. This segment thinks seriously about the same issues that their Socially Conscious & Engaged brothers and sisters respond to, but this group has given up trying to save the world, the nation, the state - it has cloistered itself into a community or dedicated group of like-minded folks, a cult of personality and action. These folks respond to self-sufficiency, cutting themselves off from the rest of the world whenever possible, and offerings only from like-minded people. They are engaged in debating issues, especially issues that involve the hegemony of one group over another, disenfranchisement and conspiracies. The majority sub-segment is over 59% explorers - high energy, autonomous, seeking experiences, challenges, new frontiers; their brnad choices highlight difference-making, sensational, adventurous, indulgent and instant effect-producing products/programs, popluated by and large by students.

Balanced & Totally Integrated: This segment is about 1-2% of many urban populations. This group is part Achiever and part of both Socially Conscious groups. These are successful people who do not want to exploit the environment or laborers unfairly, who may want to return certain profits to a cause, who buy their raw materials from unconventional supply chains outside the usual vendor routes, people who often find ways to cooperate rather than compete directly in order to achieve a respectable market share. Some people in this group are reformed ‘takers’ who have seen a redeeming light; others are true philanthropists with scruples and savvy matched perfectly. Both respond to vision, high-minded missions. Both respond to messages of absolution and doing right in the end; both have their research done before ever meeting you, your message or your cause - some are hands on, some have others do this work for them - in any case, they likely do not have a lot of time to hear your message. The largest sub-segment is 41% reforners - people who want freedom from restrictions, who want personal growth, social awareness, value for their time, who rely upon their personal judgment, who tolerate complexity, who are anti-materialistic and intolerant of bad taste programs and products; they are curious, enquiring, supportive of new product/program initiatives; they select their brands for their intrinsic qualities, favoring natural simplicity, small-is-beautiful initiatives.

Needs Driven: This segment accounts for 13-18% of many urban populations studied. These people buy or rent on instinct and impulse; they acquire what they think they need in the moment. They plan little, often pay premiums on items that could be purchased or rented elsewhere for less cost. They tend to flash currency in hopes of letting their peers know they have money or that at least can put on a show that they have what they need. When they have cash on hand, they spend it conspicuously and immediately; they live for the moment, and they respond to images of immediacy, current needs being met, that if they do not spend what they have in their possession now, that the money will likely not be there in the future. They respond to ‘buy now, limited time offer, never to be repeated, cannot get this anywhere else, operators are standing by, never be a loser and miss this offer, be significant, be remembered for what you’ve bought today’ messages…

Creators & Inventors: These folks understand that problem-solving is not the only set of answers that count; they know, first-hand, that many arts and design expressions generate their own unique needs; they make up 3-4% of many urban populations. Sometimes, achievers, sometimes emulators, often socially conscious (in both camps). These folks are much of your participant base.

You probably know which top two market segments will be easier to reach than the other seven stated in this applied marketing theory. You also probably know which errors you are prone to make, time and again, when reaching out to any one market segment. And, if your local or regional ad reps’ do not know the psychographic profile for their media outlet, you probably know you can look at the expensive publicity campaigns in their medium and then cross-reference the promotions and PR efforts the savvy publicity buyer has to be mounting in order to reinforce their message to your community.


Disclaimer: This information is presented solely as part of a training program. It is printed here for informational purposes only. Every region of the nation is different; every arts, design and cultural district message is somewhat unique. Every campaign has a unique set of objectives and tactics. Each region and locale has a unique set of media - electronic and print - available to reach identified audiences and participants, We are always available to help Members with specific questions about their psychographic profiling and marketing efforts. Using psychographic segmentation to improve market share or to increase participation has become synonymous with interpreting Facebook and other social media outputs to optimize the so-called marketing funnel; interpreting social media data is the purview of experts and their advisers.

Thank you for inviting us to your table.

For the 7 Arts Foundation staff, advisors and membership --- Dr. Thos.


Repairs, the Atrium, 7 Arts Foundation, space donated by the founder emeritus.