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What's the Definition of Psychographic Segmentation?



“If you want to create messages that resonate with your audience, you need to know what they care about.” Those words, spoken by marketing technology advisor Nate Elliot, sum up the challenge faced by organizations across industries—banking, retail, hospitality, and yes, even healthcare.

But how do you get to know your audience well enough that you inspire action—be it opening a savings account, filling a real or virtual shopping cart, making a hotel reservation, or following a physician’s advice? The answer lies in audience segmentation, but organizations must look beyond traditional demographics and socioeconomics to truly understand consumers. Psychographic segmentation offers the deeper insights you need.


How healthcare organizations can improve engagement using psychographics

Speaking with Harvard Business Review (HBR), John Forsyth from McKinsey said, “We see many, many companies saying, ‘I want to get more consumer-driven and customer-facing. But sometimes the organizations don’t know how to start. I’d say you really start with a basic understanding of your consumers or customer, right? And that’s segmentation.”

But simply segmenting consumer based on similar demographics, such as adults age 50 to 65, or a shared diagnosis, such as Type 2 diabetes, ignores the fact the individuals often have very different attitudes and motivations that influence behavior.

That’s where psychographic segmentation delivers improved understanding. Merriam-Webster defines psychographics as “market research or statistics classifying population groups according to psychological variables (such as attitudes, values, or fears); also, variables or trends identified through such research.”  


The 5 Psychographic Segments

The HBR article offers an example taken from a consumer products company point of view. In order to boost its market share for at-home pregnancy tests, Quidol created two different products based on consumers’ motivation for purchasing a test: hope or fear.  

While the products are nearly identical, the names, packaging, product placement and pricing are not. Instead, the products are designed to appeal to prospective customers based on their emotional response to a potential pregnancy.  This approach doesn’t require absolute knowledge of individual consumers’ motivations, but anticipates the possible attitudes and delivers appropriate products.

Likewise, psychographic segmentation specific to consumers attitudes related to health and wellness can help hospitals and other healthcare providers improve the relevance of their products and services.

View More: How Psychographic Segmentation Debunks Healthcare Consumerism Myths 

For example, using psychographic classifications like those developed by c2b solutions—Self-Achievers, Balance Seekers, Priority Jugglers, Direction Takers and Willful Endurers—healthcare organizations can create products and services for these unique segments. Examples could include wellness programs to appeal to goal-oriented Self-Achievers or curated education and information sources for independent Balance Seekers.  

In addition, with the use of a short survey (12 questions) to classify individuals into these unique psychographic segments, healthcare providers can personalize communications—the right message, the right time, the right delivery channel—to offer the customer-centric experiences that today’s healthcare consumers want.

The ability to segment consumers—healthcare or otherwise—based on their unique attitudes, beliefs and motivations allows organizations to tailor marketing or other communications to build loyalty and enhance engagement. In the healthcare arena, these benefits can also lead to improved outcomes. And isn’t that the ultimate goal?

Psychographic Segmentation and its Practical Application in Patient Engagement and Behavior Change


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