Demographics Alone Are Not Enough to Position a Brand Marketers really need to know their customers, or risk coming off flat and factual. Build up the psychographics of your potential base.

By Jim Joseph

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It's vitally important to get to know your customers the best that you possibly can, so that you can position and market your brand appropriately for them.

Related: Market Research Has Lost Its Mojo. But Here's How It Can Get It Back.

Really getting to know your customers means going beyond just the facts and figures about them. The fact that your customers are women, for example, only tells part of their story. That they tend to be in the age range of 35 to 54, or that they are college-educated and earn a certain household income only paints a portion of their picture. While these facts do add up to portray your customers demographics, they don't tell offer enough information to develop a brand positioning.

You need to understand how they think and feel. What opinions do they hold? What are their goals? How do they feel about certain issues?

These factors are psychographics, and they can add great dimension to your customer knowledge. While demographic information can shed some light on your customers, it's the psychographics that can complete your knowledge and make your brand positioning more meaningful.

Related: 10 Questions to Ask When Collecting Customer Data

Psychographics are the "Who" in our classic positioning statement. Here are some examples:

  • When positioning a skin-care brand to working women ages 35 to 54, it's vitally important to know how they feel about aging and if all natural, organic ingredients are important to them. Do they use color cosmetics to enhance their features and make them feel more beautiful?
  • When positioning a car brand to young men ages 18 to 34, it's important to know your target's attitudes toward American manufacturing, and how they plan to use the car. This information in addition to where they live and how much money they make will help to give you a fuller understanding of their needs and wants.
  • When positioning a new line of jeans to teenage girls, you have to understand your target's approach to seasonal changes in fashion.
  • When re-positioning a brand of frozen foods to working moms, you have to dig deep into how they approach dinnertime with their families.

These kinds of psychographics add to the demographics to complete the picture. Without this information, there's no way you can possibly position a brand, let alone market it. You'll never be able to make a meaningful connection with your customers.

Psychographics are the key to building a productive positioning statement. If you lack this information, your positioning will be flat and factual, rather than rich and emotional.

Related: Marketing Must: Customer Data Points to Stop Ignoring -- Now

Jim Joseph

Marketing Master - Author - Blogger - Dad

Jim Joseph is a commentator on the marketing industry. He is Global President of the marketing communications agency BCW, author of The Experience Effect series and an adjunct instructor at New York University.

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