A recent article in Business Green discusses several ways of classifying the green consumer and the issues related to reaching them. Though demographics, the tried and true way of sorting out consumers into groups by income, age, education, etc. works well in some categories, it’s not as helpful in segmenting green consumers.
Enter Psychographics, often used by niche marketers, it can be an effective tool for eco entrepreneurs.
- Demographics looks at characteristics of people that include age, income, education, occupation, household size, home ownership and home value, among other factors.
- Psychographics delves deeper into people’s lifestyles and behaviors, including their interests and values.
While segments of green consumers vary according to the source you use (check out this hilarious post that outlines some of them) I’ll use the Natural Marketing Institute’s labels for LOHAS ( lifestyles of health and sustainability) consumers.
- LOHAS — very progressive on environment and society, looking for ways to do more; not too concerned about price (16%).
- Naturalites — primarily concerned about personal health and wellness, and use many natural products; would like to do more to protect the environment (25%).
- Conventionals — practical, like to see the results of what they do; interested in green products that make sense (e.g., save money) in the long run (23%).
- Drifters — not too concerned about environment, figuring we’ve got time to fix environmental problems; don’t necessarily buy a lot of green products, though may like to “be seen” in Whole Foods to enhance their image (23%).
- Unconcerned — have other priorities, not really sure what green products are available, and probably wouldn’t be interested anyway; they buy products strictly on price, value, quality, and convenience (14%).
Notice the decided lack of information on demographics. Both drifters and LOHAS might live in upper middle class neighborhoods. A college degree may be held by both the Unconcerned and the Naturalites. Income? Well, we do know that green products tend to be on the more expensive side but, a true devotee just cuts in other areas.
And so targeting green consumers gets messy. Identifying which segment of the green market is most likely to purchase your product is the first step. That is, your product fills a particular need…which segment feels the need the most? Now how can we use psychographics to locate the appropriate media and promotional tools to reach that segment?
In general, understanding your targeted segment’s interest and hobbies goes a long way toward reaching them. While deep green, LOHAS consumer might be found doing yoga, driving a Prius and visiting the recycling center, a Naturalite might be more likely to drive an SUV but purchase only organic fruits and vegetables and visit a homeopathic Doctor.
Defining these traits through research and often through simply brainstorming and observing can lead to appropriate media selection and more targeted programs. I’ll talk more about this in a future post and give some examples. In the mean time – how do you define your target consumer using psychographics?
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