What is psychographic data? How is it different from demographic data?

Demographic data brings useful insight to broad differences and commonalities among restaurant guests, such as age, race, location or employment status. Knowledge of the demographics of your customers is extremely helpful in media planning, for instance, where an understanding of this information can help with location targeting. Most restaurant operators are acutely aware of the demographic makeup of their customer base and use this data to guide strategy and planning.

Psychographic data provides a look into a customer’s attitudes, personality and values. Psychographics are also referred to as IAO variables: interest, activities and opinions, three key areas of psychographic research. Psychographic data can provide deeper insight to restaurant operators and marketers by painting a larger picture about what motivates customers. As technology continues to evolve at an exponential rate, psychographic data is becoming more readily accessible to marketers.

Where to find psychographic data

Traditional methods such as customer surveys, interviews and focus groups are proven ways to obtain psychographic data from your target audience. Many restaurants utilize the check drop after an order or meal as an opportunity to gain valuable information on their customers by including a survey. Brands also leverage email lists to get more personal with their existing customer base and request feedback.

Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K) has revealed a strong correlation between social media metrics and operational performance (read Why Social Data Matters to Your Operations Director to learn which social data you should be tracking). Social media monitoring and analytics also gives restaurant marketers quick and easy access to psychographics. Facebook Audience Insights, for example, allows marketers the ability to segment their audience by demographics, then look at affinities and “page likes” for customers that fall within those categories. Google Analytics offers a similar feature – marketers can view the top affinity categories for their audience, then dig into the demographics for each of those segments.

In addition to the tools embedded in your regular social channels, restaurant marketers can extract actionable information through sentiment analysis of guest reviews and testimonials. By analyzing the emotional tone behind a sequence of words, marketers can develop a deeper understanding of customer attitudes, emotions and opinions. Social monitoring tools automate this process and bring real-time insights directly from social and review channels (visit our service page to learn more about Guest Intelligence (formerly Guest Intelligence (formerly White Box Social Intelligence)), Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K)’s platform that tracks your net sentiment score).


How to act on all this data

An abundance of psychographic data can seem overwhelming at first, but once it is consolidated into a central location, it can be analyzed to create refined segments of your audience. These highly targeted segments will help guide your overall messaging and distribution strategy. With a deeper understanding of guest’s attitudes and motivation, you can appeal more to your customers interests and write more emotionally captivating advertisements.

If you operate a seafood brand, for example, you may not be shocked to learn that your audience has an affinity for casual or fine dining. With further exploration, you may also learn that a segment of your customers are serious travelers. This additional information could lead to a targeted campaign that you might not have previously considered, with high potential for return.   

Psychographics certainly bring more insight to your audience; however, this data leans more to the predictive side on the spectrum of certainty. As with any other application of data, A/B testing will help hone in on what works best for your brand and psychographic data will enhance this process.

Your overall distribution strategy can be tweaked and refined with the application of psychographics. You may find more return in crafting different messaging for your Facebook followers, versus your audience that spends more time on Pinterest. Or perhaps you may add new or eliminate existing channels if you discover an area with higher overall return.


What’s next?

Navigating the ever-growing data landscape brings new challenges for marketers along with plenty of room for opportunity. Combining psychographic data with existing demographic data paints a more complete picture of your customers and eliminates the guessing game that often occurs when forming a strategy. Ultimately, psychographic data makes it possible for restaurant operators to deliver what customers already expect: a personalized experience.

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