Psychographics: An Overlooked Building Block for Sponsorship Sales

Psychographics: A Critical Building Block for Sponsorship SeekersSo, you target women 18-34, living in your geographic catchment area. That seems specific enough. So, how are you going to entice them to attend your event, or whatever you have on offer? How are you going to showcase the value and relevance of the market to potential sponsors?

Based on the demographic information provided, you could only guess. What you need are psychographic insights to know how to influence these people, and how a sponsor could. Not clear on the difference?

  • Demographics are hard information about a group of people – age, gender, location, schooling, family, income, socioeconomic, profession, etc.
  • Psychographics provide insight into a group’s motivations, priorities, preferences, lifestyles, and values. Psychographics will pinpoint hot buttons, perceptions, and attitudes. Psychographics tell you why the care about what you do, why they’re fans.

In other words, demographics detail what a person is; psychographics detail who a person is.

Psychographics are critically important to understand and use, both for marketing to your audience and for sponsorship sales. That’s not to say that demographics are totally useless, but they are much more likely to tell you who you aren’t targeting than who you are.

For instance, if you’re marketing a free mammogram service, you know who’s not going to come? Men. But that doesn’t mean women will automatically book an appointment just because they have boobs. No, for that, you have to appeal to their psychographics. If you’re trying to entice people to attend a $1000-a-plate dinner, you know who won’t come? People who can’t afford it. But again, that doesn’t mean people will attend just because they can afford it. That’s all about appealing to their psychographics.

Below, I’ve outlined four reasons why it is critical  to segment your markets psychographically, but these are just the biggies. There are dozens upon dozens of reasons that taking this step is critical to your success. It’s one of the most basic building blocks of marketing and sponsorship.

Your markets don’t all need, want, or expect the same things

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a one-size fits all marketing message that would resonate equally well with everyone you’re targeting? It would, but there isn’t. In fact, the main motivations why people attend your event, join your association, buy season tickets, or whatever are so diverse that any attempt to be relevant to all of them would be so generic as to be completely ineffective. “Come to our event. It will be fun!” “Join the association because… umm… you’re an accountant!” You get the picture.

The primary thing on which you should segment is a target market’s main motivation for being a fan. For a museum, these could be:

  • A passion for history
  • Enriching their children’s education
  • Occupying their children during school holidays and/or bad weather
  • Interest in a specific exhibit

There are probably a few more primary motivations, but for expediency, let’s just go with these. Take the parents, for example. The two lots of parents that are there for the kids may be demographically identical (age, gender, household income, location, etc), but their motivations are very different, as are their needs, expectations, and what they would consider an ideal visit to the museum. By understanding the different motivations, you can tailor both the experiences and your marketing to different groups.

It’s the difference between communicating with your target markets and yelling in their general direction

Following on from the different needs and expectations of the target markets, all of your psychographic segments will respond to different marketing messages. Taking the above four psychographic groups, the general theme of the messages targeting each of them could be:

  • Passionates – Where history comes to life
  • Enrichers – We make learning fun
  • Occupiers – Free activities for kids every day of school holidays
  • One-exhibit – Experience this once-only exhibition while you have the chance

There will certainly be cross-overs, and the primary motivation for one target market may be a secondary motivation for another.

What I want you to take away from this is that it is much preferable to understand your target markets and be specific about the messages for them, than to water down your message into a one-size-fits-all that doesn’t really hit the mark with any of them. It’s also much better to, for instance, run multiple, targeted social campaigns with specific messages, than to run one campaign with all of the conflicting messages incorporated.

Sponsors need this information to make a decision

Most sponsors segment their target markets psychographically. They have arranged their marketing plans around psychographics, and pushing those hot buttons to get someone to change their behaviours and perceptions around their brands.

They understand – and have for some time – that you could have a room full of 24-year old women from one suburb, but between them, they could have many, many priorities, motivations, and passions, and that only some of them will be in their target markets. So, what happens when you send them a proposal that says you target 18-34 year old women? They think, “What kind of women?” That’s what they care about – what kind of women – not their age or where they live. And if you don’t provide it, they won’t be able to tell if the most basic fit – is your property relevant to a market they’re targeting – is there.

Sponsors need this information to leverage the investment

Your job, as a rightsholder, is to be a conduit through which a sponsor can connect to a target market. Sponsors do this by:

  • Aligning with the target markets’ priorities, values, and motivations.
  • Understanding the target markets’ experience at your event (or whatever).
  • Adding value to that experience by improving the bad stuff and/or amplifying the good stuff.

They can’t do any of that if they don’t understand the priorities, values, motivations, and perceptions of the target markets. It’s their job to create a leverage plan. It’s your job to provide them with the right information so they can.

A sponsor is no better off running a one-size-fits-all leverage program than you are running a one-size-fits-all marketing campaign. Good sponsors will understand all of the motivations, needs, and challenges of the target markets that are interesting to them, and create added-value and alignment activities for each of them.

For more on how to parse your total audience into psychographic segments, you may want to pick up a copy of The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 4th Edition, which outlines the whole process (and a lot more). The process is also explored in depth in my online short course, Marketing Plans for Rightsholders. Better yet, take the comprehensive sponsorship course, Getting to “Yes”, for marketing plans and everything you need to know to sell and service sponsorship.

Need more assistance?

You may also be interested in my white papers,  “Last Generation Sponsorship Redux” and “Disruptive Sponsorship: Like Disruptive Marketing, Only Better“. I’ve also got self-paced, online sponsorship training courses, covering the whole sponsorship process, with lots of inclusions. Interested? Check out the Corporate Sponsorship Masterclass for sponsors and Getting to “Yes” for rightsholders.

If you need additional assistance, I offer sponsorship consulting and strategy sessions, sponsorship training, and sponsorship coaching. I also offer a comprehensive Sponsorship Systems Design service for large, diverse, and decentralised organisations.

Please feel free to drop me a line to discuss.

Please note, I do not offer a sponsorship broker service, and can’t sell sponsorship on your behalf. You may find someone appropriate on my sponsorship broker registry.

© Kim Skildum-Reid. All rights reserved. To enquire about republishing or distribution, please see the blog and white paper reprints page.

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