Screw Psychographics: The Two Things You REALLY Need to Know About Your Customer

I love marketing. It's a hobby and a passion of mine, but there are some elements of it that leave me scratching my head in confusion. Like when it comes to psychographics. Psychographics go much deeper than your baseline demographics of age, sex, location, income level, and dig deep into the preferences, aspirations, hobbies, likes and dislikes, lifestyles, opinions of your ideal customer, allllll the way down to how they take their coffee. I've seen these psychographic worksheets take up 12 pages, and let me tell you, it's kinda mind numbing. 


Don't get me wrong, psychographics can be useful in some cases, but I see a lot of digital entrepreneurs spinning so many wheels and wasting so much time trying to figure out the favorite color of their "avatar," or ideal client, that it becomes a crutch.

It becomes the thing you can feel good about spending time on because it's "market research." You put in all this effort thinking that knowing this type of information will actually HELP your product appeal to your target audience when actually it's just masking the fear of moving forward. The fear of taking a risk. The fear of failure. 

I see you. I know it's fear. And I know it because I've been there. 

Don't let fear keep you from introducing your product to your ideal customer. Don't let fear of failure keep you from making that jump, because all you're doing is frustrating yourself and preventing your ideal customer from transforming into the person they want to be after they take your course, or coaching program, or mastermind, or membership. 

Get in, get out, get moving, is what I always say. Well, I guess I say it now. 

Toss out those psychographic novels because the only things you REALLY need to know about your customer are below. And guess what — there are only two things. 

1. The problems you are solving and for whom

The reason you are here is to solve problems and make it easier for someone to transform their lives. If you don't know the problems you are solving with your product or service, then you should take a few steps back to figure that out first. Whether you're helping lawyers learn Facebook ads, teaching retired dads to play the guitar online, helping new bloggers automate their content calendars — know what problems you are solving and for whom. 

The catch here is, you really don't need to know how they take their coffee. You just need to know who they are, what their problems are, and how you're solving them. 

2. The "Real Why," or emotional connection to your product. 

The human brain is an amazing thing. Allow me to get science-y for a second. Humans have a three-part brain: the original, the limbic, and the neocortex. The original brain controls our gut reactions, our senses, our ability to recognize patterns and gauge safety. For reference, reptiles stopped developing at the original brain. The Limbic system controls our emotions, and turns perceptions into emotional and physical responses. The Neocortex is our newest brain, and some might think is the most developed and dominant because it controls rational thinking.

But that would be incorrect. 

The limbic system is the Grand Central Station of the brain, interfacing both with the original brain and the neocortex, and not only is it actually the most active part of our brain, the signals leaving the limbic system are more powerful than the ones leaving the neocortex so what this means is emotion drives reason more than reason drives emotion.

In other words, we are not as rational as we like to think we are and people do not buy products based on rational reasons to do so — they buy because of their emotional response. 

So when you're pitching your product to your ideal customer, you can't give them the rational reasons to buy — the number of modules, the price, the features and the like. You need to give them the emotional reasons to buy or "the real why" as I like to call it. These reasons are how it will make them feel — from tapping into the struggles they're facing now to the transformation they'll undergo, the promise of who they'll be when you're done with them, and how it feels buying from YOU. 

  • No: The course is 8 modules and 20 hours of instruction
  • Yes: You always wanted to be a rock star, and now you'll be able to from the comfort of your own home. 
  • No: You'll get 14 ready to make recipes and a shopping list
  • Yes: You won't have to think about dinner for two weeks which means more time to kick your feet up and relax. 

This is the most important part of selling your product or service. Because our brains are wired for emotional connections, you NEED to draw on that for the marketing and sales of your product. People do not buy for rational reasons; They buy for emotional ones.  

What's the transformation? What's the promise? Who will they be after using your product or service? How will they FEEL once they've transformed? These are all better questions to ask about your ideal client than their favorite color or what flavor ice cream they prefer. I can promise you that much. 

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