Question Number 3: How do you gather psychographic data?

All of you market researchers are scratching your heads already.  Yes, we know what psychographics are, and we know why they're important.  Now tell us how to get them and use them! Really, it's not as hard as you might think.  It just takes a bit more time than typical statistics.

Demographic information is easy.  You ask a handful of profiling questions in a research survey and count the answers.  I know, it's a bit more complicated than that to actually analyze the data, but I'm talking about pure collection.  Statistical data is all in the numbers.  While psychographic data can be reduced to numbers, it's grounded in qualitative data first.

Survey Question: What is your household's average annual income?

Demographic Answer: $60,000

Psychographic Data: Everything else they said, the tone of voice used when answering the question, the interviewee's posture, etc.

In a psychographic interview, you want to do as little talking as possible - but you should be taking a lot of notes.  If the interviewee answers a question, the way they answer is just as important as the answer itself.  Did they smile thoughtfully when the number rolled of their tongue?  Did they seem a bit frustrated that another market research wanted into their wallet?  Did they answer quickly so you could move on to the rest of the survey?

By itself, this one question doesn't tell you much about the individual.  But in reality, you're looking for trends throughout the interview.  There's a lot that body language can tell you about someone's opinions of a product, whether they say they like it or not.  You should be focused on everything so you can paint an accurate story around this interview.

Then you throw it in the bucket with all of your other interviews, shake lightly, and pull out a psychographic profile of your perfect customer.