The data analysts from Cambridge Analytica supposedly influenced the US presidential elections with psychographic targeting. This communication system has been common practice in marketing for years now. But the methods are becoming more sophisticated, as the case of the MINI Countryman shows. Time to take stock.
I come back from my holiday and start telling people about it. I tell my parents how nice the weather was. I talk about the unusual shops I came across to my colleagues. My friends get the lowdown on the nightlife. The same holiday, told in three different ways. And everyone gets told the story they want to hear. This is pretty much how psychographic targeting works: the individual user receives precisely the message that corresponds with their current mental disposition. Psychology is regarded as the doctrine of human experience and behaviour. This is why in psychographic targeting, the surfing behaviour of the users is firstly analysed. This happens via cookies.
Someone who is currently interested in extreme sports should be addressed differently to someone who is virtually browsing esoteric guidebooks. If you observe a person’s search history over a longer period, you will start to see patterns in their behaviour. If you compare these patterns with the behaviour of other users, groups can be formed. Svenja, Olaf, Bernd and Inge represent such groups. Or to put it another way: target group models that the MINI brand worked with when the Countryman was launched onto the market at the beginning of the year.
Svenja could just as easily be a woman or a man, in exactly the same way that a user like Olaf could be a man or a woman. And the age doesn’t play a role at this stage either. Sociodemographic information no longer suffices as target group models for creation and media control. It is far too unprecise and therefore only forms the basis of psychographic targeting. Wolfgang Bscheid is Managing Director of the Serviceplan subsidiary Mediascale. He has integrated the method of psychographic targeting into the Serviceplan Group.
Sociodemographic planning is, for Bscheid, like “an initial trim or pruning”. An example: logically, in Germany it makes sense to advertise your car to people over 18 because it is only from this age that a driver’s license can be used without restrictions. And a premium car brand is best off appealing to people who have a
high net household income. So far, so logical. But the description “30-year-old software specialist” doesn’t say very much about the personality of the person. A media planner wouldn’t put a computer nerd who still lives at home with his parents in the same category as the CEO of a promising start-up company.
“Everyone’s seen the picture of the Porsche parked outside an Aldi,” says Dennis Hofmann, Strategy Director at Serviceplan Consulting Group Hamburg. “Why? – Because it implies the question: where is the congruence? How do Porsche and Aldi both apply to one personality? Sociodemographics don’t help us here,” says Hofmann. Svenja, Olaf, Bernd and Inge are described as personas.
These are brand-related behavioural frequencies that have been given random human names to help us visualise them better. Olaf, for example, acts emotionally, is performance-oriented and extremely spontaneous. He is an alpha-type and acts logically. You can show Olaf a car whizzing along a winding mountain road. Svenja, on the other hand, is a lot calmer and more thoughtful. She would be open to an advertising visual that emphasises the safety of the car, showing, for example, that it received five stars in the NCAP crash test. The fact that these cumulative behavioural frequencies are given personal names also helps the creatives at Serviceplan Campaign. If you are designing advertising messages, you always have an idea in your mind of the people these messages should make an impact on. If you can visualise your target group, you have automatic guidelines for your own creativity. When the MINI Countryman was launched onto the market in February, it was accompanied by a whole host of digital visuals. Serviceplan Campaign designed over 200 images that were delivered to the people behind the personas using the psychographic targeting system. “If you compare the campaign for the MINI Clubman from 2015 with the campaign for the MINI Countryman from 2017, we have four times the amount of visuals now,” reports Marc Lengning, who manages the MINI brand internationally.
Editor Werben & Verkaufen