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Data with a Difference

By merging cookie data with psychographic research, businesses can leverage both streams to maximum potency.

The Data Protection and Digital Privacy bill currently making its way through Parliament is a wake-up call for business relying on these sources to track and analyse their customers. The bill will eliminate third party cookies making it harder to track consumers looking for a broader view on lifestyle habits. However, even without this imminent issue, many companies are already aware of the limitations of this type of data and are choosing to supplement their streams with alternative methods of research to gain a more rounded view of their consumers.

While customer data has undoubtably changed the way companies gain their insights it’s not without limitations. Data won’t differentiate your business by itself. According to Salesforce's 2022 survey of nearly 10,000 business leaders across ten countries, one third stated they were unable to generate insights from their data (1). While effective for tracking customers journeys and offering a more personalised experience, data will tell you exactly what your consumers are browsing and buying, but it won’t tell you why. For that smart businesses are investing in psychographic research.

Psychographic research aims to capture a person’s values, social status, lifestyle, attitudes, interests and personality traits to construct a blueprint of how your customer views the world and what will motivate their decisions and actions. Common psychographic variables considered to influence buyer behaviour include Personality, Lifestyle, Social Status, Values and Activities, Interests and Opinions. Overlaying existing customer transactional history and browsing behaviour with psychographic intelligence helps to fill in the gaps and clarify the clues consumers have left in their digital wakes. By merging data with psychographic research, retailers and brands can leverage both insight streams to their optimum value.

However, collecting psychographic information can be complex, time consuming, expensive and very hard to get right. Identifying the focus area and developing questions can be tricky as it is common to make assumptions about the target market. Asking the right questions in the right way is crucial to unlocking the desired information, while also removing ambiguity. It essential that these factors are addressed prior to conducting the research. Analysis of the gathered data also requires clearly defined standards for interpretation otherwise results will be inconsistent and misleading. Data must also be ethically sourced and stored following industry standard codes for best practices. A skilled research lead is therefore essential, before, during and after the data collection. It is vital that researchers hold a deep knowledge and experience of the area of research as well an understanding of the most appropriate methods of information collection.

By segmenting people according to their psychographic profiles, once the distinct consumer segments are established, researchers can then analyse how the segments differ across purchasing behaviours e.g. time and effort spent, wish list behaviours, purchasing frequency, attitude to returns, eco friendliness, seeking assistance, etc. Or uncover unseen motivations and attitudes driving buyer decisions for example, changing attitudes to workwear; perceived value of performance fabrics; need for modest dressing options etc. Segmenting customer groups based on different consumption traits this way provides insights for retailers looking to build competitor advantage such as:

Emotional Marketing.  By uncovering consumers core beliefs instigating their purchasing decisions, retailers can hone brand messaging to engage customer’s inner motivations to form an emotional bond. Identifying and addressing customer’s needs in this way will build brand engagement into to a loyal, long term relationship.  

Accurate Forecasting.  By stepping into consumers thoughts, retailers can learn more about their customers motivations and to help predict their future behaviour. Optimising intelligence streams to maximum potency enables companies to move their strategies from reactive based on past detected patterns, to proactive by anticipating future behaviours.

Informed Strategies. Business decisions - from production development to merchandising and marketing - are anchored in consumer needs and wants, resulting in more accurate strategies for business growth.

For more information on psychographic data and how Factory Forecasting can help you develop, analyse and apply this type of research please click here or contact


1.      Salesforce & YouGov. (2023, February 22). 73% of Business Leaders Believe Data Reduces Uncertainty and Drives Better Decisions — So Why Aren’t They Using It? Retrieved March 22, 2024, from



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