Psychographics of hipsters explains how Pabst Blue Ribbon’s (or PBR) rise and fall is a story of a market finding a product. PBR has been around for 170 years but only in 2008, enjoyed a 6-year boom in popularity (outside of a brief moment in the 1970s).
It is better to find an under-served market and create a product/service for them than wait for a market to find your product/service.
Q: How to Find an Under-Served Market? A: Market Research
There are many sources at your disposal to gain a deeper insight into who your customers are and segments within that market.
- Ask potential customers: Surveying is a form of primary market research. Ask them how they use their product, and what they like/dislike about it. How long have they used it, is it expensive, how does it make them feel, etc. These questions will give you valuable insight into the psychology of the user.
- Pose as a customer and visit your competitor’s store/website. Learn how they do what they do. See what they do well, and what they can improve on. Sometimes employees are very happy to share details you cannot find anywhere else.
- Industry and market research companies such as IBISWorld, Pew Research Center, Audience Overlap Tool, and Statista are loaded with great information. The downside is that they can be expensive. Less expensive options include the SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurship, US Census data, and older reports/white papers.
- Industry and trade publications for your particular sector are also great sources of information. Some are free, while some require memberships.
So, going back to Hipsters:
Hipsters are known for following the latest trends and fashions while eschewing things regarded as being within the cultural mainstream. Hence the term, “I was into __________ before it was cool.”
So why did hipsters like PBR? To put it simply, it was “retro chic,” and anti-mainstream, and with many people still trying to recover from an economic recession, Pabst Blue Ribbon’s low price point was an attractive option. This brings us to a tool in marketing used to find customer groups: psychographics.
What are Psychographics?
Psychographics are metrics used in market research as a way to divide consumers into sub-groups based on shared psychological characteristics, including subconscious or conscious beliefs, motivations, and priorities, to explain and predict consumer behavior. Any dimension can be used to segment a group of consumers, such as style, variety, availability, price, etc.
Hipsters avoided things that were popular, and some of them were not price-sensitive, so they were willing to consider a range of beers that occupied a certain psychographic zone.
As PBR’s popularity grew, it was departing from the zone of consideration – the region of price and popularity where hipsters were willing to purchase from. Also, as hipsterism became more mainstream, the association of PBR with hipsters caused a self-fueling downward cycle.
How to Use Psychographics for Business?
It is better to find an under-served market and create a product/service for them than wait for a market to find your product/service since you don’t have over one hundred fifty years for your product or service to be found by a market. You can read about more businesses that found a need and filled that need.
Your Startup Guru used psychographic analysis to differentiate our client’s brand from that of their competitors yet stay true to their envisioned identity. Psychographics are used in market research as a way to divide consumers into sub-groups based on shared psychological characteristics. Age (Young vs. Established), Popularity (Unique vs. Mainstream), Price (Expensive vs. Inexpensive), and Style (Function vs. Fashion) was used to find the spaces their competitors occupy, and there might be an opportunity for our client to find an under-served market. In the case of our client, they wanted to stay within a fairly competitive zone of youthful, unique, pricey, and fashionable. However, if a brand wants to target an older, fashion-forward market, then research into the type of prints they like, how and where they wear the product, how the product makes them feel, etc., through surveys, focus groups, and informational interviews will be invaluable.
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