Pschographics essentially segments a market, for marketing purposes, by classifying potential customers by their attitudes and values. It is an alternative to classification by social grade.

There are a number of ways of doing this and some methods can be quite detailed but the classifications in a very simple (but very convincing) system, devised by ad agency Young and Rubicam illustrate how this works.:

  • Succeeders: People who are successful and self confident. They tend not to buy aspirational products and follow they own ideas of what is a good product.
  • Reformers: Creative, caring, altruistic, not brand conscious.
  • Aspirers: People who want to "get on".
  • Mainstreamers: The largest segment, conformists who buy "safe", big brand products.

A few examples from other systems show how else the classifications can work:

  • Strivers: status oriented people who seek money, approval and social status. Obvious buyers of "aspirational" goods.
  • Explorers: seek novelty and want to try new things. They are likely to be early adopters of completely new products.
  • Constrained: they are the resigned and struggling poor.

Obviously no system will be perfect but, especially when combined with income data, this is meaningful classification.

Loyalty cards and other systems that build up a profile of customer's buying habits (such as those of on-line retailers such as Amazon) can be very effective in building this sort of profile of customers.