Several weeks ago we were going over one of our passions with our marketing students: market research. One of the topics we covered was market segmentation. In academia, the segmentation words are still in full force — demographics, psychographics, geographics, and behavioral.
Many of the students got the gist, but as we were going over real-life examples, they saw that much of marketing and advertising today is geared toward psychographic and behavioral segmentation.
Several reasons. People are mobile; the norm of staying in the town, city, or even state that one grew up in has long since changed. We know people (Millennials, especially) who have moved 5–6 times already. Cultural lines are being shifted too as America continues to speed up its “melting pot” process; we continue to see the mix of cultures. Because of the latest economic downturn, we have more generations under single households than ever before.
Yet, with all those reasons, the American Psychological Association just published a study suggesting that personalities in the United States tend to flock to specific regions of the country. The research, covered in Science Daily, suggests that those in the northern Great Plains and South are more friendly and conventional, those on the Western and Eastern coasts are more creative and relaxed, and the Mid-Atlantic and New-Englanders tend to be more temperamental and uninhibited. The report covered the “Big Five” personality traits — openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism — and covered a 12-year span, including nearly 1.5 million people.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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