Designing Smarter With Psychographics

Why consumer activities, interests, and opinions matter


Before homebuilders and developers break ground on any project, there are countless decisions to address. Some decisions, such as number of units and pricing, will largely be determined by the cost of land and development. Other decisions, such as amenities, design features, and sales strategies are best determined by who the target customers are and what they want. To get these answers right in a competitive market, utilizing a combination of different marketing criteria proves to be a winning approach.


Gathering the Data

For years, demographic information has been the bedrock of marketing data. Physical factors such as age, gender, income, and household size are all typical categories of demographics. With Google Analytics and other data reporting sources, this type of statistical data is relatively easy to obtain. Yet this data is limited in what it can tell you about potential homebuyers and renters. Demographic information cannot tell you what motivates different market segments to buy, or what features and amenities they prefer.

This is where psychographics or AIO variables (activities, interests, and opinions) come in. Psychographic information is typically harder to obtain because it is subjective; however, it gives a much more nuanced representation of who potential customers are. It covers everything from lifestyle to personal values. Knowing what activities potential homebuyers and renters are interested in can help decide which type of amenities, such as golf simulators, clubhouses, pools, etc., are worth the investment. Consumer lifestyle will also determine what types of spaces they want in their homes as well as how they will utilize those spaces. Do they work from home? Do they entertain at home or prefer to go out? Are sustainable products a must-have for them? Answering questions like these will affect everything from floor plans to interior selections.


Overlapping Market Segments

Unlike statistical demographic information, psychographics do not always fit in the same tidy categories. Often, there are market segments that share some of the same interests and desires yet differ in age or motivation. As we have seen over the past several years, there is plenty of overlap in the features and amenities that appeal to baby boomers and millennials. Think smaller spaces, less stuff, and more choices in design features. Either of these consumer groups may be interested in downtown condo property near dining and shopping or suburban single-family homes closer to family. The goal of combining the demographic and psychographic information is to determine common denominators among potential consumer groups and broaden the appeal to those consumers on a personal level. In highly competitive areas, this approach can mean the difference between mediocre sales or selling out quickly.


Making Informed Design Choices

Working with design and architectural firms that use this data as the basis for their design is crucial to maximize a project’s investment. Consumer preferences and lifestyles will inform decisions such as which floor plans would be a better fit and how common areas will be used. Professional interior designers rely on this data for their choice of color palettes, furniture layouts, and artwork selections. Each selection should work in a broader context of appealing to the target customer and enhancing the way they live.

Savvy consumers from all market segments desire personalized experiences and spaces; therefore, interior designers must go beyond just delivering demographic-based design. The challenge is to create environments that resonate with potential homebuyers and renters regardless of whether it is a model home, sales office, or multifamily rental property.


Choosing a Design Firm for Psychographic Appeal

Laura O’Connor Design’s sole focus is the builder and multifamily developer. Execution of understanding the needs of builders and developers alike for both budget and marketing needs is what we do best. From model homes, to apartments and condos, to clubhouses and common areas, we produce design to appeal to all demographic and psychographic target markets which maximizes our clients’ marketing investment.

For more information on how we can improve your return on investment through targeted merchandising, please call Terry O’Connor, VP of Business Development/Owner at, 630-774-0461, or email to, For more information regarding Laura O’Connor Design, visit our website at,

Laura O’Connor is the President of Laura O’Connor Design. She handles everything from presentation to design to final installation and follow-up. She can be reached at

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