A critical evaluation of the contribution of psychographic measures as descriptor variables in the profiling of market segments for a specific industry

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Psychographic measures were widely employed in market segmentation studies in the seventies. Psychographics were said to offer marketers quantitative research that resulted in rich descriptive profiles of target segments. The present use of psychographics in segmentation studies has however become a controversial issue among marketing theorists. The literature reveals that no explicit theory has guided the development of psychographics. As a result it has been abused by researchers. There is no one universally accepted definition of psychographics and researchers tend to operationalize psychographics to fit their own research purposes. Psychographics has consequently attracted criticism in the literature. Critics argue that psychographic measures are useless and expensive. Moreover, it is felt that psychographic segmentation studies often produce results that are questioned on the grounds of reliability and validity. On the other hand, supporters of psychographic research feel that psychographic measures can be of value in segmentation studies. It is the author's intention in this thesis to address the conflicting opinions surrounding the potential usefulness of including psychographic variables in a market segmentation analysis.

Includes bibliography.