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Small Business Development Center

Sounds magical… mystical, doesn’t it? 

When it comes to marketing your business, psychographics is the Holy Grail. While business owners can usually describe the demographics of their target audience (attributes such as age, gender, household income, educational attainment, home ownership status, and ethnicity), fewer business owners consider their target audience’s attitudes or mindsets, hopes and desires, lifestyle characteristics, interests and opinions, and other psychological conditions or norms (i.e. psychographics). 

The most straightforward article I’ve found on using psychographics to market your business can be found at:

Take five minutes to read that article then come back to this blogpost! 

Oh boy. So you don’t have time to take a deep dive into your web analytics or conduct a survey of your current customer base? Fortunately, there are businesses such as Esri (Environmental Systems Research Institute), EASI (Easy Analytic Software Inc.) and Claritas that have conducted nationwide in-depth research and tabulated results, formulating what is referred to as life stage clusters, social groups, or market or tapestry segments.

Personally, I prefer Esri’s FREE zip code Tapestry Segmentation, found at: It’s easy to type in your zip code and get a snapshot and description of the top segments in your area. 

For example, for zip code 98226 (“North” Bellingham), we can see the top segments are Old and Newcomers, Bright Young Professional, and Green Acres.

psychographic zip code segment
When you click on Read More in the Segment Description box, you’ll get a pretty awesome four page report to help stimulate your creative marketing juices. 

For example, the Old and Newcomers report: contains the following excerpts. 

psychographic description

market profile descriptionhousehold budget description

Here’s the link to the full Old and Newcomers report from Esri:

Let’s think for a minute about how you might use the information above to market your product or service…

  • Given that this population is tech-savvy, price aware, community-oriented, but open to impulse buys, consider offering spontaneous discounts to customers if they send a text or social media blitz to their contacts at the time of their purchase. If their contacts also purchase within a set time frame, they too would receive the discount.
  • Consider signage or other promotion on or along bike or pedestrian routes near your business (this could mean an ad on the bus or logoed stickers for bicycles, for example).
  • Organize events for singles to come together to enjoy your product or learn about your service.
  • For the placement of your stories (press releases, videos, and articles), consider university or college newspapers, dating sites, retirement publications. 
  • Get to know property management companies and/or landlords in the neighborhood. Provide them with coupons to share with new renters.
  • Partner with or “advertise” with neighborhood associations, other neighborhood businesses, schools, or community groups. This could involve:
    • Becoming a member of these groups and regularly attend meetings, gatherings, or events. Make your face known (and always wear a t-shirt or hat with your company name/logo on it J).
    • Ensuring you have a social media presence and are connected and engaged with the above groups.
    • “Sponsoring” these types of activities by providing samples of your product or by helping to pay for promotional material that benefit you both.
  • Integrate sustainable practices into every aspect of the way you do business, such as:

The more you look, speak, and think like your customers, the more connected and loyal they will feel towards you.

Do you need help analyzing pyschographic information of your current (or potential) customers and formulating a marketing strategy to help grow and sustain your business? If so, the business advisors at the SBDC can’t wait to hear from you! Give us a jingle at 360-778-1762 or shoot us an email at to schedule a no-cost appointment today!

Post date: 201808

In your mind’s eye, envision ABUNDANCE. 

What imagery comes to mind? How does abundance feel? How do you look when you are abundant? What happens in your life? 

Seriously, this is your official invitation to:

  • Pause
  • Close your eyes 
  • Breathe 5 to 10 deep, slow inhales and exhales 
  • Bring ABUNDANCE to your mind or repeat it as a mantra
  • Notice how ABUNDANCE stimulates or resonates in your mind, body and soul 

When I envision abundance, my shoulders, jaw and scalp relax. I find deeper breaths without extra effort or focus. I am more present and patient. I limit less and see more possibilities, connections and opportunities. I feel energy in each cell of my being that seems to radiate.

Typically, waterfalls are what my brain conjures as an image of abundance. Always cascading. Pouring into the flow. While the waterfall may slow at times, it doesn’t stop. 

waterfall image
Other visuals that appear: 
Farmland that gives back year over year and a cornucopia spilling over from the harvest. For me, the cornucopia is also a symbol of gratitude, which is a reminder that gratitude is a necessary part evoking and living from abundance. 

wheat fields image

If you’re a linguist-type and prefer definitions, a few definitions of abundance I like are: 

  • an ample quantity
  • extremely plentiful, over sufficient quantity or supply
  • overflowing fullness
  • to have more than you need 

In my previous post, What I Learned from Daring Women, I mentioned the abundance mindset applied to business as a lens for seeing competitors as collaborators and holding space, without fear, for our own unique brands, products and services to succeed. 

The “without fear” piece is essential as fear pits a scarcity mindset. Scarcity derives from envy and survival of the fittest. It squashes creativity and chokes out possibility.  Scarcity says, “There isn’t enough market. There isn’t enough money. There’s limited everything! Who are YOU to do THAT?” 

But really, who are you not to? 

What if we saw our businesses or careers as waterfalls? Ever flowing, growing and creating more energy. Each of the falls spilling into the pools and rivers below leading to the next outlet, venture or success. Stirring more impact than we could have imagined alone. 

What doors would open? What inspiration would strike? 

What if we viewed our basic needs as a plentiful harvest? Enough to go around, so that I feel overly satisfied physiologically, financially and relationally. That you can experience the same. 

Would we feel more community than competition or comparison? Could we experience greater belonging and, therefore, more happiness and self-actualization? 

mindset table graphic
Table: 10 Steps to Develop an Abundance Mindset

So, how can we all make the abundance mindset and lifestyle actionable? 

Practice, practice, practice!

Practice noticing what triggers scarcity mode. What sends you, personally, into fight-or-flight mode? 

In those moments, can you step back and take 5 to 10 deep, slow breaths? Reorient the thought process. 

Practice gratitude. What awesome things are happening? It could be as routine as seeing the sunrise, a great manicure, being employed, finishing a chore or coffee with a friend. 

Practice being curious. Are there or could there be unexpected connections between topics, industries, events, people? What could manifest through a possibility-based, instead of fear-based, mindset? 

It’s a practice not a perfect, but the outcome is so positive why not try? At the very least, day-to-day activity feels more energized and purposeful. 

I love this quote (from a debatable source), “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” 

Be and experience excellence by making abundance a mental habit. 

Breathe it in. Live it out. Let abundance support and overflow in your life.  

quote about radiant thoughts

Post date: 201808

Wizard of Oz ImageFor folks new to business, figuring out how to manage one can seem a little bit like getting to the Wizard’s chamber in the Wizard of Oz. 

There’s a long road just to get to the Emerald City, there’s a guardian at the gate, lengthy hallways and multiple areas to walk through in the city. When you finally get to the mysterious inner royal chamber which is equivalent to opening your doors for business, Oh my! What’s the protocol to operate in the inner sanctum where there’s someone apparently magically capable of doing things? It seems like there are tons of unwritten rules and secrets to this place, and it feels like whoever the magical business wizard behind the curtain is, has all the secrets. 

Luckily, much like the Wizard in Oz, when we pull back the curtain on the magical mystery of business, it’s usually a well educated operator utilizing simple controls for success.  

The steps to manage a business and learn those controls are pretty straightforward. It will take work to learn them, and mostly likely, some days it will feel like a grind to keep the controls running. 

The steps outlined below assume there was planning (ideally a business plan with hearty financial projections!) to build off of. These bullet points are intentionally brief as each topic could take hours to talk through and quite literally has books written on it. For the new business manager, being aware of them is a good start.
1. Understand your Mechanics
In any business, a natural first step is articulating the business’s basic mechanics. Hopefully, you have a business plan and can use that as a prompt and incorporate any changes that happened in doing the hard work of actually opening your doors for business! If you don’t have a written plan or one outlined in your head, it’s even more important to do these steps. 

a. What is the operational flow of your business? Meaning, how do you create the product or service you offer? Where do you get your components or inputs? How do you sell your product or service?

b. What are your fixed costs? Examples of fixed costs are what you pay to lease your office space, salaries, insurance, property taxes, and interest expense. 

c. What are your variable costs? Examples of variable costs are raw materials, utility costs, direct labor costs, packaging supplies, shipping costs, and sales commissions. 

d. What are your costs and margins on individual products? Now that the doors are open, are you selling every product or service for more than it costs to make it? 

e. Are you maximizing efficiency in all tasks, and are you getting the best price on the components or product inputs you need without sacrificing the standard of quality on your product or service? 

Basically, you want to know the hum of your business engine and what it sounds like during optimal performance. How do the components and gears work together? Is it smooth, or does something need to be tuned? Is it time for a new supplier due to faulty parts or unreliable deliveries? 

How is cash running through the business? Cashflow is the fuel that keeps the business running. Is there enough fuel? Is it coming out of the tailpipe without sputtering? Cashflow is so important, that it’s the subject of Part II in our de-mystification series, which we’ll cover more in depth at a later date. 

For now, spend time digging into your mechanics and getting to know your business so there’s no mystery to how it operates!

Post date: 201808