Social Technographic Profile


For my blog this week, I would like to talk about the importance of using social technographic profile. According to Bernoff and Li (2011), social technographic profile are tools that allow “people in business to examine and then create strategies based on the groundswell tendencies of any group of people, anywhere” (p. 41). It is a way to group people based on activities they participate in, and it helps businesses to segregate potential customers into groupings.

The figure below classifies consumers according to their involvement, and their level of participation in the groundswell:



We can use this ladder and apply it to different variables using the free Forester Social Technographic Tool. For example, on figure 3.1 below, 26% of Canadian men from 25-34 years old are Creators; 43% are critics; 27% are collectors, and so on. Playing around with the Forester tool, I noticed that among the groups, Spectators has the highest percentage no matter what profile I choose. I believe this is because it does not take much to just browse around the web than to create something – think of how many people, and how many hours they spent from scrolling down Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc..

We can also use this tool to examine how each groups are represented;therefore, making it easier for the firm’s marketing department to figure out a way that would appeal to each group.

Figure 3.1


Using a medium-market accounting firm, for example. Individuals and business owners who are looking for financial services are the key target market of these accounting firms. The age range could be as low as 18 years old to as high as 80 years old. Since there is a wide gap on the age range, I would use the median which is 45-54 years old, in Canada, and without a specific gender. Instead of focusing a strategy to appeal to creators, it is better to focus the marketing effort towards spectators and joiners because they participate more on these specific groups at this age range. These can save a company from placing emphasis on the wrong strategy.

figure 3.2

Forrester 2

Before I finish this blog, I just wanted share with everyone a very nice point made by  Bernoff and Li (2011), which is the answer to why people participate in groundswell. They gave many answers, and all of them are right. I would only give an example of the ones that sounds unfamiliar. Here are they:

  1. Keeping up with friends 
  2. Making new friends
  3. Succumbing to social pressure from existing friends
  4. Paying it forward
  5. The altruistic impulse –  People that wants to contribute, eg. Wikipedia
  6. The prurient impulse – I cannot think of an example, but this is define as having or encouraging an excessive interest in sexual matters.
  7. The creative impulse –  People who likes artsy stuff and wants to share it with the world, eg. Flickr, YouTube, etc…
  8. The validation impulse – People who ask questions on forums such as Yahoo!
  9. The affinity impulse – Forums where people can discuss common interest such as sports, foods, etc…


Forrester Research. (2016). Social technological profile tool. Retrieved from

Li, C., Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing


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