The Social Technographics Profile

What Does That Even Mean?

Social makes reference to the activities that people do with other people

Technographics  makes reference to Forrester Research’s tool for observing customers technology behaviours 

Profile refers to just that, a profile comparing two groups of people 

The main goal of this tool is the group people based on what they do within the groundswell activities that they join in on. In essence, it is a participation tool. Before going further, Li and Bernoff (2011) made it clear that “people aren’t alike and won’t respond in the same way” meaning if you treat everyone the same your ultimately fate will be failure. Interactions between the people who create, react or just read make the internet what it is and businesses and even people need to realize that there are levels of people on the internet. 

“A strategy that treats everyone alike will spell failure-people aren’t alike and won’t respond in the same way.” 

Climbing the Social Technographics Ladder 

Forrester Research classifies consumers on a ladder to represent how at each step up they get more involved  in groundswell than the previous step. 


Creators: publish/upload content at least once a month

Conversationalists: participate in frequent dialogue with other users

Critics: react to other content by posting comments 

Collectors: save and collect content 

Joiners: maintain profiles on sites 

Spectators: Consume what other users produce by reading and/or watching 

Inactives: non-participants 

Applying the Ladder to a Target Market 

While knowing these classifications is great, Li and Bernoff say the real power is using these in a business strategy in order appeal to your target market or your direct customer base. Knowing your customers if key to an successful business. 

If I were to look at a specific target market, such as the car industry in regards to the Forrester tool below, we can see what classification may best fit our goals and thus be implemented in our strategy. 


Here it is easy to see that the majority of young adults in Canada are joiners and spectators. Meaning, that they participate and maintain profiles on social media sites mostly to view content on those sites. Thus, going forward we know that a large consumer base is online where we need to be. Next, if I was the media manager at a dealership I would know that these consumers are most likely going to watch but not react. Thus, a video, image or post must be attention grabbing to make these consumers go to the next step and get active within the brand.

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA, United States of America: Harvard Business Review Press.


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