So, what is demographics? The number one rule in marketing is to ensure you are engaging with your target audience. This engagement is done through your product packaging, the actual product or service, media communication, etc.
In order to accomplish this, you must first define your target audience through a process called segmentation which is the grouping of individuals based on a common characteristic.
A very effective way to segment defines your target audience is through the use of demographics. But what are demographics? Demographics are a set of characteristics based on a person’s age, ethnicity, occupation, level of education, income level, and overall lifestyle. And, demographics define who you are as a person. Therefore, they define how you behave in your everyday life and the way you purchase. Demographics is a popular segmentation tool for several reasons. They are easily defined, effective, and easily implemented.
Let’s make the concept more concrete. Let’s pretend for a moment that you are launching an innovative pre-packaged paleo food line. A 19-year-old is likely to be in college eating lots of pre-packaged food and enjoying the freedom to experience new things. And, a 40-year old housewife is more likely to be in a routine purchasing the same food items every week and eating a higher percentage of home-cooked meals than the 19-year-old. Therefore, the success rate of marketing the pre-packaged paleo food line to the 19-year-old college student is likely to be higher than marketing it to the 40-year old housewife. In this scenario, a good segmentation would be 16-25-years-old students and young professionals who are health-conscious. As easy as that, your target audience is defined.
Now, let’s talk about the feasibility of reaching your target demographic. Grouping a segment of the population into boxes and then targeting them may seem like a daunting task, and it is. In the case of demographics, the information is thoroughly collected by several sources. From census questioners to signing up for a frequent buyer program to making a social media profile, this information is collected with a high level of accuracy. This means that tools which segment by demographic characteristics are readily available. For example, you can purchase ads through social media where you are able to target specific individuals who meet your demographic target defined in your marketing plan. The selections can as specific as interests, level of education, number of children, etc.
Demographic segmentation can also be crossed with other types of segmentation such as geographic segmentation for a broader campaign. For example, you can get information on an entire zip code’s concentration of demographic characteristics. This allows you to target certain parts of the country, state, or county for a targeted approach of geographic zones defined by demographics.
At the end of the day, each demographic characteristic contributes to the statistical probability that an individual may live in a particular zip code, drive a certain car, will attend a certain school, and ultimately purchase a particular product. By defining a target using demographic characteristics, you are able to increase the chances that product will be yours.