So much of marketing is based on people — specifically, the people marketing is targeting. For marketing to be truly effective, understanding your target marketing demographics is key to optimizing ROI. A company selling chains for car tires to be used during winter storms would be incredibly unsuccessful if they used a substantial amount of their marketing dollars to target people in Texas versus somewhere like Maine.
Marketing demographics are, at the most basic level, the entry to understanding where you should target your audience (especially digitally). At the highest level, they’re key to understanding the motives, decisions, or actions of your potential customers. To stick with the basics of marketing demographics and how they influence your strategy, we’ll start by breaking down some of the most basic demographics you should track and why they’re important.
There’s a reason the battle of the sexes has persisted as a theme for as long as it has. Sure, women and men think and react differently to certain things, but even more base level, they use the internet entirely different. While men have gradually caught up with women in overall social media usage, there are differences in platform usage.
Women are more likely to spend time on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram, while men prefer forum-based social channels like Digg or Reddit. In e-commerce, men and women differ in how they search, with men searching by product while women search by brand.
Knowing these key differences in usage patterns can greatly alter your marketing strategy. Targeting moms? Place ads on Facebook and post on Pinterest. Going after single young men? Post your blogs to a relevant subreddit.
Baby boomers are online, but not to the extent of younger generations, and certainly not in the same places. Only 57 percent of Americans 65+ are online, as opposed to 93 percent of adults aged 30-49. Boomers and older Americans spend the most time checking their email. Meanwhile, younger generations split time between social media, shopping online, and researching products.
Keeping that in mind, a boomer seeking an active adult community might appreciate a newsletter on your offerings. A millennial seeking high-rise living might prefer a tweet.
While internet browsing gaps between people of different incomes have narrowed, this information is still important for marketers. If you’re offering a tiered service, this data can help you better target the appropriate range to the appropriate person.
Why is this important? Because you wouldn’t want to alienate a customer who thinks a product may be out of their price range when really they saw the higher end price.
This can mean country, region, or even if someone is living in an urban or rural environment. While country and lifestyle have some effect on internet usage, the reason this marketing demographic is most important has much more to do with knowing and understanding your market.
Someone in an urban environment probably won’t need an industrial-grade sitting lawnmower. Likewise, people in New York City probably don’t want to see information about car accessories. Knowing a person’s location can also help ensure that any written content sent to them matches terms to their colloquial knowledge.
For example, using Pop v. Soda depending on where in the U.S. you’re from or ensuring that they’re not seeing deals that don’t pertain to them at their location (e.g. some insurance companies don’t operate in every state).
So you’ve gathered your basic marketing demographics, and you’re ready to get started on building your strategy…
Hold up a second.
There’s more to it than that. While all this information is certainly a starting point, it’s important to take this information even deeper. In digital marketing, we call the amalgamation of this information a buyer persona — the typical person who might engage with your product. To learn more about buyer personas, take a look at our blog.