Most people already know that market research will be integral to the success of their business. This post will explore particular types of market research, marketing demographics, and their roles in your marketing strategies.
Marketing demographics can be used in customer segmentation to discover specific groups in a target audience. Such knowledge will then be used to market to each segment more specifically for more effective marketing strategies.
Defining marketing demographics
Markets can be segmented in many ways, including demographics, geographics, psychographics, and behaviors. Marketing demographics may include characteristics like age, geographic location, education level, occupation, or income that are used to create groups and segment markets.
Marketing demographics utilize information that is easily accessible. Segmenting with demographics will allow a company to narrow and customize its marketing strategy to target potential customers who fit into a specific demographic market.
Reasons for using demographic segmentation
As part of a marketing strategy, a company needs to include demographic segmentation to gain the following benefits:
- Finding greater marketing efficiencies — A company will want to use its marketing dollars wisely, meaning not wasting capital advertising on a market that does not need or want a product. Demographic segmentation will allow a company to target relevant customers and avoid wasting marketing and advertising funds on people who simply will not be interested in a product.
- Increased personalization — Instead of spending time and money on marketing for a generic audience, demographic segmentation can create messaging appealing to the part of an audience that is most likely to buy a product. For example, a children’s picture book publisher may want to dedicate a portion of its budget to attract children in the 3-8-year-old age range as well as a portion directed to married adults who are 21-35 with children. Both campaigns will be very different and personalized to each group.
- Improved product relevance — Demographic segmentation will ensure that people seeing marketing messaging find a product that is relevant to them.
- Increased customer loyalty — Marketing personalized to specific customers will resonate more and may create returning customers.
Different types of marketing demographics
The most useful demographic characteristics for a marketing strategy will be age, gender, income, family status, religion/race/nationality, and education. Here is how each of these breaks down:
- Age — One of the first demographic traits a company will use is age. It is a critical variable in many markets, and age can be defined in various ways, such as ranges like 18-24, 25-34, 35-54, and 55+, life stages such as children, adolescents, adults, and seniors, generations like traditionalist or silent generation born in 1945 and before, Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964, Generation X born between 1965 and 1976, Millennials or Gen Y born between 1977 and 1995, Gen Z or Centennials born between 1996 and 2015, and Generation Alpha born between 2016 and 2024. Whether a company uses age range, life stage, or generation to define a target market, it will find that each defined demographic has its own values and preferences that can be used to personalize advertising and marketing for maximum effectiveness.
- Gender — Using gender demographics for marketing requires extra attention to detail. If a product does not depend on gender, other traits may be used to define a marketing plan. When collecting gender information, questions should be optional and there should be a section for explanation. While a gender question may ask whether a person identifies as a man, woman, nonbinary, or prefers to self-describe.
- Income — If a company is using income as a demographic characteristic for its marketing, what the company is really looking for will be buying power. Retail stores like Walmart often market to middle- and lower-income people with less disposable income. Luxury car retailers will target higher-income individuals. An income demographic survey may ask if a total combined income of a household in 2021 was $0-$9,999, $10,000-$39,999, $40,000-$69,999, $70,000-$84,999, or $85,000 or more, with an option to prefer not to say.
- Family Status— Spending habits can vary between single people and families. Changes in family units can also affect buying habits. To determine family status on a survey, a company could choose to ask such questions as: What is your marital status? (Married, Single, Divorced, Widowed, Prefer not to answer), How many adults live in your home? (1, 2-3, More than 4, Prefer not to answer), and How many children under 18 years of age live in your household? (None, 1, 2, 3, 4+). From family status data, a company should be able to segment data into single people, newly married couples, families with children, and empty nesters.
- Religion/race/nationality — Segmenting by religion/race/nationality is predominantly used by companies in the food sector.
- Education — Segmenting marketing demographics by education level is based on the assumption that education level is related to a person’s standard of living and lifestyle. Education demographics can ask about the level of education, school, or area of study, depending on the product or service being marketed. An education demographic on a survey may ask: What is the highest level of school you’ve completed or the highest degree you have received? (Less than a high school degree, High school graduate or equivalent, Some college, Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Graduate degree).
Things to remember when using marketing demographics
Marketing demographics can be extremely useful for reaching a target audience. For best results, tips companies should keep in mind include:
- Avoiding stereotyping or assuming that everyone in a particular demographic has the same needs and wants
- Not alienating a demographic in attempts to appeal to another
- Ensuring that a brand voice stays consistent, even if it only addresses one demographic
- Carefully considering the demographic variable a company is targeting
- Keeping marketing demographics up to date and adapting to changes as needed
- Monitoring and optimizing marketing accordingly
- Measuring the performance of chosen demographic variables
Email marketers saw a 760 percent increase in revenue by segmenting their email campaigns. It is also important to note that 85 percent of new product launches in the United States fail to generate desired revenue because of poor segmentation.
How to start using marketing demographics today
Marketing demographics will play a prominent role in customer segmentation. A company will want to increase customer loyalty and personalization, improve product relevance, and find greater marketing efficiencies with marketing demographics.
Demographics will be the study of characteristics of people or organizations within a defined geographical location. The more information collected, the more people and organizations can be segmented into smaller common groups with shared attributes.
Companies use demographic data to understand which products and services different groups of customers want and can afford, more precisely target marketing campaigns, thereby reducing the cost per lead or sale, and track how society is changing and how they should