Why Marketing Based on Demographics Is Getting More Complex

For those who have worked in marketing, studied it, or familiarized themselves with it; you know any basic marketing strategy involves segmenting based on consumer demographics. Marketers have long bucketed consumers into categories by age, gender, income, and more. Traditional marketing lumps millions of people into one group, like “Baby Boomers”, and for the most part, consumers have accepted these generalizations.

But does this concept still apply and work efficiently in continuously evolving markets?  What happens when consumers don’t act the way they are ”supposed to” or no longer fit their generalized mold? Research based on global trends has shown that marketers need to be aware of “post-demographic consumerism.” In other words, the year that someone is born will not tell you how likely they are to buy your product…

The pace of change is accelerating thanks to an abundance of new technology. There are fewer unifying characteristics of young people today– fragmenting generations and making them even smaller. Let me give you a little example. When you think of gamers, do you think grungy looking guys between the ages 13-25? If you do, it is actually quite the opposite. In the US the largest percentage of video game users is over age 36. Additionally, in the UK the majority of video game players are in fact women, and more gamers are aged 44 than under age 18 (Lofgren, 2015). Shocking, right?!

In response, marketers have started utilizing more extensive data into their marketing strategies. Emerging strategies like segmenting through “psychographic profiling,” are being used in order to better target potential consumers. There are multiple data sources to make this sort of segmenting possible today. Here are a few of the most informational of data sources used by marketers today…

  1. Social Profile Data:

This type of data comes from all social media networks in which users grant platforms access to in return for using their site. Posted relationship statuses, alma maters, interests, and occupations can all be leveraged to create a closer relationship with the customer. Even a semantic analysis of a Facebook status can be used to move a user to various, specific marketing funnels online (Beckland, 2011).

  1. Behavioral Data:

We have all seen the side bar advertisements that seem to follow us around the internet. Well I hate to say it, but they are. Site content and product recommendations are documented and assessed by clickstream analysis. This allows brands to track your online purchases and behaviors, to better anticipate your future purchasing behavior (Beckland, 2011).

  1. Consumer Lifecycle:

Social profile can be a big aid in determining and predicting a customer’s lifecycle. Not only knowing if a customer has children, but also knowing their exact ages, can indicate a customer entering a new lifecycle. By identifying patterns in consumer lifecycles, marketers can now more accurately predict future behavior of consumers (Beckland, 2011).

A little creepy isn’t it? Feel like your every move is being watched now? Well that may be so…However due to our forever changing world and cultural shifts, it is the extended steps taken by marketers to better understand your unique needs. Because you’re not just a number, you’re not just a generalization, you’re you.




“2015 Video Game Statistics & Trends Who’s Playing What & Why?”

“The End of Demographics: How Marketers Are Going Deeper With Personal Data”


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