Some agencies consider demographic profiling as the most important tool at their disposal. But, frankly, I think that is a little skewed.
Don’t get me wrong. As an account planner with a background as a media buyer, I am all about demographics. Just ask anyone. I simply put my hands on a product, any product, and I immediately fall into a trance where I can channel not only who the product is marketed for, but also if it’s the wrong market, and what the real demographic should be.
It goes over great at parties.
But before I explain why an understanding of demographics alone is not enough, let me tell you what an understanding of demographics is good for. At the basic level, it helps advertising agencies match up client message with creative implementations, creating a call to action that cannot be ignored. At the basic level, understanding that your target customer is 65+ may dictate the use of a larger type face in your ads.
More subtly than that, grouping the thoughts and concerns of a demographic segment into a unified message would seem to make our job easier. Right?
Wrong. Think about yourself, aren’t you, as a person and consumer, a little more complicated than some simple age/gender classification?
The truth is that demographic sectors don’t buy from our clients, human beings do. If we spend all our time trying to speak to DINKs (Dual Income No Kids) will we really get our message across? It’s a waste of time to market to a “target” – especially a moving target. Our focus should always be on people (you’ve seen them around, I’m sure) with names and faces and favorite places.
Certainly, demographic data is helpful. But that’s not all there is. Next time you think about what demographic market you want to capture, try working towards this one – Human Being breathing a must.