There’s a marketing scheme for every demographic you can think of. According to Pew Research Center, Americans are more ethnically and racially diverse than ever, the population is getting older, millennials are still the key age of the future, and the middle class is dwindling. And we all need consumer goods.
It’s important for marketers to look to the future and learn from the past so that strategies can be directed accordingly. Let’s take a look at a few demographics used in marketing and how use of demographics has been affected by social changes.
While some gender stereotypes still hold true, based on how we were raised and behavioral patterns, etc., there’s more of a focus now on gender-neutral advertising, especially targeted toward Generation Z, which is more inclined to look at gender and sexuality as fluid constructs that don’t need defining.
“Gender” has a very specific meaning, which is different from “sex.” Simply put, when we refer to a person’s sex, we are talking about whether they were born male or female. “Gender” refers to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones.
“Behavioral and psychological differences between men and women are the central focus of gender studies,” according to an article on 1&1 Digital Guide. “In addition to being a fascinating area of sociology or psychology, gender studies can produce interesting insights for marketing purposes. Many marketing strategies now use gender marketing techniques, tailoring advertising content and techniques to the different consumption and purchasing behavior of the genders.”
We’ve known for a long time that men and women tend to shop differently and expect different experiences when making purchases. But the days of “shrink it and pink it” marketing isn’t as effective as it used to be. And no one disagrees that men and women have different needs, interests and preferences when it comes to purchases, which also influences how they are marketed to. It depends on who your target audience is.
As is the case with gender, one size doesn’t fit all for varying age groups either. In content marketing, you’ll have to choose the right types of content for your target audience to determine what’s the most suitable for each.
Gen Z, born between 1996 and 2010, are entering the workforce and will soon have purchasing power currently valued at $44 billion and growing. Businesses will have to embrace a different approach than in years past. This generation is very mobile driven and used to constant change. Gen Z is always on the cutting edge of what’s new and cool. They want to be able to share content easily and have interactive experiences.
Meanwhile, millennials are well into their professional careers at this point and consist of one-fourth of the total U.S. population (80 million strong). Their annual buying power is around $200 billion, making them the most lucrative market. As a marketer, you’re likely figuring out what motivates, engages and makes them tick. They are also mobile and tablet driven. They want “experiences” instead of accumulating a bunch of stuff. They are image driven and tend to react to incentives and offers.
Millennials now have a growing edge over baby boomers, whose numbers slipped to 74 million in 2017. Boomers account for 22.9 percent of the U.S. population according to the Census Bureau. Like millennials and Gen Z, Boomers are online, whether on desktop or tablets, and seniors still consume printed materials more than other generations. They also want detail-oriented information that’s easy to find and use.
With so many types of content to create, everything from videos, to blogs, to social media, to whitepapers, it’s one of the content marketer’s tasks to figure out which are the most suitable for each age group.
Consumer goods are products that are purchased for consumption by the “average” consumer, according to Investopedia. We all buy things like food, refrigerators, clothes, and toothbrushes, etc.
If you sell water heaters, for example, your target demographic isn't a specific age group, race, or gender -- it's people who need to replace their water heaters. If a big-ticket item in your home breaks down, how do you know who to call? Many of us go to Google to see what pops up first in our area and who has the best star ratings at first glance. We also look at Yelp, which typically appears on the first search results page. Businesses know that people aren’t going to scroll through pages of plumbers, which is why they pay to appear on page one of Google searches.
Of course there are numerous ways to market consumer goods, but even back in 1966 marketing executives knew this: “The company that is not alert to to the customers’ needs and the changing complexities of marketplaces is inviting disaster.” They knew marketing to the “average” customer wasn’t the way to go.